That’s according to ongoing analysis of the resale market conducted by data engineer Michael Driscoll, who has been publishing his findings on Dev since the consoles launched in November 2020.
According to Driscoll, who claims to have written a script scraping all of eBay’s sold listings for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, reseller profits have doubled since his last report suggested that scalpers had made over $28 million in profits as of December 31, 2020 (although that analysis did not include StockX listings).
Now he estimates that PS5 has generated $143 million in sales as of January 16, through eBay and fellow resale site StockX, which is worth $43.2 million in profit for scalpers and $15.9 million for eBay/PayPal/StockX.
For the same period, Driscoll’s report estimates $79.68 million in Xbox Series X/S sales, worth $14.57 million in profit for scalpers and $10.4 million for eBay/PayPal/StockX.
While sales data for the consoles hasn’t been publicised, Driscoll suggests that as many as 10-15% of all US PS5s have been resold, and that 15-20% of all US Xbox Series X/S consoles have been resold.
In the UK, the issue has become widespread enough to attract the attention of a group of MPs, who in December called for legislation to prevent scalpers from reselling consoles for “vast profits”
The MPs suggested implementing legislative proposals similar to those introduced for the secondary selling of tickets, which require resellers to be transparent in regards to their identity and details of seating.
PlayStation 5 at retail
Sony has said that “unprecedented” consumer demand for PS5 led to “the biggest console launch of all-time”, while Microsoft has called the launch of Xbox Series X/S “the most successful” in its history.
Demand for the new consoles is expected to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future. Microsoft reportedly expects Xbox Series X/S supply problems to persist until the second half of 2021.
AMD, which makes the chips inside Xbox Series X/S and PS5, has also forecast supply issues through the first half of 2021.
Asked to characterise the magnitude of supply constraints facing the general semiconductor industry during AMD’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January, CEO Lisa Su said she expects “some tightness” during the first six months of the year before things pick up in the second half.
“So certainly, when I look at the semiconductor environment in 2020 it was very strong. So, we saw a strong revenue ramp in our business as well as across some of our peers,” Su said.
“It’s fair to say that the overall demand exceeded our planning and as a result, we did have some supply constraints as we ended the year. Those were primarily, I would say, in the PC market, the low end of the PC market and in the gaming markets.
“That being said,” she added, “I think we’re getting great support from our manufacturing partners. The industry does need to increase the overall capacity levels and so we do see some tightness through the first half of the year, but there is added capacity in the second half.”