This holiday season, three of the hottest tech products are Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S.
However, as is often the case with this sort of thing, demand is far exceeding supply. Therefore, the consoles often sell out within mere minutes of going up online at retailers’ websites.
That said, you can adopt a few strategies to (hopefully) increase your chances of getting a console.
See below for some of these options:
Don’t bet on in-store shopping
This is perhaps the most obvious one, but given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and widespread lockdowns/restrictions across the country, you’re unlikely to get consoles at stores.
For the most part, major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy Canada EB Games have only been resupplying the consoles on their websites.
Follow the right Twitter accounts
There are several Twitter accounts that promote when stock is replenished online for the new consoles. The most prominent of these is Lbabinz (@Lbabinz), which often tweets about video game deals in Canada and also shares up-to-date info on when consoles become available at specific retailers. You might even want to turn on tweet notifications from them, although keep in mind they do tweet often.
GameDealsCanada (@GameDealsCanada) also tweets about console stock, as does (amusingly enough) sneaker availability Twitter account CDN Notify (@CDNnotify).
One of the helpful things about these accounts is they’ll share availability at retailers that you likely might not have even thought of for a console, like Real Canadian Superstore and London Drugs.
Outside of these third-party sources, you should also follow official accounts for each retailer for updates. Specifically, Walmart Canada Gaming (@WalmartCAGaming), BBY Canada Gamers (@BBYC_Gamers) and EB Games Canada (@EBGamesCanada) will frequently notify you in advance of when additional stock is expected to come.
It should also go without saying, but don’t send your stock inquiries to people who work for these or other retailers, such as the writers on the Best Buy Canada Blog. These poor folks don’t have this information and harassing them isn’t going to change that.
Finally, you can also follow @MobileSyrup on Twitter, as we often cover console stock updates as well.
Prepare yourself for website traffic
Given the high demand for the consoles, retailers’ websites often slow to a crawl or even crash entirely once stock goes live. While you can’t do anything about this once it happens, you can prepare yourself a bit beforehand.
Specifically, if you know stock is going up at a retailer at a certain time, you should make sure you have an account ready to go for that particular site. Further, you should ensure that your billing and shipping information is up-to-date. Doing all of this will help you save precious time at checkout.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some retailers, like EB Games or Walmart, start a queue before stock goes live. Sometimes, this is put up as much as half an hour before the actual resupply time. Therefore, keep this in mind if you’re looking to get one from a certain retailer. This is where Twitter accounts like Lbabinz come in handy, as they’ll often let you know about queues, website issues and other important info.
Third-party sellers are often sketchy
A lot of people are buying consoles to re-sell them at a significantly higher price. If you can wait for more stock, you should do that — no matter how frustrating it might seem.
Of course, if you’re desperate for one for the holidays, you should try to be as safe as possible. For example, Toronto Police have actually warned residents about thefts related to people selling these consoles. If you really need a console now, you should go through people you can meet in public places during the day after contact on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace.
If you’re thinking of ordering online from a third-party seller, you should be especially careful. Over the past few weeks, reports have come out from people who have been shipped bricks or even photos of the PS5 instead of the console as well.
For more on the new video game consoles, check out our PlayStation 5 review, our Xbox Series X review and our Xbox Series S review.