This Christmas, let’s go to Gaza for PlayStation 5

The much sought-after video game console, the PlayStation 5, has proven elusive for many US buyers, due to high demand and supply chain issues. But if you’re really desperate to put one under the tree this Christmas, there’s one place you can find them: Gaza.

According to an article in the British Guardian newspaper, the Sony console has been difficult to sell in the poverty-stricken enclave, leaving some stores with excess inventory.

With the average monthly salary in Gaza being around $ 247, according to Israeli human rights organization Gisha, a new PlayStation 5 (which costs nearly $ 500 in the US) is often well beyond the means of. most Gazans.

More than half of Gaza’s population lives below the poverty line, according to World Bank statistics, and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has set the unemployment rate at 43.1 percent.

On top of that, the prices of the PS5 in Gaza are often inflated, due to the difficulty of importing electronics into the territory. Consoles can often cost over $ 1,000 now, and they cost north of $ 1,500 when they were released.

To get around the blockade that Israel maintains on Gaza, the first batch of PS5s to arrive were smuggled, originating in Dubai, stripped to pieces, routed via Egypt, and then reassembled. Now Gazans can get PS5s through Israeli sources, although there is usually a bounty attached.

But even with all the efforts to get the PS5s into the Gaza Strip, when they do get there, they often don’t get ripped off right away. “There is not a great demand for the devices in Gaza because their prices are still high,” Hassan al-Baik, who operates an electronics store in Gaza, told the Guardian.

Al-Baik said he owns five consoles, but struggled to unload them. Another retailer told the point of sale that their store only sells three to five PS5s per month.

The difficulty and complexity of finding a market for the console would seem strange in many Western countries, where demand is often very high and supply very low.

A global semiconductor shortage has made it more difficult to produce enough PlayStations to meet demand.

In addition, the supply of the game console has been somewhat artificially scarce by Sony, which is “drip-feeding” consoles over time, rather than increasing production in an attempt to meet demand. growing demand. This method keeps demand strong for months or even years, and keeps the product more relevant for longer.

Meanwhile, in the United States, customers are having trouble getting the PS5s. “I just don’t know where to find one,” said customer Kathleen Webber, who promised her son she would get one for him.

“It’s like the Tickle-Me Elmos.”

AP contributed to this report.

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