Hundreds of PlayStation 5 pre-orders ahead of November release

Game on: Maltese gamers counting down days to launch of new PlayStation and Xbox

The PS5 is already bringing in hundreds of pre-orders
The PS5 is already bringing in hundreds of pre-orders

The battle for local video game console supremacy is heating up as Maltese gamers eagerly await the release of the new PlayStation and Xbox.

The Microsoft Xbox Series X and its smaller sister Series S will be launched on the international market on 10 November. Close on their heel, Sony’s PlayStation 5 and its digital-only version are set to be launched on 19 November.

And Maltese players are queueing up to pre-order the console of their choice. Still, many outlets are finding it difficult to secure stock, as both companies’ international production has fallen far behind schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And so far, only Sony has been accepting pre-orders.

Matthew Caruana, of the ICC gaming shop in Iklin, told MaltaToday that he was still awaiting direction from Microsoft as to when start taking pre-orders for the new Xbox consoles.

Klikk Computer Store also hasn’t been taking any pre-orders for the new Xbox yet.

On the contrary, pre-orders of the PlayStation 5 have been rolling in. “Last week, just two days after the pre-orders for the PlayStation started, the new PS5 was already sold out. Both the digital version as well as the disk version,” a sales representative at Forestals said.

Caruana at ICC had also been accepting PS5 pre-orders. “I’ve had over 500 bookings for the PlayStation but I had to stop because unfortunately, like Microsoft, Sony also suffered from a shortage of consoles in comparison to the number of pre-orders.”

The various representatives agreed that, at least on paper, the new Xbox seemed to outperform the PS5, albeit slightly.

“But that will not influence PS fans,” Lawrence Azzopardi, of Gamers Malta in Birkirkara, told MaltaToday. “Because what the PlayStation has in its favour is the number of huge popular games that are exclusive to Sony’s console.”

To counter the PlayStation’s edge in exclusive games, Microsoft is scrambling to acquire a number of gaming companies to secure more popular exclusive titles. “They have recently bought Bethesda, owners of the hugely-popular Fallout and Skyrim titles,” Caruana said. “This is a smart move because if Sony wants to be able to include these games in its console line-up, they will have to go through Microsoft to be able to do so.”

The PS5 and Xbox Series X will retail for around €500, while the digital only PS5 and Xbox Series S will be around €100 cheaper.

Caruana said that the two ‘lesser’ consoles would be more than enough for those who did not want to spend a lot. “But for real gamers, the Series X would be a better option because of its specifications and the experience it offers,” he said.

Azzopardi said that two PS5 consoles had the same specifications and are backward-compatible; but one version will not be able to take older PS4 disks: players would have to download their games directly from the PS store.

“There are some downsides to this, as players will not be able to enjoy older games on disk, because the digital version does not take disks.

“All games would be saved on the console’s hard drive, with the risk of losing everything if the drive were to be damaged,” Azzopardi said.

But Azzopardi explained that with the digital version, players would not be able to sell on their games. “We, like other outlets, offer for sale a vast range of pre-owned games at highly-reduced prices,” he said. “Many players sell us their used games, as the market for pre-owned games is very active. Owners of the digital-only PS5 will not be able to make some money off their games at all.”

It is not just the games that are sold: a quick search on Facebook’s marketplace or will reveal the large number of PS4 and Xbox One consoles being put up for sale ahead of the November releases.

A clear indication, if any more were needed, of how many Maltese players just cannot wait to get their hands on the new console, be it PlayStation or Xbox.