PS5 pre-orders are extremely hard to come by now if you missed your chance to pre-order one back in September. As such, many were hoping to pick one up launch day, but that just got a lot harder. On top of the scarcity problems that Sony's next-generation systems were already facing, a major caveat was revealed Thursday for those who want to get a PS5 on launch day.
Sony Interactive Entertainment confirmed in a PlayStation Blog post on November 5 that all launch day sales will be online only.
That means you shouldn't show up to your local GameStop or Walmart on November 12 or 19 in the hopes that they'll have some extra systems in stock because they won't. If you're hoping to track down a PS5 on launch day, you'll have to try and order one online on launch day.
Here are your options.
Target actually made this announcement ahead of Sony, writing to an inquisitive customer on Twitter on November 2 that "On the day of launch, the console will only be available in stores with Order Pickup or Drive Up orders." As such, Target seems like the most promising option on launch day thus far. You'll be able to order online and pick it up that day.
You won't be able to get a PS5 in-store at Walmart on November 12 unless you have already pre-ordered one for in-store pick-up. Sony asks that people "do so at their designated appointment time, under the retailer’s safety protocols." It seems possible, even likely, that Walmart will similarly have additional stock available for online purchase and in-store pickup.
As a gaming-focused store, GameStop will probably hurt the most from not having any in-store PS5s on launch day, but new information that emerged on November 11 made it seem like the retailer would be offering in-store sales.
"Rest assured, if you are visiting a GameStop store on launch day 11.12 to purchase PS5 games or accessories, we will maintain all social distancing protocols to keep our customers and associates safe during this time," an email from GameStop reads. An image of the message was shared by Twitter user @Wario64, who frequently various deals in tech and gaming.
More importantly, the message from GameStop claims that "GameStop will have a limited number of PlayStation 5 console bundles for purchase this evening," referring to Wednesday, November 11.
It's unclear what these bundles will entail just yet, but most bundles either include an extra controller and/or one or two games. Depending on what games you actually want to play on the console, this could be frustrating. Not only will you have to spend a lot more than the console price of $399 or $499, but a couple extra hundred dollars on top of that.
Like Walmart, existing pre-orders with in-store pick-up will remain valid, though the PlayStation Blog post announcing this shift says that anyone with a pre-order should check with their local store before showing up to claim their console.
While a Black Friday ad claims that Best Buy will have these systems in stock, keep in mind that you can only purchase them online at the aforementioned links.
PS5 was only ever available online at Amazon, so not much is changing here. Pay attention to Amazon's PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition listings on launch day. There will probably be additional availability, but this will be your least appealing option as there's no telling how long Amazon will take to ship the consoles.
Amazon warned anyone who pre-ordered a console back in September that they might not be delivered on launch day, so any consoles purchased on launch day will likely take several days or weeks to come in.
Newegg, an online retailer mostly known for selling PC hardware, is promising to have some PlayStation 5 consoles in stock on November 12. Currently, three PS5 bundles are listed. There is one that comes with the console and two controllers, one that comes with the console, two controllers, Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch Edition, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and a third one that's similar to the last one but includes the Ultimate Edition of Spider-Man Miles Morales.
On the day that the PS5 release, B&H is promising to sell some PlayStation 5 systems via their online store. As of now, a page only exists for a standard no-frills PS5. If you're looking for a bundle or a PS5 Digital Edition, you'll have to look elsewhere.
While this isn't as trustworthy of an online retailer as the other sites listed, Antonline has had PS5 stock available prior to the system's release. If you're interested in getting a PS5 from them, you should keep an eye on their hub page for the system, which features several bundles for both the standard PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition with additional games and accessories.
If you wanted to get a PS5 straight from Sony, you had to get chosen as part of an invite-only process and then wait in a cue to hopefully pre-order.
PS5 will be released in North America on November 12, 2020.