Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the next-gen console launches have been far from smooth. To put it kindly, the Xbox Series X/S and PS5’s introduction into the world has been a mess with thousands of potential customers unhappy.
It turns out Microsoft continues to ponder the introduction of a system that would improve the situation for gamers instantly – a well-oiled deposit system that would enable folks to reserve their console by plonking down a few quid.
In an interview with The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said there have been “real discussions” internally about whether console fanciers should be able to “reserve their spot” for new consoles currently in production.
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He said: “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.”
There are complications though, namely the retail partners Microsoft relies upon so much. Taking this avenue for an online queueing system would perhaps cut them out of the equation, should it take on a centralised form to enable Microsoft to accurately control things from production line to doorstep.
Spencer explains the quandary, and much of it lies in the traditions of console launches. He adds: “For day one, November 10th, we’re going [to stand in] lines. We do our preorders six to eight weeks before that, and we tell the retailers what percent of their allocation we want them to [make available for] preorders. [Otherwise] the retailers would sell them all, not because they’re evil, but if you’ve got demand, why wouldn’t you take the money? We’re like, no, we actually want November 10th to be a moment.”
He said both Microsoft and Sony have lamented how the pre-order process has gone this time around. He said both companies “seem to still have as many upset customers as we have, because they can’t get our product.”
The solution could be having the company take the order directly only to use the retailer to fulfil it.
He added: “I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models. It could be, reserve your slot. It could be doing things more direct with the customer. Still could have the retailer fulfill the order, but just so people can have more clarity on when they can get a console. It’s something we’re working on.”
Microsoft has previously said it expects the new machines to be in short supply until next spring at the earliest.