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Getting your hands on a PS5 is a Herculean feat in and of itself. With so much demand and so little supply, it’s safe to say the PlayStation 5 is one of the most sought-after video game consoles of all time. There’s a good reason for that: Sony’s lineup of first-party titles boasts some of the best in gaming history. Combined with the ability to revisit old classics through backward compatibility and PS Now, and you’ve got a PlayStation fan’s dream machine.
Why Are PS5s So Hard To Find?
Any console is tough to get your hands on at launch, but it’s been over a year since the original launch of the PS5. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created numerous obstacles and delays in the shipping and manufacturing sectors.
As a result, Sony couldn’t get enough of a specific kind of chip to manufacture greater numbers of PS5s. Even those that were made and shipped often spent weeks or even months in storage while shipping issues were resolved.
As a result, the demand is still high (and growing higher all the time as new PS5 games come out like Horizon: Forbidden West), but supply can’t keep up. It’s not hopeless, though: plenty of people still buy PlayStation 5s. You just have to know when and where to look.
How To Increase Your Chances of Buying a PS5
There are two things that impact your chance to get your hands on a console: speed and opportunity. You need to be aware when restocks happen so you can jump on the chance to buy the system, and you need to move through the checkout process fast enough that you don’t lose your shot to someone else.
Make sure you are logged in to whatever retailer you’re buying from. Line up your payment information and make sure all of the shipping information is correct. If one-click buy is an option, enable it. You will have seconds to buy when the restock happens; most sell out in under a minute, and often in less than 30 seconds.
As for knowing when the restocks come in, many retailers will announce ahead of time when consoles will be in stock. Otherwise, you can turn to social media platforms like Twitter. There are accounts dedicated to sharing news of PS5 availability. Follow these accounts and turn on notifications so you know when they post. Again, be prepared to act fast. As much as you want a PlayStation 5, so do a lot of other people, and you’re in competition with all of them to buy from a limited pool of consoles.
The Best Places To Buy a PS5
The PlayStation 5 is available at most major retailers, but not in equal amounts. Here are your best options for finding a PS5.
PlayStation Direct is the most reliable way to get your hands on a PlayStation 5. It’s not guaranteed, but it removes at least part of the process: the rapid refreshing of websites and the crossing of fingers that the traffic doesn’t crash it.
PlayStation Direct lets you buy directly from Sony. In most cases, you’ll sign up and be placed at random in a queue. When your number comes up, you’ll be notified and given a set amount of time to complete your purchase.
PlayStation Direct removes some of the variables from the process, and it does work (that’s actually how I bought my PS5.)
Amazon is probably one of the best places to buy a PS5, but it’s also one of the most popular retailers in the world. When consoles do come into stock, they fly off the virtual shelves before you can blink.
The upside to this is that Amazon has frequent restocks, and has had ever since the PlayStation 5 first launched. Keep an eye out for stock alerts and jump on the chance when it arises.
GameStop has been a steady source for PlayStation 5 consoles since launch, especially because the offer usually opens to Pro members first. The good news is that GameStop typically announces restocks in advance. Sometimes it may be a day before, and sometimes only a few hours — but eagle-eyed customers can take advantage of this heads-up to be ready when the consoles drop.
Another thing to keep in mind is that GameStop tends to offer bundles that are the same price as buying items individually, a tactic that discourages scalpers from dipping their grime-encrusted hands into the pool.
Target is one of the less-predictable retailers, but its stock isn’t limited by membership. Anyone that wants a PS5 can get one, provided they snatch up the few that come into stock before everyone else does. It’s hard to know when Target will get consoles, but it was one of the first stores to actually have in-store stock versus online-only.
Walmart has been another reliable place to buy a PlayStation 5, especially through its mobile app. Many of the restocks would only appear on the app, which helps fight back against scalpers. You just need to be ready and waiting with your phone to take advantage of it when it appears.
While Newegg once had the reputation of being the go-to supplier for PC parts, it’s now a general catch-all for electronics. There are PS5s available at the time of writing, but they aren’t priced at $500 — instead, they’re priced significantly higher.
Newegg also has a raffle-like system like PlayStation Direct called Newegg Shuffle. When restocks come in, you can join the shuffle and have a chance at getting a PS5 that’s more reliable than hoping you get it in your cart and check out fast enough. It’s not a perfect option, but Newegg is still easily one of the best places to buy a PS5.
Best Buy has begun offering PlayStation 5s online, but only to members of its Total Tech subscription plan. At $200 per year, the plan isn’t cheap, but it might reduce the amount of competition in buying a PlayStation 5.
Of course, this means paying $200 on top of the $500 minimum you’d spend on a new console, and that’s not even taking potential bundles into consideration.
Some people have had success with buying a Total Tech Membership and then canceling it for a refund after purchasing a PlayStation 5, but this method might not work.