Sony’s PlayStation 5 is still extremely hard to find a year after its initial launch, and usually sells out before you can even click “add to cart” whenever a big restock occurs. So what’s a frustrated gamer to do?
While trying to land a PS5 can feel a lot like playing the lottery, there are some tricks you can take advantage of to give yourself the best shot at securing Sony’s console for yourself. Here are the big stores to watch for PS5 restocks as well as expert advice for navigating the often messy PS5 shopping experience and eventually bringing one home.
PS5 restocks: The stores to watch
Most major retailers offer the $499 PS5 and $399 PS5 Digital Edition, though it tends to come back in stock at fairly random times, and only at a handful of stores at once. We’ve assembled a handy list of the biggest retailers we’ve seen PS5 restocks occur at, which you can find below.
As of October 2021, Sony has opened up a new registration page where you can sign up for a chance to buy a PS5 directly from the company. “This coming Holiday season, we will have a limited amount of PS5 Consoles available for customers in the US to purchase direct from PlayStation,” reads the website. To register, all you need to do is sign-in here with your PlayStation account.
Latest update: GameStop will have limited PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition bundles today (Oct. 26) at 11 a.m. ET. The $739 PS5 Disc bundle includes copies of Far Cry 6 and Chost of Tsushima as well as a 12-month PlayStation Plus membership and a $50 gift card, while the $649 PS5 Digital bundle includes an extra controller and a Razer Kraken headset as well as the PS Plus membership and gift card. GameStop PowerUp Rewards Pro members will have early access to these bundles for the first hour, and they’ll likely go fast.
“Best Buy has been the most reliable with PS5 restock in recent weeks. They’ve gone three for three in offering the console on Fridays, whereas Walmart has done larger drops every two to three weeks,” says Matt Swider, the US editor in chief for TechRadar who has been tracking PS5 and Xbox Series X availability relentlessly for his nearly 1 million followers on Twitter. Swider also notes that GameStop has been the best place to buy a PS5 recently, largely because the retailer sells the console via expensive bundles that don’t sell out as fast.
While history can tell us which retailers have been most consistent when it comes to offering the PS5, figuring out when they’ll actually get consoles in stock has proven much trickier.
“Restocks can [happen] at pretty much any time — and that makes tracking these PS5 drops a sleepless 24/7 operation for me,” says Swider. “Target does early morning restocks before their East Coast stores open, while Amazon has done surprise 3 a.m. EST restocks before.”
Tips for securing your PS5
While the PS5 usually sells out within minutes of coming back in stock, there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance of receiving that majestic confirmation email. Here are some tips for those still on the hunt — note that this advice also applies for those seeking out the equally elusive Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
Set up retailer accounts and stay logged in
By the time you’re entering your credit card information at checkout, that last PS5 in stock is probably going out the door. As such, we recommend setting up accounts with every major retailer in order to save precious seconds during the checkout process. Once you have a user account on sites such as Amazon, Best Buy and Target complete with your payment and contact information already set up, you’ll have far fewer clicks to make once it’s restock time.
Avoid sketchy websites and resellers
When you’re hunting down a PS5, make sure you’re going with a reputable retailer such as the ones we’ve outlined above. According to Swider, sites including TechInn and CheapGameCenter appear to be selling the PS5 but are “either fraud operations or are not fulfilling orders.” You should also avoid buying the console on resale websites such as eBay and StockX, where scalpers are attempting to sell the PS5 for anywhere from $700 to $1,400.
Follow PS5 restock trackers and set up Twitter notifications
In our months of PS5 tracking, we’ve found Twitter to be the most reliable and immediate source of PS5 restock info. That’s because folks such as Swider and popular gaming account Wario64 track PS5 restocks daily, and will post links to stores currently selling the console the second it comes back in stock. We recommend signing up for Twitter notifications when following these accounts (just hit the little bell icon on their profile) so you’ll be alerted the second consoles become available.
Take advantage of Amazon Wish List
One unique trick that’s been circulating around the web involves adding the PS5 to your Amazon Wish List and then moving it directly to your shopping cart once restocks occur. Several users have reported having success with this method when the main retail page isn’t working, and the folks at Tom’s Guide were able to successfully replicate this hack multiple times with the Xbox Series X. To add the PS5 to your Wish List, simply click the “Add to List” icon on the upper right side of its Amazon listing.
Don’t get discouraged
Online retail websites can get extremely chaotic whenever the PS5 comes back in stock, so don’t lose hope if the console doesn’t immediately appear to be available. Keep refreshing that page once a major restock occurs — you may just get lucky after a few attempts.
What about PS5 bundles?
Some retailers, including GameStop, Newegg and Antonline, tend to sell the PS5 as part of an expensive bundle once they have the console in stock. PS5 bundle prices can be eye-watering at first glance — such as this $779 Newegg bundle with three games and an extra controller — but they also sell out much more slowly than the console itself.
With that in mind, it’s worth considering a bundle if it includes stuff you were going to buy for your PS5 anyway. Just make sure the prices of those extra games and controllers add up to roughly what you’d pay for buying each separately. The last thing you should do is pay a grossly inflated price just to bring your PS5 home.
PS5 Disc or Digital Edition?
Once the all-too-rare PS5 restock occurs, you’ll have an important decision to make: Do you buy the $499 PS5 with a disc drive or the cheaper $399 Digital Edition? The consoles are identical save for that one major difference, as the standard PS5 can play physical games and 4K Blu-rays, while the Digital Edition is limited to digital games and streaming media only.
The Digital Edition may seem like the obvious choice for those looking to save some cash. However, having a PS5 with a disc drive opens you up to physical games, which generally go on sale more often (and can be bought used) and could end up saving you more money overall in the long run. You can also trade in any physical PS5 titles you’ve bought at places like GameStop and Decluttr.
“PS5 Disc is easier to buy and the one I recommend,” says Swider.
If you’re still on the hunt for a PS5, don’t give up hope. The console has been coming back in stock fairly frequently as of late, and while you’ll need to be vigilant in order to secure yours, it’s only a matter of time before that checkout button actually works in your favor.
In the meantime, there are still plenty of great PS4 games to play, including titles such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which will automatically get upgraded to their PS5 versions once you get your new console. And if you’re looking to buy yourself or a loved one a console that’s cheaper and more readily available, there’s always the excellent Nintendo Switch, which also has a new OLED variation. It’s also worth looking into Google Stadia, which allows you to purchase and play top titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the computer or phone you already have via the cloud.
But for those determined to bring a PS5 home sometime in the near future, you’ll just need patience — and some savvy use of online shopping tricks.