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Here’s how to get your hands on a PlayStation 5

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 11/23/2021 Teddy Amenabar
(Washington Post illustration) © The Washington Post illustration; Sony Interactive Entertainment, iStock (Washington Post illustration)

Sony’s PlayStation 5 first released more than a year ago but, yes, it’s still hard to score the console. That’s because shipping ports are clogged, computer chips are hard to come by and the entire supply chain for holiday shopping this season is out of whack.

As if that’s not enough, you’re often racing against the machines because people have scripted bots to buy a PlayStation the moment they’re in stock. With this in mind, to set yourself up for success, The Post has rounded up a few tips for this wild goose chase.

Are you gifting a gamer? Consider these tips and gift ideas.

Plan ahead.

For starters, create accounts with the major retailers and save your payment information ahead of time so you’re able to click through the checkout process faster when Best Buy announces a restock.

There are a few finer details to consider, as well. The PlayStation 5 (PS5) comes in two varieties, the digital edition or the base model with a disc drive. The all-digital model is $100 cheaper but that disc drive is key if you want to play hard copies of your PS4 games, for example.

Some retailers, like Costco, offer bundles that combine the console with an extra controller, a headset and a game or two. These are only ever going to be worth the steep price if you do in fact want every item in the bundle. Take a look at the different combinations you can buy and zero-in on one bundle if it fits your needs.

Follow power-house deal aggregators on Twitter.

If you ever ask yourself “Am I the only person who can’t find a PlayStation 5?,” just know that an account called PS5 In Stock Alerts has one million followers on Twitter. You are not alone.

PS5 supplies are gone so fast nowadays that Twitter is often the best place to check if the console is in stock at Best Buy, Walmart or Target. Accounts like iloveps5, Matt Swider, PS5 In Stock Alerts and Wario 64 will tweet out whenever the console is back available at major retailers.

These accounts use affiliate links, meaning that they earn money every time someone decides to buy something they’re linking to. But, they’re all competing against each other to show you the best deals.

You can even create a list on Twitter to group the updates together, which you’ll find as an option on the app’s left-hand menu. Alternatively, you can turn on notifications to get an alert any time one of these accounts sends a tweet. Simply go to an account’s profile and tap the bell icon next to their name.

Buy your PS5 directly from PlayStation.

Cut out the middleman and go directly to the supplier. PlayStation is distributing a “limited amount” of consoles directly to customers based in the U.S. who register on their website.

All you need to do is sign in to PlayStation’s website using your PlayStation Network ID. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one. But, it appears that the company is favoring requests from anyone who already has an account with the company. On their website, PlayStation says they’ll determine who gets a console “based on previous interest and PlayStation activities.” The Post asked the company for further clarification but didn’t receive a response.

If you’re one of the lucky winners, PlayStation will email you with instructions for purchasing the console. So, you’ll want to make sure the email attached to your PlayStation Network account isn’t some defunct address you created in middle school. The offer from PlayStation will come with an expiration date, meaning they’ll give your console to someone else if you don’t act in time.

Once you do get a theoretical “ticket” to purchase a PS5, you’ll be able to select one console, a certain number of controllers (depending on whether you pick white or another color), one media remote and one wireless headset.

You’ll only be able to register for one pre-order reservation per PlayStation Network ID.

Pay for a membership program with a retailer.

Best Buy and Walmart both offer membership programs that say they’ll provide you first dibs on the hottest products this holiday season — like the PS5. Best Buy’s TotalTech membership costs $199 a year. Walmart+ is $98 a year. Walmart gave its subscribers exclusive access to a PS5 restock last week and the console sold out after just an hour.

Gamestop offers a more affordable option, albeit without the same perks. Membership costs $14.99 a year and the program promises you’ll get first access to new inventory.

Set up Google alerts for “PlayStation 5 stock.”

We’re not the only newsroom writing about “how to find a PS5” this holiday season. There are countless gaming and tech sites that are reporting on whether the console is in stock at major retailers across the country.

Use Google Alerts to comb through all the headlines and jump on a restock when the opportunity arises. You can set the alerts to be instantaneous, just be sure to create a rule in your inbox to send those headlines straight to a folder. Otherwise, you’re going to get a flood of emails.

Maybe buy a Nintendo Switch or Xbox?

Look, we’re not suggesting you throw in the towel. It’s just, the Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X | S are perfectly great consoles.

The Nintendo Switch OLED, which released in October, boasts a bigger, brighter screen and double the storage capacity as the base model. In a review for The Post, Launcher’s Gene Park wrote that the seven-inch OLED screen makes the handheld gaming experience crystal clear and perfect for players who don’t typically dock the console to a television.

Meanwhile, in Microsoft’s neck of the woods, “Forza Horizon 5” may be one of the best racing games ever made and it’s an Xbox console exclusive. On top of that, the multiplayer portion of “Halo Infinite” — another Xbox exclusive — unexpectedly launched to massive fanfare last Monday and it’s free-to-play.

So, you know, all we’re saying is: There are options.


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