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Alba Iulia
Thursday, October 1, 2020

PS5 pre-orders started a day earlier and are a mess so far

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Sony wrapped its presentation today with the long-awaited price and release date for the PS5, but stopped telling players when and where to buy one, until a tweet seemed to clear things up: pre-orders will start tomorrow, September 17th. Or so it seemed for an hour or two. Now it has become a real disaster.

Perhaps eager to take advantage of demand, retailers quickly turned the pre-order situation into a free-for-all situation, opening the gates a day earlier and allowing quicker, more savvy shoppers to swoop in. Some called or walked in. their local GameStop to secure a pre-order one day early, or seemingly lucky with one of Walmart’s listings for PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition. Walmart even gleefully tweeted that it was pushing the console out ahead of schedule:

Soon, GameStop issued a press release advertising the PS5’s availability online, even though at the time it didn’t actually have a product page where you could buy one. You can now also find product pages on Target (PS5, PS5 Digital) and Best Buy (PS5, PS5 Digital). GameStop’s product listings (PS5, PS5 Digital) also seem to be up to date, but, hilariously, the site appears to have activated some DDoS protection and was initially blocked for many people (including us):

And good luck getting one, even if you log into one of these stores – not only do these listings flicker in and out of stock and get it wrong when adding items to your cart, we also had them. ripped from our cart in the middle of a transaction. Target says it is already completely out of pre-orders (see image below), and we’re also hearing that Walmart is already canceling some successful pre-orders as well. In more ways than one, it reminds us of the SNES Classic launch fiasco.

It seems like you don’t just need to be on point, but also refresh the page a few times to have one in your cart and be very quick in typing your payment information because you can still miss your pre-order while checking up. Plus, the Best Buy cart doesn’t even seem to allow us to start checking out right now.

And even if you manage to get one, there’s no guarantee that launch day will come. Our attempt to use Target initially showed that we could “get it from Friday November 13 to Wednesday November 18,” before telling us we couldn’t have one:

If you are ordering on GameStop, you may also need to go in person to pre-purchase the console. The the minimum deposit for the PS5 is $ 50 at the retailer. But GameStop notes that there are other ways to pay for the system, including a flexible “rent to own” payment system that will allow players to pay for products between 30 days and a year.

Sony had warned that it might be difficult to pre-purchase a PS5 due to high demand and low supply, but Sony also promised would give players “plenty of notice” when pre-orders start:

What happened to that? And what exactly was the purpose of the entire invitation-only pre-order registration form that Sony launched on August 26?

Sony CEO Jim Ryan said more PS5 units will be available than PS4s when they initially launched in 2013, and he also denied a recent report of Bloomberg which claimed that Sony had been forced to reduce PS5 production by 4 million units. It is not yet clear how many PS5s will actually be available, but it is possible that more shipments will appear before launch. Walmart reportedly will have more stock on September 22, while Target’s product page suggests “check back on release date”.

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