Although released at the beginning of Holiday 2020, owning a PlayStation 5 (as well as it’s rival, the XBSX) has been one of the more difficult feats to accomplish. With the pandemic ramping up again, & a chip shortage continuing, securing a console in the current market is tricky, especially with most going back to work. That being stated, it isn’t impossible, so here are a few tips that I picked up along the way to hopefully help you post up some “W’s” on your social media accounts before this upcoming holiday season.
PlayStation Direct – PlayStation Direct is most likely the best way to a get your hands on a PS5 (you don’t have to pay for a membership, fight bots or be glued to your phone), but there is a catch. It is invite-only, and your PlayStation account must be active, and active recently. I have a PlayStation account, but it hasn’t been active on it the past few years, so I never received an invitation by email. Instead, I waited until they opened their queue to customers without invites, but the last few times they had them for sale, the did not do so. Still, the most direct way to get one if you’re lucky enough to receive an email.
(Update: They had a small restock on August 17, 2021, so I don’t know when the next time will be. I wasn’t sure if it was invite only, or just offered to the public since I was tracking the GameStop drop from that day as well.)
Walmart – Walmart is like the west world of trying to buy a ps5, filled with bots & little chance to achieve what you showed up for. So much so, that people have been calling it Bot-Mart. You can add it to a shopping list (when it actually appears in searches, or just press this link to find it on the website), sometimes they will send you an alert when the item is back in stock (although I hadn’t received one in few months). It’s best to check around 12pm EST (9 am PST) to see if they would get any on that specific day, and they usually show up Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Once the PS5 shows up, Walmart will usually restock every 8-10 minutes, and will do so for 30-40 minutes following the first drop. Back in the spring of 2021, they would last quite a bit, sometimes dropping every 10 minutes for up to 2 hours, but that has not happened in a while. Walmart seems to have the most restocks, & they will ship to you, but I rarely see anyone posting that they were able to get one from the drops, so you might want to skip them. (Sony PlayStation 5 Video Game Console – Walmart.com – Walmart.com)
Target – As of late, Target has only done regional drops, those of which are on a Wednesday or Thursday. That being said, there hasn’t been a major drop country-wide in a while. A few other articles have stated that is because a local target will have a few extra, or a region will get a shipment, or they will have some left over that no one picked up (most likely bots that were unable to pick up, since Target is pick up only), so they will put them on sale when they have enough. The last region to get a shipment was on the East Coast/Midwest, and it was at between 4:30am-5:30am EST. I didn’t see anyone posting up receiving one in my area (Bay Area, CA), or from SoCal. They usually get them every 14-21 days.
Costco – I haven’t seen Costco get one for almost a month (mid-July). It happens usually at mid/late morning, from 10am to Noon, usually later in the week. They do bundles only, & you have to be a Costco Member (In all honesty, the bundles aren’t bad, & it will usually save you $10-$20 dollars when everything is added up. I was able to get my XBSX through them back in March). Their drops are few & far between, so if you don’t have a membership, don’t waste your time, but I can see them getting them in stock a few times, especially right before the holiday.
Sam’s Club – Sam’s Club is the same as Costco, but I have seen in stock notifications a little bit more often. Not much, maybe every 6-8 weeks. I heard from a friend who works there they had them in store one time, but he is a source I don’t always trust. They have the best work shirts, though. Still, same as above: if you don’t have a membership, save your money & try to get one somewhere else.
AntOnline – AntOnline has them every 14-21 days, & many people on twitter have been able to get one. Still, they have some of the most outrageous bundles (they only offer bundles). They had a bundle last week (8/11 or 8/12) which was close to if not over $800. If you have that kind of cash laying around & can’t wait for someone else to get them in stock, the go for it. The bundles cost as much as all the parts separate, just added up. They usually drop between 11-12pm EST (8-9am PST) midweek (Wed/Thur).
Amazon – Amazon is a little confusing. There hasn’t been a proper Amazon restock in quite sometime for the U.S. You will get notifications (see Social Media/Websites below) of restocks for Amazon, but it usually is for another country. I saw a restock for Canada, Italy, & even the UK in the last few weeks. I thought this would lead to a US restock at some point, but so far, if there had been one, there weren’t many. This was reinforced by Amazon erasing their last listing (I had saved it to my Wishlist for quicker checkout when they did go live), but nothing popped up. My theory is Sony has more options available to distribute their consoles in the U.S., & Amazon may take too much of a cut, or buy in bulk & want a discount (much like Costco & Sam’s Club). Either way, don’t hold your breath for a “massive Amazon drop coming soon” that never happened, & most likely won’t, no matter what anyone’s sources say.
NewEgg – NewEgg has changed the whole way they sell their consoles (among other difficult to get items, like GPU’s). They started doing the NewEgg Shuffle, a raffle of sorts that is free to enter. All you need to do is sign-up when they have one (3-4 times a week). Sign-up is between 11am to 1 pm EST (8 am to 10 am PST). When you sign up, you can cherry pick the combos that you want to purchase, then just wait for the results. They have a mobile app you can download, which will remind you when there is a raffle, when it starts & ends, & if you won. If there isn’t anything there that you want, you can just skip that day.
If you are selected, this must be one of the easier ways to get a console bundle if you have the money for it. I made a joke tweet that it was a relief to not win the option to purchase one, then be on the hook for it. This was because their bundles were extremely expensive at the time, ranging anywhere from 750-1100, depending on what they were bundling with the system (multiple games, an extra controller, media remote, charging stations, headphones, etc). I felt that they were just bundling everything they could because people were just so hungry to get one (I saw a GPU bundles with a case & a monitor. Ridiculous). Now, it seems they have changed their tactic & only bundle necessities, like an extra controller & a charging station for your two controllers. Much more manageable & wallet friendly.
I have never won a bundle, though, but I have been entering the raffle almost every day they have held one. They supposedly begin the raffle at 3pm EST (12 PST), & start notifying winners within that hour. The app (if downloaded) will let you know seconds before you receive an email. If it goes longer than 6pm EST (3pm PST), you most likely haven’t won. The earliest I received a no-win notification/email was around that time. (Sidenote: They seem to get PS5’s about twice a week but I have seen them go a whole week without having one to raffle off).
Best Buy – Best Buy was the store I was able to get my console from. For Best Buy, you will want to sign up for notifications from a social media outlet (see below for more info) so you can get in asap, because these systems go fast. Best Buy has the better options for purchase as well. You can purchase a console on its own or grab a pre-made bundle (usually a console with a game like Spiderman or Cyberpunk, with a controller + additional accessory, or with all three). Best Buy will usually drop on Thursdays, between 12pm – 2pm EST (10 am – 12pm PST), and usually every other week (every 14 days). There have been a few times where it was 2 weeks in a row, but they have not done that in about a month.
Press this link & save (ribbon looking button under sold out) to get there the quickest without links. Create an account if you don’t have one already, save your email & password to whatever device you’re using. In this instance, less time equals more chances of success! Stay logged in if you can (click remember me when signing in), & make sure you select a store to shop at. That will be your home/base store.
When you get a notification that it is in stock, either click the link on social media (or go to your cart & select it from ‘Saved Items’) & add to cart. The social media links will usually send you to the main page with all the consoles & console bundles. Once you click “Add to Cart”, you’ll have to wait. Best Buy says it is adding one more step for everyone purchased. This is to make sure there are no bots buying, most likely. DO NOT HIT RELOAD BUTTON. I can’t stress that enough because I think it will start your timer over. One of the times I tried to get a console, I kept one window open & waiting, & the other I kept reloading (for testing purposes), & the “Add to Cart” button never came back in the reloading window, the button just stated “Please Wait”.
Once the “Add to Cart” button goes live, press it. This is where the real wait begins. They are pick up only. You will have to choose a store (hence why it is important to already be signed in, because it will have your store preferences saved) within 250 miles of your store. You will select the store, press check out, & it will tell you the item is no longer available at that store, and to please select a different store. Click on “Change Location” next to your pick up store on the transaction page. It will search within 250 miles for a store that has one. Select a store, even if it is one that is your home store and click “Check out”. It will repeat this over & over but stay with it. Never save to cart (it will not let you anyway), & don’t back out. Keep changing location, keep trying to purchase.
Eventually, it will tell you that it is sold out everywhere within 250 miles on the map. That may not be the case! Press back to cart, change your location again. When it comes up again, press the “update location” button on the map (usually in the top right) & input your zip code. Two out of Five (2/5) times another store in your area will pop up “in stock”. Keep trying over & over. There were a few times when nothing popped up, no matter how many times I tried backing out of the map, changing location, readjusting my zip code, etc. Then, suddenly, a store within an hour of me would pop up, I would select it, go to check out, & I would have to go back to the map.
Finally, at about 30 minutes in, I clicked on “Check Out”, & Best Buy had me verify my account by sending me an email. I inputted the code, it located one within 250 miles of me, had me complete my purchase (this one was about 75 miles away, which, at this point having been trying to acquire one for a while, didn’t bother me), & notified me that my console would be at my selected location with 10 days of my purchase date (some locations seemed to be sooner, like 7 days, some 10).
Pro Tip: If you are willing to drive up to an hour away to get one, it doesn’t matter the day. Just select the first location that pops up on the map. Once you can complete your purchase, it will send you to whichever store it wants to within range. I didn’t want to tempt fate & try to change the location after having me verify my account. Next time, I will try it & update the article. Also, they dropped at 11:33 am PST (2:33pm EST), & I successfully completed checkout at 12:12 pm PST (3:12 pm EST), so that was about 40 minutes in total.
GameStop – GameStop is the easiest way to get a console, but there are a few catches: you must be a Pro Member ($15 a year or $20 if you want a magazine shipped to you), & you are stuck with whatever bundle they have available. GameStop, whose business model should have made them obsolete years ago (these views are for another article. One quick note: I worked at a Funcoland right out of high school that was in the process of being acquired by GameStop, Inc. right when I was being hired. From the inside, I watched a company make horrible business decisions while I was there, & again when I returned years later to train managers for them).
As stated above, GameStop seems to be the easiest way to get a console. They will have drops every 7 to 14 days (as of this article’s writing, drops are on Tuesdays every 14 days at 11 am EST, 8 am PST, the last being today, 8/17/21). If the consoles get to the 1.5 hour mark (12:30p EST, 930a PST), they will release them to the general public. The last few times, they did not, but the bundles were better. This time, they had a Madden 22 w/ Ghosts of Tsushima bundle, an extra controller & a charging station that lasted the whole way to 12:20p EST before they released it to the public. They had a few different bundles available, all with the same games, but different extra controller colors/extra accessories. I must note, you have to be willing to pay close to $1000 dollars for these bundles, depending. The lower priced bundles started at 650, but after taxes (depending on where you are at), that can easily get over $700 dollars for something you may not even want (I don’t play Madden. I haven’t owned a Madden since Eddie George was on the cover & people were fighting to get the PS5’s predecessor 3 generations ago), or a game that isn’t even out yet.
Still, if you want a PS5, you’ve probably been saving up for a little bit to get one. Get a Pro Membership (do not sign up for recurring. They get everyone on this. Do not click the box, unless you want to, but you’ll soon find there is no other real benefit for this service), & just wait for your opportunity to grab one. I was checking back every 10 minutes, seeing if they had gone OOS, but they were still there until about 1 minute after going live for non-members.
Seriously, though, I contacted family members, friends, offered to get one with my account & they could reimburse me, even if they just wanted the system, I’ll cover the accessories & games. They all said no thanks, too much, or they just weren’t interested. Most of these people are just casual gamers, though, or weren’t interested in the games available in the bundle, & I couldn’t blame them.
B&H Photo – B&H Photo only sells to people on their waiting list. It will prompt you to input your email into a waitlist, & they will contact you when in stock. I did that back in May of 2021. I am still waiting as of this article being published (August 2021). I will update if they contact me, but I won’t be holding my breath, since there are some other products last year that I waitlisted for & was never contacted about. They may do the “Bulk Buy” tactic that Amazon, Costco & Sam’s does, because I have seen some of their prices for GPU’s, along with other electronics, a little bit lower than other sites, but that’s just a theory. I have not reached out to B&H for comment.
eBay – Stay off EBAY. Seriously. Those bots that make it impossible to get one from most of these stores, their users are selling them here.
Still reading? Ok, if you have money to burn, & don’t want to wait for your chance to win the “PS5 Lottery”, then eBay is your best bet. I love eBay (I sell my retro games on there, as well as purchasing electronics from their site, or random things that pop into my head from my childhood my family could never afford), & they are always in stock, ranging from $700-$1000+, but you are still taking your chances.
Pro-tip: If you aren’t familiar with eBay, please read the item info/details tab. Someone was selling pictures of a PS5 for $500 a piece & getting away with it. eBay will not refund your money. Think of eBay like a swap mall, but you get taken by an independent merchant & expect the swap mall to reimburse you. Isn’t going to happen. Be a smart consumer! Read the Product Info!
Other than that, I have had no bad transactions on eBay in my almost 25 years of using them. Still, get yourself a PayPal account for an extra layer of protection.
Stock Informer – Stock informer is a good site for keeping track of what is in stock at different times. They will tell you if they are tracking stock at stores online as well. You can sign up for email updates, which they will send to you if something seems like it’s in stock at a store they monitor, or you can select the “Send me verified in stock alerts”, which means they will not notify you until a human verifies the item is in stock at said location. That one is the one I signed up for. Since then, I received 1 email, & they were sold out by the time I got there. Remember, less time = better chances of getting a console.
Now in Stock.net – Nowinstock.net is another site like Stock Informer, but they have an extra table for recently posted in stock items & locations, which is great for tracking release dates (but it doesn’t go back very far). They don’t track sites like B&H where you have to waitlist the item, but you can sign up for alerts as well. I just kept the page open & would refresh it whenever I was on the computer.
Twitter – Twitter is the best to stay informed of Stock Alerts. You must follow accounts & turn on notifications, but it is the best way to stay on top of in stock items. Click the link provided on the tweet for the fastest transaction possible or open a browser tab on your phone or computer & head to the site yourself. For some places, like Amazon, it is better to click on the link provided. Here are a few to follow:
GYXdeals (@GYXdeals): 7/10 times these guys will be the quickest with letting you know if a PS5 is available & where. They only negative is that they will post what’s hot as well, ranging from POP figures to GPUs, SSD drives, video game discounts/sales & accessories, so you have to wade through all of those posts if you want one. Once you get down the release schedule of consoles, its easy to get through.
Matt Swider (@mattswider): Swider is the US Editor In Chief of TechRadar, a tech information site that will keep you up to date on, you guessed it, all things tech. He is fairly quick & always dependable on letting you know when something is in stock. He also will do “Hunch tweets” or let people know when insiders have told him when something is coming. This doesn’t always pan out, but if you track when these consoles are dropped, you will figure it out on your own. Still, a solid account if you’re “in the hunt” for a PS5.
PS5 Restock Accounts (@PS5Pickups, @PS5updates, @kyoga07, etc.): These are good round about sites, but they will miss some drops occasionally. One posted “Gamestop today at 10 CST” (GameStop uses CST. Why are these guys still open?) but didn’t post when they went live or opened up for non-Pro members. Another account didn’t post at all about the GameStop drop. Take your chances, but don’t expect up to date info. Kyoga will DM you when a PS5 drops, but you must like their latest “Who’s looking” tweet.
Wario64 (@Wario64): Much like GYX deals, but he will post more fandom style items, like limited edition collector boxes, statues, game sales, controllers, etc. He is also very quick on the stock updates, but he posts almost every 30 minutes on everything, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle sometimes. Still good if you are looking for the best deals on everything gaming fandom & want to grow your collection, or if you’re just looking for items that will look great behind you while streaming.
My journey: I decided back in March of 2021 that I was going to get my hands on one of the next gen consoles, either an Xbox Series X or a Playstation 5. I got my hands on both, a PS5 first, but I really wanted an XBSX to maximize my usage of Game Pass, so I didn’t purchase the few I was able to get when all I had to do was click submit order & they would have been mine (separate occasions). The next week after saying no to PS5, I was able to secure an XBSX, though, so that wasn’t too bad. In mid-July, I notified the wife that I had budgeted enough for a PS5, so I was going to start the hunt once again. Besides, if I’m going to write about games, I need all the consoles I can get my hands on. It took 3 weeks to finally purchase a PS5, proclamation to purchase, so it isn’t impossible. I will post an unboxing, since everyone likes those types of videos, on my YouTube account next week.
I wrote this guide to help you get your hands on one if you really want it. Twitter is your best bet. You don’t need to sub to my twitter to get any secrets. Everything is in the article above. Honestly, patience & vigilance is your best bet for acquiring one. Please, I repeat myself, PLEASE don’t buy one off eBay, craigslist, of any other site that is peer to peer sales. You won’t know what you are buying & will only be encouraging these scalpers to buy even more stock. Nothing would make me happier than the idea of a scalper having to sit on 20 PS5’s he couldn’t unload, then selling them at actual price (sans tax for a loss).
One Final Note: Watching the industry, as well as working in sales most of my life, I believe October will be the last month to really get your hands on one before your odds slim down for the Holiday Rush. After that, you will have to wait until Late January to Mid-February to have a solid stream of consoles ready for purchase. I wouldn’t be surprised if these consoles stay online for local pick up only, because people will frenzy for these things, especially as it gets closer to the holidays.
Thanks for reading, & good luck out there.
*You can apply these tactics to XBSX, & I did to get mine back in March, but they seem to be in stock less often than PS5 as of late. That is since, according to Phil Spencer, they use a portion of the ones they make to run their Cloud Streaming service, which is amazing. It may be that they will let more stock go for the holidays, but no one knows. We see the long game Microsoft is playing, but that is for a different article, one that will show up after “Why is GameStop still a thing”.
You can catch me on twitter @thebr0keg4m3r or follow me on here. I post random thoughts about the video game industry, or pictures of games from my collection.