Sony’s PlayStation Portal was released on November 15, 2023. The handheld which only supports remote play was sold out within the first two days of its release.
The new handheld by Sony was released in the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Canada, and some other countries in Europe. The prices for the handheld were $199.99 / €219.99 / £199.99. Currently, if one were to try and order the handheld from Sony’s PlayStation Direct online store, it seems unavailable, and the webpage is advising customers to check back at a later date.
The date varies on the region in which one is trying to purchase the latest handheld. But to make things worse, there are scalpers who were able to purchase the console and are now selling it at a much higher price. This is akin to what happened when Sony released its PlayStation 5 console in the year 2020.
Will the PlayStation Portal’s Sales Repeat Sony PlayStation 5 Shortage and Scalping Fiasco?
While it is partially good news for the company because it is mostly unclear whether PlayStation Portal solves anything. it is most certainly bad news for people who were looking to get the handheld at launch.
If we reminisce about the events which occurred at the time of Sony’s PlayStation 5’s launch, things were heading in a similar direction. The console was launched at a time when the 2020-2023 Global Chip Shortage was in effect. Many electronics subindustries were affected by it and the video game industry was no exception.
Given Sony’s expertise in creating fine-tuned and refined video game machines. The console saw great demand from consumers but was naturally affected by the global chip shortage.
This led to the Sony PlayStation 5 being out of stock at most online and offline stores. The ones who could get their hands on it were selling it for inflated prices to generate profits. This maneuver is called scalping. Unfortunately, Sony’s latest PlayStation Portal is also likely to suffer the same fate, at least until it returns to Sony’s online store.
The exact date for the console’s restocking varies as per the buyer’s region. In the UK the PlayStation Direct site shows this message:
Not in stock? We’re working hard to make more stock available. Please check back on Wednesday 22nd November.
The US PlayStation Direct website points to a vague window of early December for details on stock availability. Most individuals were not expecting the console to be an instant hit amongst fans of the Sony PlayStation ecosystem. As per the market sentiment, it might have been Sony’s strategy to not overproduce the console in case it hadn’t been a sensation.
This is also because the console naturally requires a constant internet connection. There is no way that one can do anything else apart from browsing the menus in case there is a total connection failure. While this is expected since the value proposition of the product saw it as a handy device that would only be used for streaming.
While the console is currently out of stock, this was a perfect opportunity for scalpers to swoop in on the PlayStation Portal when it was available, only for them to resell it for an even heftier price stage than it was released on.
The scalpers can be found with their listings on eBay and other marketplaces allowing reselling. There are auctions of the console which are currently in progress at the time of writing this article. Some are even selling at an outrageous 50% profit. There are also attempts at selling them at a whopping $400 which makes the console more expensive than a Sony PlayStation 5 bundle!
It is worthy to note that there are much better options for handheld gaming nowadays. While the Nintendo Switch has been around for quite a while, there are also PC-based handhelds like the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, etc.
While all these have the ability to actually provide gaming experience on the go without requiring an internet connection, the Sony PlayStation Portal is useful only in a very isolated circumstance.