How To Get That PS5 or Xbox Series X/S Right Now
Although they were released over a year ago, the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are almost impossible to buy. You can’t just walk into a store and grab one off the shelves—as soon as they come back into stock, they’re sold out right away. If you’re looking to buy a next-gen console—whether for yourself or someone else—this is how to maximize your chances of getting one.
Why are PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles out of stock?
There are a few reasons you can’t easily buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X or S.
The biggest one is that they’re incredibly popular. The newest consoles are always a big seller (because they’re awesome), but because of the pandemic a lot more people have been spending time indoors and have (re)taken up hobbies like gaming. This means they’re just really in demand.
Second, there’s a global chip shortage that is affecting everything from cars to computers. Game consoles are just another casualty: Sony and Microsoft can’t produce as many as they’d be able to sell.
Third, bots and scalpers are buying up as many consoles as they can to resell for a profit. Between the scalpers and the measures retailers are having to take to protect against them, getting a console is more difficult than it otherwise would be.
Now that you know what’s going on, let’s look at what you can do about it.
How fast do stores restock new game consoles?
While the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S are out of stock most of the time, they’re still being restocked regularly—it’s just that they sell out again immediately. To buy one, you need to be ready as soon as there’s a restock.
Here’s how you can find out about PS5 restocks or Xbox Series X and S restocks:
- Sign up for newsletters with retailers where you could buy the console, like Walmart and Target. They’ll often announce in advance when they’ll restock their inventory.
- Sign up for stock alert sites like Hotstock.io and NowInStock (which has PS5 and Xbox Series X/S restock trackers). They can let you know when the console you’re looking for is back in stock—though you’ll need to act fast.
- Keep an eye on tech and gaming websites like Wired, The Verge and Tom’s Guide. Restock events are big news, so when they’re announced, they’ll cover them.
Start your game console shopping online
If you’re looking to buy a PS5, one of the best options is direct from Sony. You need a PlayStation Network account to sign up, and when the PS5 is back in stock, you may be invited to join a virtual queue. It’s no guarantee you’ll get one, but a lot of people have been successful. Microsoft, unfortunately, doesn’t yet have a similar open-invite program.
Otherwise, some of the retailers worth looking at are:
To give yourself the best chance of buying a console when it comes back in stock, make sure to sign up for an account with each site and add your delivery address and credit card details. Also, if you can, add the console you want to your wish list, shopping list or cart. That way, you’re ready to smash that buy button as soon as you get the chance.
Walk into your local stores
While online is more reliable simply because you have more chances, if you live near a big box or GameStop store, it might be possible to buy one in person.
Talk to the staff and see when they expect a restock. If you get there first thing in the morning on the right day, you might be able to walk in and pick one up off the shelves—as if you’re buying a normal product!
5 tips and tricks for successfully buying your new game console
- The number one tip is to be patient. Restocks are happening regularly, so if you jump on any chance you get, it will eventually pay off. Just don’t cave in and buy from a scalper—that makes the whole situation worse for everyone.
- Know a store’s restocking policy. Some retailers like Walmart stagger each restock event. If you don’t get a console as soon as it’s released, wait 10 or 15 minutes and try again. There might be more available.
- Also, consider buying bundles with a game—even if you don’t particularly want that game. More people are going to try and buy the console by itself than with Cyberpunk 2077. Similarly, if you’ve got a great internet connection such as fiber, you can buy a PS5 Digital Edition or Xbox Series S (which don’t come with disc drives) and download any game you want to play incredibly quickly. (A fiber connection also makes it easier to game online.)
- Being a member of paid membership programs, like Amazon Prime, GameStop PowerUp Rewards Pro, Best Buy Totaltech and Walmart+, can give you a chance to buy a console ahead of the general public. We wouldn’t recommend signing up just for a chance to buy a console, but if you shop at these retailers a lot, it may be worth it for you.
- Finally, don’t expect to get any amazing discounts on the latest consoles this holiday season. They’re in such short supply, so you should expect to pay full price for the foreseeable future.
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