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Are PS5 / Xbox Series the most botched console launches ever?


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The PS2 required a pre-order and deposit.  The N64 stopped selling as soon as there was free stock and dropped massively in price a few weeks after launch. The OG Xbox dropped massively in price just a few weeks in.  The 360 was a faulty mess.  The 3DS dropped in price by 100 quid weeks after launch.  And yet....

 

Seems from  reading on here that there are so many issues with quality control (the hum of the coils, the snapping of trigger buttons), the UI (botched online stores), the user experience (ps5 owners playing the PS4 version of the game without realising, consoles installing the PS4 game alongside the PS5 one if you leave the disk in) and so on...

 

But most of all, you just can't get one.  The xboxes and Ps5s have been out of stock since the initial launch, missing out on Xmas, infuriating customers, benefiting scalpers and Cex and generally pissing everyone off.  It's no coincidence that Xbox and PS had new consoles to launch in the same week, and I guess that as soon as one announces a release date the other needs to follow suit.  So, was it right for Sony and Microsoft to launch in November?  Should the whole thing have been delayed until they could do it right?  Or was it done right? Does the fact that you managed to get one make it all OK?  Were the consoles fit for launch, were they even ready? 

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Nah. Neither were perfect by any means but the alternative to launching them now was probably to wait another year (can't see either of them wanting to launch outside the holidays) and I'm really happy I have both consoles now and get to take advantage of all the super quick loading and higher frame-rate goodness they have to offer. 

 

Exclusive launch titles could have been better obviously, particularly on Microsoft's side, but I think both consoles have launched to a lot of positivity and goodwill, generally. There are always hardware and OS issues to iron out at launch, I don't think that's something unique to this new generation.

 

PS3, Wii U, XB1. Now those are more what I think of when it comes to botched launches because they were PR and marketing disasters that haunted each company for most of the generation. I definitely don't see that here.

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I'm gonna go with a Betteridge law "no" here. They've already sold in excess of 4m PS5s, and a hefty chunk of Xboxes too. And, certainly on the Sony side of the fence, they've got launch games to play that are good, and more in the imminent pipeline.

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They are not hard to get because of scalpers.  They are hard to get because Sony didn't make enough and that allows the scalpers to move in.  If the manufacturers got some stock into every store tomorrow there would be no scalping.

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The Xbox launching with nothing new to actually play is a bit weird. Not sure I can ever remember a launch in which there were literally no exclusive launch titles of note. Hard to say its botched though due to the current pandemic. 

 

This tech shortage is the worst I've ever saw in my lifetime. To be spread across so many products is unusual. 

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The PS5 and new Xbox launches were nowhere near as bad as (for example) the US Saturn launch, where they suddenly put forward the release date from September to May, without telling most of the retailers who would be selling it. Or the original Xbox launch, where they had to knock £100 off the price within a month or so. 

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I think I've read that both the Xboxes and the PS5 are outselling their predecessors. I don't think you can equate high demand to botching the launch. 

 

I think there's a case that probably neither of them are quite as finished as they may have been in more normal times (Quick Resume doesn't entirely work on the Xboxes, PS5 has very strange BC oddities in the OS and how you choose which version to play/install) but they've both provided, from my perspective, pretty solid uncontroversial launches.

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And that botched Wii launch went on for about a year.

 

No new games aside, I don't think there's been any issues with the new Xbox hardware really, has there?

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Any chance that the surge in demand is partly because of Covid? Last year even PS4s weren’t easy to get hold of at one point (and there weren’t really many good offers that I could see) as obviously there’s a lot of people sat at home with not much else to do. 

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PS3 launch was pretty bad and continued to be bad for at least two years. 
 

While the 360 launch was exciting with a new cool machine and good line up of games, that quickly faded into RRoD all of them broken fiasco.

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I don’t think so, but after almost 2 months and still no sign of PS5 stock the situation is starting to become quite wearing. 
 

How many PS5s have been sold? It’s clear that demand has been wildly outstripping supply, but is that down to a lack of stock or unprecedented, pent up demand stimulated by bored people who’ve had nothing else to spend their pocked money on during lockdown?

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4 minutes ago, dizogg said:

Any chance that the surge in demand is partly because of Covid? Last year even PS4s weren’t easy to get hold of at one point (and there weren’t really many good offers that I could see) as obviously there’s a lot of people sat at home with not much else to do. 

 

And that's a double whammy because it both increases demand AND massively supresses supply.

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It’s a COVID year, give them a break they did the best they could considering the circumstances. I’m more than happy with my PS5.

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8 minutes ago, Popo said:

How many PS5s have been sold?


So I’ve done a bit of detective work and apparently 3.37 million have been sold since launch, which compares with about 4 million for the PS4 in the same time period. 
 

I don’t even think you could say the supply chain has been badly constrained, it’s all down to very, very high demand. 

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Since Microsoft entered the console space I don't think anything from the three main players has had as poor a launch as the Wii-U. There have been plenty of issues with other console launches but that thing launched like a pebble being thrown into a lake. Barely noticeable splash and then forgotten about. 

 

I remember various podcasts at the time remarking on how easy it was to just walk up and buy one on launch day which is basically the complete opposite of the Wii launch. You knew it was utterly fucked inside the first month. 

 

 

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Probably the most botched launch is when Sega launched the Dreamcast in Australia, but failed to fill out the customs forms, meaning the consoles and first party games were several weeks late to their own launch date (you could still buy the third-party games though, because those were from companies that weren't complete fuckups)

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8 minutes ago, Hitcher said:

Most of them would be grabbed by scalpers again.


Now that Christmas has gone I wouldn’t be too sure. Reports from last week confirm that PS5 restock in the US stayed available for as much as 15 whole minutes, meaning it would have been possible for a normie to grab - although that might be down to more advanced anti-scalping measures. 

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Or the Saturn launch where they just chucked it out there without any marketing, without any stock, and managed to piss off all their retailers at the same time.

 

Or the Mega Drive launch where they just chucked the first shipment out there rather than build up supply for launch (bit of a theme for Sega), with a grand total of 2 games, one a cut down Altered Beast, and the other an infamously bad title. And there were no third party games because they only gave third parties the ability to make games for it the day they launched, so none until next year. And then they seemed really unwilling to make any more games for it themselves, instead deciding to launch like 6 different controllers or peripherals in the first year (also a theme for Sega), such as a modem, a floppy drive, a CD ROM drive, a backwards compatibility adapter, a keyboard, a graphics tablet, etc.

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The Saturn one was wild, they threw it out 4 months early to one retailer, pissing off all the other retailers and then couldn't restock (unsurprisingly) until the original launch date, pissing off customers.

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1 hour ago, ulala said:

So if demand outstrips supply then that’s a botch?

 

most odd

I'm sure Sony and Microsoft have predicted sales data and to launch the console where the first run sells out in a day and there's no second run for months seems like a botch to me.  They could have waited and launched more visibly and successfully.  It seems very unlikely to me that they see their launches as great successes. 

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Haven’t MS and Sony been restocking continuously since launch and they’ve just been selling out? Who said they made a bunch of consoles for launch and then just stopped?

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43 minutes ago, Hitcher said:

Most of them would be grabbed by scalpers again.

Scalpers can only scalp if there's a higher demand than supply. Tickets can only be scalped because there's a fixed venue capacity so you can buy all the tickets and sell at a higher price because you know there are no more tickets. If Sony manufactured enough units for launch there'd be no point in anybody trying to scalp, and it just wouldn't happen.  Likewise, if you could walk into Argos and just buy one, the scalpers would lose money. 

 

The scalpers are reacting to a situation Sony created by releasing the high demand product when they hadn't made enough.

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