Retailers said they are scrambling to get PlayStation 5s in stock ahead of the Eid Al Fitr holidays - but warned many gamers may need to wait due to a global shortage.
Customers ordering the $500 console today in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would face at least a four-to-six week wait.
Sony has shipped six million consoles since they went on sale in November. But it has faced supply setbacks due to the pandemic, and greater demand than expected as people spend more time at home.
It has even been affected by the global semiconductor chip shortage, which has also hit laptop makers.
“It could be the first week of June at the earliest before we have stock,” said a staff member at the Sony store in Dubai Mall.
“I don’t think we will have [the PS5] in time for Eid anyway.”
These comments were echoed by retailers across the city.
Geekay Games has a list of more than 2,000 people waiting for a PS5 to arrive at its Dubai Mall store.
Other retailers including Virgin, Jumbo and Virgin, said they could not estimate how many people were waiting on PS5s as they were not taking pre-orders.
This was because they did not know when more stock would be available and were taking a “first come, first serve” approach.
Sony reported, at the beginning of March, the PS5 had sold more than six million units around the world.
“Hopefully we will have some back in stock next month, but we couldn’t say for definite,” said a Geekay Games employee.
“We don’t know how many we will get either.”
Jumbo Electronics staff also said they were unsure if they would have PS5 consoles in time for Eid Al Fitr – predicted to fall on May 13.
“I am not sure when we’ll have it in stock again. I couldn’t say.
"I wouldn’t be sure it will be available in time for Eid,” one employee said.
At Virgin Megastores at Dubai Mall staff said they were in the dark about when PS5s would be back on the shelves.
“We just don’t have any information about when they will be available or not,” one store assistant said.
Sony looks to top PS4 sales despite global shortage
Speaking in February, Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said the company hoped to sell more PS5s in 2021 than the 14.9 million that its PS4 predecessor sold when it launched in 2013-2014.
That compares to the 26 million Nintendo Switch consoles that sold in 2020.
Microsoft's XBox Series X and S sold about 2.8 million between November and early February, the most recent figures show, roughly the same as XBox One sales in late 2013 and early 2014.
Available from private sellers
PS5s are available to buy from private sellers at up to double the recommended price – general retail prices start from Dh1,679 for the PS5 Digital Edition (without a disc drive), rising to Dh2,099 for the regular console – leaving many gamers frustrated.
“My parents were trying to get me and my brother a PS5 for Christmas but we just couldn’t get one,” said Dubai resident Yasmine Kandil, 20.
“I noticed some stores are allowing people to sell them on their websites for at least twice the recommended price.
“There’s no way we are going to give in and pay that ridiculous price though.”
Ms Kandil said she believed she would have more luck getting a PS5 when she returns to study in the UK after the easing of lockdowns there.
“I thought it would be easier to get one after Christmas but literally nothing has changed,” said the English-Canadian.
“I’ve put my name down on a waiting list with Geekay Games, but I am not confident.”
Jordanian Ahmad Odaibat said he has given up hope of getting a PS5 at retail price.
“I’ve been trying to get one since it was released last year,” said the event planner, 29.
“I can only find people selling overpriced ones privately which shouldn’t be allowed.
“I am just not going to pay that. I really wanted one and was looking forward to it but I have to accept it’s just not going to happen anytime soon.”
Hyra Seha, 35, an artist from Pakistan, said she and her husband had made peace with the fact they would not get a PS5 any time soon, despite both being avid gamers.
“Some of the prices people are charging are just too much,” she said.
“Some were charging up to Dh10,000 at one point in Dubai. That’s far too much.