Microsoft is considering to change the way pre-orders are placed with retailers so that consumers are guaranteed to receive their Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles without the fear of scalpers emptying stocks within minutes.
Speaking with The Verge in a recent interview, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, stated that the new consoles are expected to face supply shortages all the way through the holiday season and well into the first quarter of 2021.
What Microsoft is considering is to have consumers pay upfront to reserve a slot and in return receive a guaranteed delivery date. The little change to how pre-orders are typically placed is different in the sense that retailers are presently allocated a specific percentage of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. Consumers are expected to make their purchases from there at launch. However, scalpers arrive beforehand to clean out the entire stock, or the number of available units are far less than the number of consumers.
“We’ve had real discussions internally about, should I be able to reserve my slot? I’ll put some money down, I know my machine’s getting built January 20th, and I’ll get it on February 1st,” said Spencer. “We want people to feel like there’s some consoles to go buy, and it’s not just the day where everybody gets to go pick up their console.”
“I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models,” continued Spencer. “It could be, reserve your slot. It could be doing things more direct with the customer. Still could have the retailer fulfill the order, but just so people can have more clarity on when they can get a console. It’s something we’re working on.”
The past couple of months have made it clear how difficult it can be to purchase a next-generation console. Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pre-orders were completely sold out within minutes or the hour of going live in all major regions. Even the second wave of supply was met with a similar high demand. There are still a large number of consumers struggling to find an available console either at their local retailers or on online stores.
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S were launched worldwide for $500 and $300 respectively on November 10, 2020.