Facepalm: Well, we can’t realistically say we didn’t see it coming. During Gamescom Opening Night Live, Microsoft announced that it will release a limited edition Halo 20th Anniversary Xbox Series X. Advance sales started yesterday and unsurprisingly sold out and going for huge profit margins from resellers.
Among the various game trailers and updates during the Gamescom Opening Night Live presentation, Microsoft thought it was appropriate for announce a “very” limited edition Xbox Series X with the Halo theme to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. The $ 550 console doesn’t ship until November 15, but pre-orders started yesterday.
The console was available directly from Microsoft, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, objective, and Walmart. As of this morning, the units were still available at Best Buy and Target. To no one’s surprise, all locations are now sold out. Judging by the newest EBay Ads, a good number of pre-orders went to resellers. Halo Xbox Series X is priced at up to $ 3,100, although most offers are closer to $ 1,000. The highest confirmed sale so far was $ 1,300.
It’s debatable why the Xbox team thought it was a good time to announce a special edition next-gen console during the biggest home game console shortage in history. However, the optics are quite clear. With virtually no proper controls to prevent bots from taking over entire inventories, Microsoft appears to have taken advantage of the current state of hardware sales to launch an already limited Xbox knowing that it would be snatched up in a matter of hours.
To be clear, I am not saying that this was Microsoft’s intention, only that the timing and the perspective of the situation make it look like money theft. Of course, until stores start selling consoles at their physical locations, this will continue to happen.
Retailers are equally guilty of taking advantage of the situation. We are now approaching a year from the launch of next-gen consoles. The consumer shopping frenzy has slowed and the pandemic is waning. However, you still can’t go to a local store and buy one because retailers continue to refuse to sell consoles at their physical outlets. They’ve gotten quite content selling themselves as soon as they put their assignments online, unashamedly selling all of their stock to resellers, to hell with consumers.