Every November, Black Friday promises the year's biggest and best discounts, and every November it delivers. But if you were biding your time and keeping your fingers crossed that this was going to be your month to seal the deal on a next-generation PlayStation or Xbox, then you should brace yourself for bad news.
The recurring stock issues have marred the release of both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X since their release in the Fall of last year aren't about to resolve themselves before the peak pre-holidays buying season.
As far back as May this year, Bloomberg reported that PlayStation 5 supply issues will pervade into 2022. Hiroki Totoki, Sony's Chief Financial Officer, told a briefing: "I don't think demand is calming down this year and even if we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units of the PlayStation 5 next year, our supply wouldn't be able to catch up with demand."
On top of the heavy demand, availability has also been beleaguered by the affect COVID-19 has had on the production of the consoles' components. "Uneven vaccine rollouts across developing nations where Sony suppliers have their production bases have made supplies of chips and parts unpredictable," says Bloomberg, and has resulted in a production shortfall of over a million unites.
And it's a case of 'as-above, so-below' for the Xbox Series X, with Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer telling press outlets that the stock issues will be ongoing, "definitely through the end of this calendar year and into the next calendar year."
That is set to lead to disheartenment for gamers the world over as opportunities to buy are going to be few and far between. Tabitha Baker, Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, isn't feeling optimistic, does suggest there will be a glimmer of hope for shoppers next week: "We'll likely see PS5 and Xbox Series X stock concentrated around Black Friday's event, but with very few drops leading us away from November and towards Christmas."
Outside of the two main next-generation consoles, it's hardly better news for gaming fans hoping for something a little different. While the stock of Nintendo Switch console and Oculus Quest 2 VR headset will undoubtedly be more readily available, discounts are expected to be almost as scarce. "Both the Nintendo Switch and Oculus Quest 2 have seen their fair share of stock troubles over the last year, and the continued popularity of both devices means this year's offers will likely revolve around bundle deals," Baker told The Week, "with any discounts that do present themselves flying off the shelves particularly quickly."
To see what products are already seeing discounts, take a look at The Week's guide to the best Black Friday deals available right now.