This continues to be one of the most annoying things of 2020/2021. The inability to get your hands on one of the new consoles outside of a Nintendo Switch or (sometimes) Xbox Series S. The Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 continue to be completely elusive for most consumers. You pretty much have to rely on pure luck more than anything.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible though. There are ways to increase your chances at getting your hands on one of these consoles So how do you even try?
Tabs, Tabs, and More Tabs
Your first line of defense is monitoring all of the popular stores at once. Open your browser and open each store into its own tab and keep this window open. Once in a while, refresh everything to see if anything has changed inventory-wise.
This is the quickest way to keep tabs on things. Many of these stores still restrict these systems to online anyway, with the exception of places like Best Buy where they do release inventory to the stores at times. This, however, results in large lines and sometimes at odd hours of the day.
Some stores/pages to keep tabs on include…
- Xbox Series X: Microsoft/Xbox Store, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop, B&H, Newegg
- PlayStation 5: PlayStation Store, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop, B&H, Newegg
This is clearly not a complete list as you’ll likely think of others to add. The more you keep tabs on, the greater your chances.
It is you against everyone, including the bots being used by many (which hopefully, at some point, will be determined to be illegal to use). So you have to be fast. Really fast. This means registering for each store and logging in ahead of time. This way if you do see a model pop up, you can head straight to check out, minimizing the number of pages and forms you may come across.
This is the best way to keep updated with any big stock announcements. There are many Twitter bots and users that make daily announcements of stock as it appears in stores both on and offline. You can use this to keep tabs on certain stores so you are prepared ahead of time.
When you see a Tweet announcing a big inventory drop somewhere, be prepared to join the ocean of users sitting in front of the screen hoping to be one of the lucky few to score something from it. Again, it is you against the bots (and everyone else), so be prepared to be fast.
In-Store Inventory Releases
These are harder to find as they are quite uncommon. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t exist. At times, you’ll see an inventory drop at certain stores like Best Buy. Sometimes GameStop will get one too, although this is highly dependant on the store location (mostly their top-performing stores while their smaller locations don’t ever get any love).
The only catch is that (as mentioned) they come with a line that can sometimes wrap around the building. So if you hear about a huge drop coming to a store in a big announcement, you can plan for a large line. You’d have to get there hours ahead of time to secure your place.
However, sometimes they don’t make a big announcement. Sometimes it goes out to an exclusive list (paid members, etc) or sometimes a store may get it unannounced. So when you walk into a store, it never hurts to ask if they have one. Better yet, if you walk by a store like GameStop and they have a small line forming right before they open it, it never hurts to jump in to see what you might get access to. It might be the system you are hoping for (else it might be the other and I’m sure someone you know is looking for it).
We have had a few colleagues capture a PS5 at a GameStop using the latter method of simply walking up to a line that was randomly forming (without any notice that we had any knowledge about).
If you stick to your guns, you will eventually come across something. I won’t say “with a little patience” as in most cases it is going to require a lot of patience. There are some colleagues here that have straight given up or switched sides. Some Xbox fans here have switched to PlayStation since they are slightly easier to get ahold of, while others have switched to PC gaming as the battle just wasn’t worth the stress. Even as press, we don’t get any easier access to the consoles than anyone else.