It’s been a very big day for the PlayStation 5, as we finally know the price, release date, and launch lineup for Sony’s next-generation console. While people are excited by Sony’s various announcements, the situation surrounding pre-orders has been something of a fiasco.
Sony confirmed the PS5 launch date and price during its reveal event, but a bigger surprise was that pre-orders were available … immediately. This led to a global race to secure the PS5 before retailers ran out of stock–and they did. It’s not a surprise that the system was a hot commodity but the issue for many was that Sony gave no warning about pre-orders.
Actually, they did, but the message was not consistent. Worldwide marketing boss Eric Lempel said back in July (via IGN) that Sony would be forthcoming and transparent about the pre-order details for the PS5 so people could plan and prepare. But that didn’t happen. Here’s Lempel in July: “I think it’s safe to say…we’ll let you know when preorder will happen. It’s not going to happen with a minute’s notice. We’re going to at some point let you know when you can preorder PlayStation 5,” he told Geoff Keighley. So, please, don’t feel like you have to go run out and line up anywhere until you receive official notice on how that will work.”
That plan seemingly went out the window, as various retailers around the world began accepting pre-orders immediately after the event. With no advance notice given to consumers, many were locked out of securing a console.
Shannon Grixti, a writer for the Australian website Press-Start, reported that local retailer EB Games had 75,000 PS5 units for pre-order at launch, and they sold out in about an hour. The retailer’s entire 2020 allocation has been sold through, Grixti said.
EB Games apparently had 75k PS5 units for launch, which sold out in about an hour. They’ve now sold through their entire 2020 allocation. Selling like absolute hotcakes. https://t.co/qUno3tyKSJ
— Shannon Grixti (@shancake_) September 17, 2020
Also frustrating some people is that Sony opened up a PS5 website in August where users could put their email address down to be one of the first to pre-order a PS5. However, these pre-orders don’t start until Friday, and there is no guarantee that you will be chosen.
Sony has finally sent emails for first chance to preorder a PS5 from their store. Subject title: “Your Exclusive Invitation to Pre-Order.” Preorder starts this Friday if you were selected pic.twitter.com/D8g55TssES
— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 17, 2020
People expressed their disappointment on Twitter, and Microsoft jumped on board to throw some shade at Sony, too. Microsoft told people weeks ago that Xbox Series X/S pre-orders would begin on September 22, and all that’s left to announce is the precise time. That information will be announced “soon,” Microsoft said in its social media post.
Microsoft’s tweet also points out that the Xbox Series X/S will have a “worldwide” launch across 36 countries on November 10. For comparison, the PS5 will launch on November 12 in seven markets: the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. A week later, starting on November 19, Sony will launch the PS5 in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and South Africa.
Whether or not the blame is on Sony or retailers for the PS5 pre-order problems doesn’t really matter–the end result is that a lot of people who wanted to pre-order the PS5 were not able to, or had a bad experience doing so, and that’s a bummer.
There were plenty of reports about people successfully ordering a PS5 but then getting stuck on the checkout page. Others reported that their banks contacted them to ask about fraudulent banking activity due to the suspicious-looking credit card activity. None of this is what you might call a positive consumer experience. It’s also worth noting that Microsoft may well run into similar issues when Xbox Series X/S pre-orders open, but the company has at least advised people on when pre-orders will begin so they can prepare.
Pre-order 👉 September 22
Worldwide launch in 36 countries 👉 November 10
Hype 👉 9000+
(don’t worry – we’ll let you know the exact time pre-orders start for you soon) pic.twitter.com/SLUrrtszyN
— Xbox (@Xbox) September 17, 2020
Star Wars: Rogue One writer Gary Whitta reacted to the PS5 pre-order situation on social media, writing, “No matter what, I think we can all agree that today’s pre-order rollout was handled terribly. An absolute sh** show.”
Congrats to those who snagged a PS5, good luck to those still in the hunt! No matter what, I think we can all agree that today’s pre-order rollout was handled terribly. An absolute shit show.
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) September 17, 2020
For more on PS5 pre-orders, check out GameSpot’s PS5 pre-order guide to help you find a console at retailers around the world.