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Can't Buy A PS5? Get A PS4 For $600 Instead

It might be hard to believe that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S have been out since November of last year, considering how few of them are out there in the wild. Thanks in no small part to early shortages, the consoles have continued to be extremely difficult to come by. But scalpers have also played a significant hand in limiting the number of PlayStation 5s and Xbox Series X|S units available for gamers. Not yet satisfied with hoarding the new generation of consoles — and "Pokemon" cards, of course — scalpers have set their sights on PS4s and Xbox Ones, snagging as many of the last generation consoles as they can.

According to Kotaku, multiple outlets, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target, have experienced PS4 and Xbox One shortages, resulting in — you guessed it — scalpers jacking up the prices of said consoles and reselling them for hundreds of dollars over their retail price tags. While the reasoning for the shortage is unclear, one prevailing theory is that it's simply the result of the newer generation of consoles' production taking priority.

Gamers wanting to get their hands on a 1TB Sony PlayStation 4 Slim console are going to need to dish out around $450 in the secondary market, despite the model's typical $300 price tag. Meanwhile, an Amazon listing for a used 2TB model of the same console originally carried a $600 price tag (though its price has since been lowered to $480). Even DualShock 4 controllers aren't safe from the scummy hands of scalpers, with a similar shortage resulting in some resellers jacking the usually $59.99 controllers' prices up to $100.

Scalpers have become gaming's biggest problem

Console shortages are nothing new — but it's pretty strange when they happen years after a console is first released. Less shocking, however, is the continued shortage of PlayStation 5s and Xbox Series X|S consoles — a situation that scalpers began taking advantage of right out of the gate. Some have even used super shady practices to get their hands on them, like accessing early store listings to order units before customers even have a chance to click on the link.

Back in February, data engineer Michael Driscoll analyzed the sale of scalped PS5s and Xbox Series X|S consoles on websites like eBay, finding that resold current gen consoles have accounted for 10-15% of all consoles sold in the United States. This has, in turn, resulted in a whopping $43.2 million in profit for scalpers. That number has only grown since then. It'd almost be funny if it weren't so sad — for gamers, at least.

One of the more humorous stories to come out of the new generation's scalper saga, however, saw scalpers themselves being scammed by Redditors. In the r/scamthescalperssubreddit, users recounted stories of how they gave scalpers a taste of their own medicine. Some even contacted them to buy a console only to send them to the middle of nowhere instead.

Of course, such exercises in karmic justice, while hilarious, have done little to dissuade scalpers from doing what they do best — and now it's having an effect on older consoles. Hopefully, the supply of next gen consoles will catch up with gamers' demand sooner rather than later. How else are they going to play "Bugsnax?"