Sony was already facing challenges satisfying demand for the product, but shortages have been exacerbated by scalpers reselling large quantities of the console at significant mark-ups, keeping it out of the hands of consumers and in turn damaging pivotal software sales.
The knock-on effect is an unusually low software attach rate in Japan, Bloomberg reports. As noted by the publication, a healthy ratio for a new console is around one game sold for each console bought.
But based on Japanese sales data from Famitsu, Sony sold around 213,000 PS5 consoles in the product’s first month of availability and just 63,000 physical games, meaning consumers have bought less than one packaged game for every three consoles purchased.
Lucrative software sales are particularly important at the start of a console’s lifecycle when the hardware is sold at a loss, Bloomberg added.
There are other factors that could be impacting early physical PS5 software sales, most notably the shift to digital. In Sony’s last fiscal year, digital software sales accounted for 55% of total PS4 software sales, and they represented an even greater percentage of the total in the first half of the current fiscal year.
PS5 also comes pre-installed with a game, Astro’s Playroom, and is backwards compatible with PS4 titles.
“Even if we consider digital download software purchases, the percentage of sold PlayStation 5s actually in use is not that high, meaning the current demand is constrained by profit-taking resellers,” according to Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.
Another analyst told Bloomberg that consumers’ inability to acquire the console and the resulting hit on software sales could negatively impact the profitability of the PlayStation business over the coming years.
“The PlayStation 5 could miss a critical chance to get into a good hardware-software upward spiral,” said Kazunori Ito of Morningstar Research. “The peak of the platform will likely be low and the platform’s total revenue earned won’t be as strong as we hoped for.”
Bloomberg even claims that a major Japanese publisher has internally discussed the possibility of delaying its PS5 games based on concerns it has about the early market response to the console.
Still think scalping isn't a big deal? It's hurting Sony's (and surely MS's as well) bottom line because no games are being sold. Why? Because the scalpers are hoarding them off with bots. Console sales mean nothing if no one's actually playing them because they're sold at a loss. And the funny thing is, I told you all this would happen, and I was proven right.
Yeah, yeah, I know what the response is gonna be, "the gobermint can't tell me what I can and can't do with something I bought (read: botted)" yes they can, and they already do, like I said, ticket scalping is illegal. When you're scamming consumers and hurting company's profits, I believe they have every right to get involved. One publisher even said they might delay their PS5 games because of this shit. 'Cuz if no one's actually buying the games, no one profits.