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I’ve been tracking PS5 stock for an entire year – here’s how to actually get the PlayStation console

I’m about to give you the low-down on how you can secure one of the most coveted consoles in gaming history

Alex Lee
Thursday 19 May 2022 10:08 BST
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world for a PS5 stock hunter
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world for a PS5 stock hunter (iStock/The Independent)

I never would have thought that a year on from starting a PS5 restock liveblog, I’d still be here, scouring Twitter feeds and lists for any mention of the word PS5, feverishly refreshing retailer’s websites like an obsessed festival fanatic waiting for Glastonbury tickets to drop.

But, the ongoing global semiconductor shortage has led me on this Odyssean journey. For the past 365 days, I’ve been tracking PS5 drops day in and day out, posting the latest predictions, watching websites botch their drops and gaping in awe as Sony charters jumbo jets full of consoles into the UK to meet Christmas demand.

In spite of all that, trying to buy a console is still a mammoth task. Even though it’s been a year and a half since its launch, Sony is still struggling to make enough consoles to meet demand.

The company most recently revealed that it had failed to meet its sales target, shipping just 2 million PlayStation 5 consoles in the first financial quarter, down from the 3.3 million it shipped in the same quarter last year.

With the outlook still looking pretty grim, I want you to have every advantage over the scalpers. To give you a leg up, I’m about to reveal everything I’ve learnt while tracking restocks of the PS5 for hours on end over the past 12 months.

Read more:

Keep those stock alerts turned on

Waking up to the sound of PS5 stock alerts ringing in your ear isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world, but you need to be on the ball if you really want a console. While I’ll be posting about every single PS5 drop on our minute-by-minute stock tracking liveblog, there are a few Twitter accounts you’ll want to be following for the best chance of securing one.

Over the past year, Twitter stock trackers have come and gone. RIP @PS5Instant, who used to leak retailer drops with incredible accuracy. Armed with a fleet of bots, these Twitter accounts are constantly crawling retailer’s websites for even a whiff of a restock. The very second a retailer sets the console live on the website’s back end is when you’ll most likely see a tweet go out.

The most well-known Twitter stock tracker is @PS5StockAlertUK, who apparently has a couple of insiders in Argos, Smyths Toys and John Lewis & Partners. The @MSTVTweets PS5 stock tracker isn’t as famous, but frequently picks up the drops that @PS5StockAlertUK might miss.

Read more: PS Plus and PS Now merge to create all new three-tier PlayStation service

You’ll want to turn on Twitter alerts on your phone by hitting that little bell icon inside the app. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll be woken up at 3am, but that’s the life of a PS5 hunter.

Know your retailers

There’s a science to copping a PS5, and it all stems from knowing how and when a retailer likes to drop the console. Some retailers are utterly predictable – Very likes to restock on a Tuesday morning, while Amazon enjoys dropping consoles on a Wednesday and Game tends to restock the PS5 between Tuesday and Thursday with most retailers restocking once every four weeks.

You’re unlikely to see a restock in the afternoon, the evening or – barring ShopTo who actually does enjoy dropping stock on a Saturday and a Sunday – at the weekend. With some retailers, you’ll want to register your interest ahead of time – notably with PlayStation Direct, who sends out an exclusive invitation the afternoon before a drop (if you’re lucky), or the BT Shop, though you’ll need to be a BT Broadband customer.

Read more: The upcoming PS5 games to expect in 2022, from Sniper Elite 5 to Forspoken

In any case, I always recommend creating an account on each retailer’s website ahead of time. It makes checking out quicker when you do eventually get to the order page. This is incredibly important for Amazon restocks, who insists that every customer is signed up to Amazon Prime if they want to buy a PS5.

I’ve compiled all the latest information on each retailer in my main PS5 restock hub, which is constantly being updated. I’ve built up a historical database of every single drop since 2021, which is how I make my restock predictions. Retailers are predictable, and you can use that to your advantage.

Perseverance is key 

Sometimes, weeks go by without a PS5 restock. The first three months of 2022 were dreadful, and the act of hunting down consoles was downright demoralising. But as Confucius said: “it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop”. Patience and perseverance is key! Still, that hasn’t stopped me from picking up a deep disdain for certain retailers who never would have phased me before.

Read more: EA Sports ends partnership with Fifa

Argos is the bane of any PS5 hunter’s existence. The retailer frequently drops consoles in the dead of the night, with its website glitching out so that only a handful of people in certain locations are able to buy a console. Last year, customers had to use two devices just to get a PS5 into their trolley, and Android users were at an advantage. But if you spent an hour consistently refreshing the page, your efforts will have paid off.

Then there are retailers like AO, who stops customers from putting the console into their basket whenever it’s website receives too much traffic. It annoyed customers so much that they found a workaround to get the console into their basket by editing the website’s code in Google Chrome – more details on our main PS5 guide.

Delisting stock when demand is too high is also a common tactic employed by retailers such as Argos, Smyths Toys and Very. All three toggle the PS5 back in stock once the traffic dies down, that’s why it’s worth consistently refreshing the page for a couple of hours, rather than looking at the website during the first five minutes, getting annoyed and sulking off.

Read more: The best Gotham Knights pre-order deals on Playstation 5, Xbox series X/S and PC

And we haven’t even mentioned Asda, who sometimes force customers to check out via their wish list, or John Lewis & Partners, who restocks on average once every two months for about 30 seconds at 7am. It might take a while to get a PS5 due to some retailer’s inadequate systems, but eventually you’ll succeed.

Some of you are at an inherent disadvantage

If you’re seeking the PS5 digital edition console, you’re at a vast disadvantage to your peers hunting down the disc edition version of the machine. While it’s certainly cheaper (£359.99 vs £449.99) and just as powerful, restocks are also far less common. For every digital edition PS5 restock we see, there are around five disc edition drops.

When Eurogamer spoke to sources at various retailers before the console first launched in 2020, it was told that retailers had been allocated around 25 per cent digital edition consoles and 75 per cent disc edition consoles. By the look of things, that hasn’t changed. We still see fewer digital edition drops than on the main PS5 console with the disc drive. Even then, you’re most likely going to see the digital edition console bundled with PS5 accessories and PS Plus subscription gift cards, bringing us neatly onto our next point.

Set aside extra money for a bundle

It’s become a disastrous trend over the last few months, but PS5 bundles are the dominant force these days. Only a handful of retailers – Amazon, Smyths Toys, Argos, PlayStation Direct and John Lewis & Partners – still sell the PS5 on its own. Frustratingly, these retailers don’t drop the console on a frequent basis, and if they do, they’re usually a bit chaotic.

Read more: 17 best PS5 games from Gran Turismo 7 to Horizon Forbidden West

Currys and Game pretty much only ever sell bundles these days. During the most recent drop at Currys, the cheapest bundle cost £749.99. You will want to budget for this excess cost when buying a PS5, because each console will most likely be packaged together with games and accessories, allowing the retailer to sell the console for a premium price.

TL;DR: Here’s what I’ve learnt tracking PS5 stock

Buying a PS5 takes time and a whole lot of effort. You’re going to have to prepare yourself for potentially early morning drops if you truly want a standalone console. I’ve learnt the most useless things about retailer’s websites that only a PS5 stock tracker will know. Amazon on Wednesdays and Very on Tuesdays, for instance, and that mantra will probably never leave my brain. But it’s all been worth it, knowing I’ve helped so many readers secure a PS5. But will the drought continue?

For now, it seems so, but the situation is getting better, and I’ll be here tracking restocks of the PS5 until the only words that come out of my mouth are “PS5 in stock, PS5 in stock, PS5 in stock”, ad infinitum.

Voucher codes

For discounts on gaming products and offers on consoles, try the links below:

After Sony’s elusive PlayStation 5 console? Here’s where to buy a PS5, restock updates and how to pre-order in the UK

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