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Video Game Holiday Shopping Guide: Where Can You Find a New Console?

New consoles are still extremely hard to find. If you want to get one for a reasonable price before the holidays, you need to start using these tips right away.
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You might be considering grabbing a new gaming console as a Christmas present for your loved ones. After all, the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles launched last year, while this year saw the release of the new OLED model of the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a new console easily.

The past year’s extremely high demand for consumer electronics is worsening bottlenecks in the global shipping industry. This had led to a chaotic experience for people trying to buy new consoles. When restocks of the PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive, they rapidly sell out online.

What can you do to increase your chances of acquiring one of these consoles in time for the holidays?

PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5
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The PS5 has been the face of the global supply issues over the past 18 months and counting. The highly anticipated console launched in November of 2020, but it’s still extremely hard to find. Sony’s decision not to sell PS5 consoles in physical stores during its initial launch window drove potential buyers online. Resellers further constrained supply by using automated scripts to buy up numerous consoles as soon as they were posted online.

Shoppers who want a reliable way to purchase a PS5 can turn to secondhand sites like eBay, where they might find a PS5 console for much higher than MSRP. The digital-only PS5 has a retail price of $400, while the version with a disc drive is $500. On eBay, it’s not uncommon to see $500 markups to those prices.

As the holidays draw closer and shoppers become more desperate to find systems in time, these secondhand prices are unlikely to decrease. If you don’t feel like spending $1,000 on a console, though, you do have options.

The first method is to sign up for a queue to purchase a PS5 directly from Sony. This website has the details, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to buy a console. Notably, shoppers will need to have a PlayStation Network account, which is free to sign up for. Additionally, direct sales from Sony are limited to customers in the US, and each PSN account can only purchase one PS5.

The second method is a bit more involved. Shoppers can find Twitter accounts that alert people to restock notices for various websites. Turning on Tweet notifications for these accounts gives buyers an opportunity to jump on a restock before it disappears. Once again, this method isn’t foolproof. It’s tough to beat automated scripts that purchase items as soon as they become available.

Recently, some retail locations have begun to offer in-store stock of PS5 consoles. In late September, Best Buy announced that it would sell PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles at 300 physical locations. This event brought out extremely long lines, but many shoppers were able to finally get their hands on the console they wanted.

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X
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The Xbox Series X and the Series S have also been extremely difficult to find. Mirroring the PS5, Xbox Series X/S systems are available on secondhand sites like eBay for a considerable markup in price. The Series X, which has an MSRP of $500, can be found on eBay for nearly double that.

The Series S, meanwhile, hasn’t seen markups quite that extreme. The Series S has a retail price of $300, thanks to its lack of a disc drive and inability to render 4K graphics. As such, the smaller Xbox console can be found on secondhand sites for a more modest markup, making it around $400.

The Series S might be the simplest option for many holiday shoppers due to its lower price and more plentiful availability. If you’re really looking to buy a Series X for MSRP, however, the same tips from the PS5 apply: turn on notifications for stock tracking Twitter accounts and be ready to refresh the web pages of online retailers.

OLED Nintendo Switch  

Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo

The newest model of the Nintendo Switch sports a big, gorgeous OLED screen. Unsurprisingly, it’s been a bit difficult to find in stock. That being said, it’s not as elusive as the PS5 or Xbox Series X. With a bit of patience and some luck, you can find the OLED Switch in stores.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have been selling the OLED Switch, though restocks have sold out quickly. The console’s MSRP, $350, makes it very attractive for resellers to buy in bulk. Secondhand sites like eBay show the console selling for as much as $500.

As with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, a good way to find the OLED Switch in stock is to turn on notifications for a restock-based Twitter account. From there, you’ll just have to trust your ability to swiftly navigate checkout on an online storefront.

Another option is to stay aware of the restock timing at physical game retailers like GameStop or Best Buy. Typically these restock notices are posted on the same accounts that track online stock notices. In addition, restocks on the OLED Switch have been consistent since its early October release. The bottom line is that patience and persistence will both help you find the new hybrid console for MSRP.