How to buy the Playstation 5 before Xmas

December 13, 2020

Best Way To Get A Playstation 5 Under The Christmas Tree

If you’re a frustrated parent trying to purchase the PS5 or Xbox gaming consoles before Christmas, I’m here to help. If you have been unsuccessful bagging the console and have lost too much sleep trying, reading this article will increase your odds of being a hero on Christmas morning.

This week will be critical for purchasing the console since Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I have charted the major retailers, such as Walmart, Best Buys, Sony, Target, and Amazon to see what days and times they have been restocking their inventory online. As you can see, most online restocks occur during the week between the hours of 2-7 pm EST. Sony has dropped more restocks than any other retailer, which makes sense because they are the manufacturer of the Playstation 5.

Purchasing Directly From Sony

I currently believe your best chance to secure the PS5 online is through Sony’s online portal because they have the most stock and are pretty predictable about when they release it. There is a pretty good chance that between the hours of 3-6 pm EST, Monday-Friday Sony will be starting a queue to allow folks to enter their gated online property for purchasing the well sought-after product.

Sony has done a great job of giving everyone a fair shot at purchasing the console by lining people up in a queue at random. This is to prevent bots (robots mimicking the checkout process) from buying up all the consoles faster than a human can click on the add-to-cart button. This also eliminates the free-for-all you typically see with other retailers that drops online inventory and is sold out within minutes.

Getting into the queue quickly is key to gaining access to the checkout process before inventory runs out. So it’s important that you follow the social media accounts on Twitter that I have listed below to be alerted when Sony opens the queue to the public. You could also continuously refresh the website when they normally restock but this doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of getting in and isn’t an efficient use of your time.

I was successful in purchasing the PS5 directly from Sony and have gained access to the checkout process a few times before inventory sold out. Once you get in, you want to checkout as quickly as possible. One time I added the PS5 to the cart, but stock ran out before I completed the checkout process. Luckily, one time I did successfully complete the checkout, and here are the screenshots you will see during the process:

Screen when entering the queue, don’t refresh at this point

Screen when you’re close to entering checkout with inventory available

Screen before redirecting to checkout, unfortunately stock was out this time

Screen when stock is available, add to cart, and continue checkout

Screen when order has been placed while stock was available

I’ve probably entered about 10 queues and got in twice before stock ran out. So I’m guessing there’s about a 20 percent chance of entering the checkout process when you enter the queue. If you are successful in placing your order, you can expect to see the Playstation 5 on your doorstep within 48 hours via FedEx.

In-Store Opportunities With Walmart

If you’re not that savvy on the computer, your local Walmart will be your best bet for grabbing the hottest product on the planet. Walmart is the only major retailer that is allowing customers to purchase the PS5 in-store to date. Late last month people were saying they just walked into Walmart and were able to buy the console. Most retailers only allow you to buy online with the option to pick-up curbside or have shipped to your home.

I was also successful in buying a console via walk-in at Walmart. After initially striking out during my first attempt when I got to Walmart at 7:05 am, there was already a line of about 30 people in the electronics department of which only 14 people had tickets to purchase a console. The next day I checked inventory levels at Walmarts near me and decided to visit a more rural location about 30 miles from my house. I got there 30 minutes before open and there was a line of 10 people waiting outside, so I hopped in line. About 15 minutes before open, one of the store managers came out and handed out 12 tickets for the PS5 they had in stock.

I asked the people at the front of the line what time they got there, they said 3 am. The line outside continued to grow even though the girl with the 12th ticket told people who arrived after her that there were only 12 consoles. I guess they were hoping for a credit card to decline. When the store opened at 7 am, the store manager escorted us to the electronics department and we purchased our PS5’s.

I was lucky I could check inventory levels, before Walmart and other retailers stopped providing that data online. Now, you are taking a shot in the dark because the store may not have any consoles in stock. Walmart walk-ins are still happening but only when stock arrives which is hard to predict. If you decide to take a chance before the store opens, I would ask the people waiting if they received a ticket. If no tickets were issued before the store opens, then it’s a strong indication that there is no PS5 stock at that store. I believe the walk-ins purchases will become less likely as we get closer to Christmas.

Walk-in at Walmart

Other Retailers In-Play

The big-box retailers are not the online game in town. Other players like GameStop, AntOnline, Meijer, and Newegg have shown up to the party offering the gaming consoles. The experience on these websites is unreliable as they don’t seem equipped to handle the load of traffic generated when they list the Playstation 5 for sale. However, folks have had success so maybe you’ll get lucky. The wholesale retailers like Sam’s, BJ’s, and Costco seem to be a better option because the console is a members-only purchase which improves your chances of success. Most of these retailers only offer bundles, forcing you to dish out a little more cash.

Tips & Tricks

  • Fill out shipping and payment details ahead of time when shopping online
  • Make a small purchase if you have no online purchase history with that retailer
  • Use multiple devices and browsers to increase chances when the stock drops online
  • Attempt Walmart walk-ins at more rural locations near you
  • Get added to a family/friend membership at Sam’s, BJ’s, or Costco, or buy your own
  • More PS5 digital versions will be available as the higher price disk version sells out
  • Set zipcode to rural locations near you for better odds at Walmart, Target, & Best Buys
  • Follow social media accounts listed below and set alert on to be notified when they post
  • Retailer seem to drop stock in a certain time frame, look at their pattern in the above chart
  • There are tons of scams on reseller sites such as eBay, Facebook, & StockX, be careful
  • Not much activity happens on the weekend, get your rest

Who To Follow On Social Media

Don’t waste your time randomly refreshing multiple retailer’s websites hoping the console is in-stock, just follow these Twitter accounts below with notification alerts turned on. You’ll be alerted within seconds if a console just went live from a retailer:

Last Resort

I hope it doesn’t come down to this for you, but if you really don’t want to disappoint your child there are resellers that will gladly sell you a console for double or even triple the retail price. Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and StockX have plenty of stock to sell from individual sellers. As I mentioned before, these sites are full of scammers trying to take your money. Facebook and eBay do offer purchase protection in some situations, so please do your due diligence before making any purchase. Folks have landed their console this way, but it certainly comes with the most risk.

I would never send money via money apps such as CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal independently before verifying the product. I would suggest meeting at a bank or police station where cameras are present when opening the box before exchanging money. I’d be leery of having someone ship a console because you don’t know what you’re getting in the box so please have some type of purchase protection in place. I attempted to purchase on Facebook Marketplace with purchase protection, in both situations my console never arrived. Facebook holds the money until your product arrives and you’re satisfied with it, so my money was quickly refunded once I opened a resolution claim request.

In Conclusion

There is still time to score the PS5 console before Christmas, but now we have to be strategic and smart about securing it. Busy parents can’t afford to hunt for a hard to find item that causes them to waste time and lose sleep. Now that we are a month out from the launch, we can leverage some trends we see in the data. Knowing when the online drops are likely, how to navigate them, and how to prepare for them will make all the difference in determining if there will be a next-generation Playstation or Xbox console underneath your Christmas tree.