John Carmack has suggested a solution to the PS5 and Xbox Series X stock shortages and scalper threat – console auctions.
It’s clear that the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S stock shortage isn’t going anywhere for a while. Some experts have warned the console shortage could continue through to summer.
Scalpers are also an ever-present threat, having bought up 10 to 15% of the PS5 and Xbox Series X stock since November. The good news is things are getting better, but progress is slow.
Retailers are learning how to deal with scalpers when more stock comes in, discovering the loopholes they use. But scalper groups are still managing to secure consoles in high volumes; this is preventing customers from buying them at retail price.
The solution to the PS5 and Xbox Series X stock shortage is for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over. This way, Sony and Microsoft can ramp up console production.
As we’ve said in an earlier article, an abundance of stock will be the thing that ultimately defeats scalpers and levels out the console marketplace once again.
But one industry insider has another solution, albeit a temporary, imperfect one.
John Carmack’s Solution to the PS5 and Xbox Series X Stock Shortage
John Carmack is the co-founder of id Software and one of the masterminds behind the Doom series. His idea is for retailers to auction off PS5 and Xbox Series X/S stock once it arrives instead of selling it the traditional way.
This would prevent scalpers from buying next-gen consoles in bulk, essentially eliminating that problem entirely. However, critics argue this solution may just be trading one problem for another.
The main problem scalpers pose is once they secure the stock, they then sell it on for an inflated price, pocketing the difference themselves. Auctioning off PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles could result in the same situation.
Bidding for consoles could see console sales far exceeding retail price, which would defeat the object entirely. While it would offer a fairer and more controlled approach, consumers wouldn’t gain anything when it comes to affordability.
The additional profit would simply go into the pockets of retailers instead of scalpers. Sony, Microsoft, and their customers wouldn’t really see any benefit.
However, it would completely de-tooth scalpers, which is one positive result. Carmack himself has admitted the logic is flawed, despite being well-intentioned, saying:
"That is probably the current reasoning, with decades of evidence to back it up, but it is at least conceivable that things actually are a bit different now than when a lot of the marketing lore was laid down."
Incredibly, one scalper group attempted to defend their actions recently, arguing that they provide a service. However, their claims have drawn little sympathy.
If you’re still trying to secure a PS5, be sure to check our PS5 Stock Trackers for up-to-date information about the latest drops as they go live!