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Looking to Buy One of The Latest Game Consoles at Retail Price? Here’s How.

LookingThe stock issues for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are no secret, but with this strategy (and some luck) you could get one without settling for a markup.
You’ve seen the headlines by now. Trying to buy either the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X is a challenge—to put it mildly—with the incredible demand and scalpers stockpiling consoles in order to sell them at double or in some instances (like with the special-edition Halo Infinite Xbox Series X) triple their retail value. And it only stands to get worse, with Black Friday looming this week and holiday gift-giving just beyond. Despite the hurdles, I managed to snag both a PlayStation 5 and an Xbox Series X for myself and a friend, respectively, at retail prices within one week. What it took: persistence, and utilizing the strategy below. Here’s quick background on how we got here with the stock issues, then a game plan for (hopefully) getting one for yourself without shelling out more than they’re truly worth.
Why Is It So Difficult To Find Video Game Consoles In Stock?
The latest gaming systems are beastly machines capable of rendering the newest titles at a 4K resolution up to 60 frames per second with support for ray-tracing. This makes for highly detailed graphics and smooth performance without stutter for fluid gameplay. Gaming computers three times the price struggle to keep up with this level of fidelity. In turn, that means even PC gamers are also in the race to grab a console, especially since the silicon shortage has sent the resale price of computer graphics cards soaring past the retail value of a console.
Whenever a new generation of gaming consoles arrives, it’s normal for scalpers to come out of the woodwork to snap up hard-to-find systems and sell them at high markups. Compounding the supply issue is that this latest round of debuts arrived at the height of a global pandemic. With more people bored at home, demand for consumer electronics—particularly gaming consoles—has reached unprecedented heights. While that would be fine if supply could match demand, COVID severely hampered silicon chip production. This created a global chip shortage, pitting Sony and Microsoft against vehicle manufacturers like Ford and computing companies such as Apple. Amid this, it’s not uncommon to see this trickle down in the form of people lining up outside of stores for these expensive consoles. Online queues are no better than those physical lines as people refresh retailer pages. If you don’t arrive to an online restock and check out within the first ten seconds of a scheduled drop at retailers like Walmart or Best Buy, you’re out of luck, as scalpers, parents, and people who just want a console snap up stock frustratingly fast.
While it may seem that the odds are not in your favor, there are some tips I can share to level the playing field. First of all, remember that the reason your competition is so fast is because a majority use bots to automatically add a system to their cart and check out. By taking away purchasing opportunities for actual customers, scalpers artificially spike the supply so they can continue to resell the consoles at a higher price. To combat this, it helps if you have accounts at all major retailers with your payment information saved or otherwise on standby. Quick reaction speed doesn’t hurt, either. Once you find out about a restock, you must be prepared to check out within seconds. While it's important to make an attempt for every drop to increase your chances, I got my consoles from Target and Kohls since the crowds tend to focus on Best Buy and Walmart. Prepare to immediately chase phone notifications, make more frequent trips to your local retailers, and, if all else fails, buy a refurbished system.

Your best friend on the hunt for a new gaming console at retail price is the little blue bird named Twitter. This live-blog social media platform is well-suited for sharing stock updates in real-time. One of the best console stock update accounts to follow is @Wario64, who relays both console restocks and game deals (with links) the second they drop. To follow an account, open up their profile and hit the “Follow” button on the top right. Once that’s done, a little bell will appear to the left of the Follow button; click this and turn on account notifications for all that account’s tweets.

With alerts set up, your phone and devices will send a notification for every tweet, which potentially indicates a console is in stock. Until you score a console, you will need to have your card and/or account information on hand for a quick checkout. For PlayStation 5 updates specifically, the best accounts to follow are @PS5StockAlerts, @PS5Drop, @MattSwider. As for Xbox Series X, follow @GYXDeals, @XboxStockAlerts, and the aforementioned @Wario64. While these accounts prioritize online drops, they will tweet out the rare in-store purchasing opportunities that retailers share ahead of time.

If possible, leave your phone notifications on all the time so you can feel a vibration and hear an alert for every restock. If your job has you in front of a computer, leave Twitter refreshing in the corner of your monitor. Make sure that you have the volume for devices that receive alerts turned up as much as reasonable, since notifications can come in while you cook, decompress, and more often than not sleep. While most retailers typically restock in the early evening when most people get out of work, drops have frequently occurred between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. EST. Keep in mind if you keep your phone in Do Not Disturb mode while you sleep, you may miss these restocks. So green-light your notifications for the time being, but please don’t sacrifice your sleep or health.

Join Discord Stock Servers.-
Discord is a social networking chat app primarily used by gamers. Think of it like Slack for life outside of work, with different servers and channels to hop into for instant messaging, voice chats, and video calls. You can join groups that employ stock bots to monitor website inventory and ping you the second a batch of consoles arrives. If anything, it’ll give you a jump of 45 seconds to a minute ahead of the Twitter accounts posting to millions of followers. To get started, simply sign up using your name and email.

Once you have an account, join one or more of these servers: Open Source Bots, StockRadar, and PG’s Fast Alerts.io. From these servers you can keep an eye on drops of the latest consoles and graphics cards using their correlating channel thread. For example once you join the StockRadar server, you’ll want to click on the subsection labelled "playstation-alerts" for PS5 updates or "xbox-alerts" for Xbox Series S or X restocks. As with Twitter, both apps send stock updates for online sales so keep your notifications running and the app on in the background.

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