Deep Black asks one of the importants questions of our time, which is — why do game console manufacturers not charge a premium for the first units? Given the wait people endure to get one and the grey market in flipping the consoles by first purchasers, presumably the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) could charge more and is therefore leaving money on the table. Why would the OEM do that?
Game consoles are not something that are easy to churn out. They, like new airplane models, take a large amount of design effort. Unlike personal computers, a design must remain fixed for a much longer amount of time, so the costs of getting it wrong are much larger. Predicting when the design of the console itself and the manufacturing will be ready is challenging. OEMs face the additional constraint that the purchase of their product is strongly seasonal, so a slip in schedule can be devastating.
Therefore the entire production cycle is planned long before the consoles appear on the market. Part of that planning is pricing. This makes pricing much less flexible for several reasons.
In effect, it is similar to other producers purchasing options to avoid risk. By fixing the price and supply, in cooperation with retailers, the manufacturer buys a “put”, decreasing risk while sacrificing spot market / grey market profits.