As of early February, the PlayStation 5 has sold about 4.5 million copies worldwide, a figure that seems bewildering to many frustrated gamers who have tried and failed to purchase the brand new console time and time again. For those unaware, you cannot simply go to a store, in-person or online, and just buy a PlayStation 5. Instead, stock for the hotly sought after item comes in waves that are difficult to predict, and are often gone in mere seconds. So for anyone looking to pick up the newest gaming console for themselves or for a loved one, here are a few tips to make the process a bit less painful.
The insane demand for these entertainment machines is undoubtedly driven primarily by that innate urge we have to acquire the latest and greatest products as soon as possible. We want to be among the first to own anything. Fear of missing out is one of the great motivators. However, I think many gamers (or loved ones of gamers) may not have really stopped to consider if it is even worth buying at all right now. If you’re already determined to snag a PS5 at all costs then feel free to skip ahead, but otherwise here are a few things you may want to consider.
I am admittedly a bit of a PlayStation fanboy. I had the PS4, and I was lucky enough to secure a PS5 on the night of release. Was it worth the stress and the $500 dollars? Sort of.
First you need to consider which PS5 model is best for you, or if you might be better suited to buying the new Xbox, or maybe even a high end PC. While I won’t really go in depth here, like some other articles, it really comes down to a few key features. While the Xbox Series S is the cheapest model available at just $299, it sacrifices power, and doesn’t really compare directly to the PS5. It’s really all about the Xbox Series X versus the PlayStation 5.
Each system is comparable in its specifications, so any differences in performance are mostly negligible. It’s really all about exclusives, subscription services, and the controllers.
When it comes to exclusives, Sony absolutely obliterated Microsoft last generation. Sony boasts some of the most critically acclaimed franchises in the industry like Uncharted, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn and Marvel’s Spider-Man, just to name a few. However, Microsoft is making a huge push when it comes to first party development, acquiring studios like Obsidian and, most notably, Bethesda. So while Sony still has the edge at the moment, the tide may be turning in Microsoft’s favor, especially if the next Elder Scrolls game ends up being an exclusive.
Each company offers fairly similar subscription services, PlayStation Plus and Microsoft Game Pass. Game Pass gives players the most bang for their buck, as for $9.99 per month they will get instant access to a huge library of games, and many brand new games become available on Game Pass right at launch. PlayStation Plus can be bought in bulk for $60 a year and covers multiplayer capability, but only a couple of games per month come with it, and previous months are not available to new users. The new PlayStation Plus collection offers more games right away, but its selection is not nearly as expansive as Game Pass.
The controller is the area in which one console really separates itself from the other. PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller is an astounding piece of hardware. Its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback are hard to explain without just experiencing them for yourself, but they have the potential to add incredible immersion to the gaming industry.
The truth is, the frenzy of demand has created an urgency that the new consoles don’t truly deserve. Speaking of the PlayStation 5 exclusively, there are really only two notable games that are only available on it, Demon’s Souls and Astro’s Playroom. While they’re both great, the former is a tough-as-nails remake of a game from 2009 and the latter is an adorable platformer and tech demo that only lasts about two hours. In other words, if you haven’t been able to secure a PS5 yet, you haven’t actually missed that much.
True value is starting to come in the form of more prevalent next-gen upgrades, however. At the time of writing this, upgrades for God of War, Control and Nioh 2 were just released, and they really make a difference. Being able to play games from the previous generation in 4k at 60 frames per second has been a revelation, and if you actually have a monitor that can support it, some games can even run at 120 frames per second.
These upgrades, combined with the drastically improved load times, have revitalized many of the best games from the last few years. While getting a PS5 at launch wasn’t really essential, now is the time that the PlayStation 5 is beginning to feel like a genuine must-have.
The most essential piece of advice I could give is to follow multiple accounts on twitter that monitor the stock situation like the heroic technological hawks that they are. Retailers will drop stock with little to no warning, so following these accounts and having alerts turned on can give you the advantage you need to finally secure your console.
The most prominent figure in the quest for the PlayStation 5 is Youtuber Jake Randall. He tweets whenever new stock becomes available and has held several live streams, and in fact his live stream is how I got mine. If his pinned tweet is to be believed, he has helped nearly 32 thousand people “secure the bag.” Other helpful accounts include @PS5_Restockk and @ChitoGaminYT.
When stock does become available, it will likely only be available for a matter of seconds. The pressure is on, and if you have to spend your time entering all of your billing and shipping information, it will likely be sold out before you have the chance to finish. The retailers that are most likely to have stock available are Sony Direct (which will set up a queue before stock actually becomes available), Target, Walmart and GameStop. There are plenty of other retailers that could get some stock in however, so make sure you’re following those Twitter accounts!
If you are ready and waiting on a website the second stock becomes available, it still likely won’t be a smooth process. Their servers are likely being bombarded with hopeful gamers and opportunistic scalpers alike, so not everything is going to work exactly how you think it will.
For example, when I got mine on launch night from Sony Direct, I had gotten to check out and all of my info was ready to go, but every time I clicked to confirm the purchase, nothing would happen. I kept clicking and clicking, and finally it went through. The joyous adrenaline rush I felt at that moment was indescribable. Be warned though, it did cause a small issue with my debit card, causing it to be run four times for one console. My bank was on top of it and I didn’t even have to do anything, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
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