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Thursday Nov 12 2020

PlayStation 5: Online sales boom as coronavirus limits real-world purchases

A close-up view of the DualSense controller for the Sony PlayStation 5 console. Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc/Handout via REUTERS

TOKYO: PlayStation 5 (PS5) sales boomed as Sony Corp on Thursday launched the console to intense interest online but pick-ups were limited only to pre-orders due to the coronavirus pandemic that has driven a boom in gaming demand but limited real-world purchases.

Sony has made launch sales online only to maintain social distancing, calling for consumers to “be safe, stay home, and place your order online”.

The next-generation console — which retails for $500, or $400 without a disk-drive — was sold out on major retailing sites in Japan with some conducting lotteries to distribute limited stock.

On Japan’s top flea market platform from Mercari Inc, consoles were selling for more than $900.

Pent-up demand for the PS5 — which offers cutting-edge graphics, faster load times and a new controller with immersive feedback — has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has seen consumers flock to gaming but has strained supply chains.

Analysts see shortages of consoles from Sony and rival Microsoft Corp, which launched Xbox devices on Tuesday, extending into 2021.