A lot of gamers are feeling frustrated with how hard it is to buy an Xbox Series X/S or a PlayStation 5 right now, and Phil Spencer recognizes that frustration. He just doesn’t know what the right solution is, according to an interview on The Verge’s Decoder podcast.
With many of customers’ issues coming from the preorder processes put in place by third-party retailers like Walmart or Amazon, Spencer was asked if Microsoft have considered selling more consoles directly to the public.
“I think our retail relationships are important,” he said, then continued to discuss how preorders could work in future. “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. We have customers that would do that today.”
Spencer also mentioned that Microsoft could dictate how much stock retailers had to keep for a day one physical launch, and how much could be sold through preorders, though he admitted this way of doing things might be outdated in 2020. “For day one, November 10th, we’re going [to stand in] lines,” he explained. “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 don’t know if that’s the right decision in today’s world. That’s very old world thinking, people are going to go line up outside of a store, kind of last decade thinking. I think we should challenge ourselves on that.”
For now, it seems like this talk is just talk, however, with changes unlikely to be implemented in time to make any meaningful difference to customers looking to buy an Xbox Series X or S. “I do think this business is going through, both for us and Sony–we both have lamented how these preorders have gone and what problem are we really solving when we seem to still have as many upset customers as we have, because they can’t get our product,” he mused. “I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models. It’s something we’re working on.”
As for this generation’s console launch, a lot of gamers are looking at having to spend a small fortune buying consoles from scalpers if they want to land an Xbox Series X/S or PS5 by Christmas. If you’re feeling lucky, however, you can try grabbing a console in this week’s Black Friday restocks.