Dana Sissons’ youngest son had been all about Legos leading up to the holidays. That was before a few weeks ago, when he said he wanted a PlayStation 5.
“I’m like, yeah, I want a million dollars,” Sissons jokingly responded. “It’s hard, man.”
Sissons got to work. He pulled up tabs for multiple retailer pages of the PS5 and watched for updates on Twitter. In late November, he finally got a hold of the Sony console.
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But it’s more than just finding the perfect gift for under the tree. Since the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles launched in 2020, consumers have spent all year refreshing retailer websites and checking smartphone alerts to see if new consoles are in stock. The hunt for video game consoles has become a game itself.
Whether you’re looking to snag a PS5 or new Xbox for the holidays or any time of year, we spoke to consumers who successfully bought one. These are some of their tips:
Refresh, refresh, refresh
To snag a PS5, Sisson said one of his techniques was having web pages open for retailers offering the console and refreshing them throughout the day to track updates.
Checking daily at different times worked for Jamie Watkins of Morristown, Tennessee, when her 16-year-old son was on the hunt for an Xbox Series X.
After several attempts at buying an Xbox online failed, Watkins said they finally bought one in early November through Best Buy online.
“We honestly felt guilty walking out with it because I honestly think it’s just a lucky draw of being in the right place at (the) right time,” said Watkins. “I was very surprised that we were successful in getting one.”
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Twitter is your best friend
Christopher Ortiz of Aurora, Illinois, said he wanted a PS5 for himself and his son. He checked websites, but they were always out of stock. Then he would try Sony Direct sales of the PS5, but the consoles would disappear while he was still in the virtual waiting room.
Then he turned to Twitter. He found the account of Matt Swider, a journalist with more than 1 million followers who has been tracking updates on where to purchase a PS5 or Xbox.
“He sent out an alert about a Walmart restock and I got lucky and was able to secure one,” said Ortiz.
Several other accounts including Wario64 also share details on where fresh stock of the PS5 and Xbox are available. Once you follow them and set up notifications on your phone, you can act quickly.
Another benefit to using Twitter: Sometimes other users lucky enough to find one might share how they did it.
Speed up the buying process
Sissons said one of the most important things consumers should consider is creating an account for a retailer online to add your shipping address, credit card information or other details beforehand. This helps speed up the process of actually buying the console.
“Having it in your cart doesn’t guarantee you possession of the thing until the sale is complete,” he said.
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Retailers that sell the PS5
Retailers that sell Xbox Series X
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.