A New Jersey teenager says he made a killing during the pandemic by reselling things like PS5s, Xboxes, and Pokémon cards, exploiting shortages.
A 16-year-old New Jersey high school student took in $1.7 million in revenue during 2020 by reselling products in short supply, including the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, according to a recent interview. He also took advantage of other shortages triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as dumbbells, outdoor heaters, and Pokémon trading cards.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have both remained hard to find since their launch in November 2020. Although the problem can be linked to demand and supply chain issues, scalpers have likewise played a major role – using bots, they often claim retail stock the moment it becomes available, leaving other customers with the choice of waiting or paying artificially inflated prices. Diehard gamers may have to follow websites and Twitter accounts to have a chance at a single console.
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Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Max Hayden said he resold dozens of PS5 and Series X/S consoles in 2020, some for as much as $1,100. Both the PS5 and Series X are only $500 if bought through official channels. Hayden ultimately made $110,000 in profits during 2020 – he now co-rents warehouse space and employs two friends at $15 per hour to help with inquiries and packing. He currently spends 40 hours per week on the resale business and says he expects to do even better in 2021 since shortages of consoles and other products continue.
Pandemic lockdowns forced millions of people to stay at home, often with little to do in their free time whether or not they had money to spend. That likely helped not just gaming hardware, but the games themselves; multiplayer titles like Among Us and Animal Crossing: New Horizons became especially popular as an alternative to socializing in person. Such trends could continue given the realization that remote work is a viable and often cheaper option for many jobs.
For their part, Sony and Microsoft have pledged to manufacture more Xbox and PlayStation units as fast as they can. It remains to be seen if the situation will improve by 2022 – while vaccination campaigns should make it possible to ramp up production, some countries are further ahead than others, and factories may be playing catch-up not just with console demand but that for other electronics. Demand from gamers is unlikely to taper off anytime soon, either, since the install base for systems like the PS4 and Xbox One is in the tens of millions. As more PS5 and Series X/S exclusives are released, old consoles will need to be replaced to keep up.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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