Sony raised funds for charity with its themed launch for the desirable limited edition PlayStation 4, but scalpers are the ones making serious money.
With the U.K. launch of the 20th anniversary edition PlayStation 4 console, limited to just 12,300 units worldwide, Sony tried something a bit different. It set up a pop-up shop in London this week and sold 94 of the consoles for £19.94 (around $31), in a nod to the original PlayStation’s launch year. It also sold another 100 units at the actual retail price of £399 ($627), donating all proceeds from the shop to U.K. charity GamesAid.
Sony intended it as a tribute to gamers who’ve stuck with PlayStation over 20 years, but many of the consoles are already selling on auction site eBay for thousands of dollars.
A number of console listings on eBay confirm they’re from the pop-up shop , including one that ships to the United States for $3,129. Sony isn’t happy about it, but it’s powerless to stop the scalping.
“That’s not what we want to see happen,” Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment U.K. managing director told Eurogamer. “You can’t completely remove it, but that certainly isn’t the intention of the exercise at all. It’s to honour the fans, and having it at such a low price to the dedicated here — it’s all but free — [is] a nice little touch in terms of remembering the launch year.”
Gara explained that Sony designed the pop-up shop to “tap into the people who love the brand the most” but admitted that the scalping was kind of inevitable. “It’s inevitable some proportion of that will happen and very hard to prevent it completely,” he said. “We did think things through.”
Sony allocated 1,000 of the limited edition consoles to the U.K., and around 20 percent went to the pop-up shop. Another 800 units go on sale online on Monday.
In the U.S., the 20th anniversary console went on sale via Sony’s online store on Dec. 6, and it sold out nearly immediately. Many of these online orders are now also on eBay, listed for resale for as much as $15,000.