[Update November 19th] Sony has successfully launched their PlayStation 4, promising healthy stocks through the end of 2013. I've also heard that stores could get restocked as early as this week. It makes sense that Microsoft's Xbox One launch might also draw your attention to local retail shelves on Friday. I spoke with managers from local stores in California's Bay Area and some said that their numbers are representative of many stores around America. I've included notes from those conversations in the retail listings below. Just look for [11/19] after clicking on your retailer below.
If you have tips on how to find an Xbox One or PS4 in Europe or Canada this holiday season, let us know in the comments of this post or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Click one of the retailers below for information specific to each. If the retailer has an (EU) next to it, we've added information for European gamers looking to find a next-gen console before christmas.
Game (EU) – Base.com (EU) – SimplyGames.com (EU)
[Update November 11th]: We got more tips from readers on how launch day will play out at Best Buys across America, including how you can secure a PlayStation 4 on launch day without a preorder. We've also added more information on European Amazon.com stocks and where to find next-gen consoles in Europe.
[Update 3]: Even more information on Costco's next-gen console stock comes from our commenter Spiders23 who spoke with a manager at a nearby Costco Wholesale warehouse. Check out the update on Xbox One and PS4 stock allotments at Costco below.
[Update 2]: Reader worflead6 let us know what Costco's PS4 bundle will have and that it'll be priced at just below $500. Scroll down for the full description and all of our tips on how to find an Xbox One or PS4 before Christmas.
[Update]: Readers ytz and draftling provided new tips in the comments to increase your chances of getting an Xbox One or PS4 sometime in the near future. Check them out below:
[Original]: Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware has been available for preorder for some time, but with only weeks to launch don't think you'll snap up another guaranteed-on-day-one console unless you're willing to spend over list price on eBay.
Despite the scarcity of stock at the retailers below, I've also got tips for savvy shoppers hoping to score one of the hot consoles after launch, but in time for gift-giving in December. Let's look at
five six nine of the most popular games retailers:
Amazon has had preorders open for Xbox One and PS4 perhaps longer than other retailers but both consoles are currently unavailable. The best way to get your hands on a next-generation console shipped directly to you from Amazon is to sign up for e-mail alerts for each console. Put your e-mail down and Amazon will send you a notification when stock returns for purchase.
[Update 11/11]: Reader zzzzzzzz comments that Amazon UK, Amazon France, and other Amazon sites in the European region still have PlayStation 4 bundles available for preorder that will ship in time for Europe's launch day, November 29th.
[11/19]: Amazon has many independant sellers offering PlayStation 4 bundles for above retail value, but watch these prices over the next few weeks. If Sony really has the holiday stock, even second hand sellers could come within a reasonable price for "gotta have it" holiday urges.
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Walmart's website says that both Xbox One and PS4 launch bundles are sold out, but America's biggest retailer will certainly receive more stock in the weeks following launch. Some of this stock has already been preordered under the condition that customers were OK with receiving their console after launch but by a certain date. If you're willing, you can look out for another one of these opportunities or become best friends with the people working at your local Walmart's electronics department.
Because many Walmart stores are open 24 hours a day, you'll want to wander back to the electronics department no matter what time you're shopping. If you're lucky you could walk back there as cases of next-gen consoles are being taken off the delivery truck just days until Christmas.
[11/19]: The Super Walmarts in my area said that they were out of PlayStation 4s and didn't expect to get any more stock until the day before Thanksgiving. Only one manager reported that his store would have "about 30" units in stock. No word on whether they are Day One units or regular units.
Commenter Zach also offers this advice for Walmart shoppers:
Walmart trucks are unloaded starting at 4pm. So, if you wanted a next-gen console "straight" from the struck, the BEST time to check at Walmart is around 6:30-7:00pm. Source: Walmart ICS Associate. Side note: My Walmart has 3-6 cases of Xbox One consoles sitting in the security room.
Head to Best Buy's website and the retailer plainly states that they no longer have Xbox One or PS4 hardware available for preorder, but I worked at Best Buy for several years and I know from experience that the retailer will get more units in stock over the weeks following launch. Check with your local Best Buy early and often. Many of the employees will be very friendly and explain their stock situation willingly.
Call your local Best Buy and ask about next-gen consoles. Call every day if you're really desperate. Get to know the people stocking Best Buy shelves with games and DVDs and CDs. The media department is a little segmented but many of those guys work closely together. Also, watch for Best Buy's Sunday ads in your Saturday newspaper. The ad will state whether your local Best Buy is guaranteed to be restocked and will often say exactly how many units the stores are guaranteed to have when they open on Sunday.
The trick here is that Best Buy stores will receive stock and hold them for the Sunday ad. If you're really good friends with the salesperson in the video game department, they might sell you a console ahead of Sunday so long as they're able to meet the required number on Sunday. If you're going to Best Buy on Sunday morning to get one of the promised consoles, be sure to get their really early as many others will be ready and waiting in line.
[Update]: Reader ytz shares that your local Best Buy might still have preorder cards available for Xbox One or PS4 hardware. Head to a store nearby and check the gaming displays for cards offering preorders. Grab one and take it to the register to secure your next-gen hardware ahead of launch. ytz says that his local BB only had Xbox One cards left so you might be too late depending on the demand in your area for a PS4.
[Update 11/11]: One reader who currently works at a Best Buy in the Minnesota area wrote in to inform us that his store will have over 100 PS4s on launch day and that the average available for those without preorders in the area is between 30 and 40 units. This means even if you don't have a preorder, your local Best Buy might offer a decent shot at picking up a PS4 on November 15th if you don't mind camping out or getting up early enough.
This Best Buy insider also reminds us that the ticket system will be in use at Best Buys (likely across the country). The ticket system means if you're at the front of the line when Best Buy employees show up for work, you'll get a ticket that will hold your console all day. That's been my experience working at Best Buy and it makes it easy to huddle out all night playing a portable game system before you grab your ticket, go eat breakfast, and come back to get your console after the rush has left.
[11/19]: Best Buy should have a few more Xbox One units available in addition to those units already preordered at each store. Check with your local Best Buy for specifics on stock and remember our advice above! Be nice to your local Blue Shirts and they'll help you out with inside tips. I called three stores near me and each reported 5-10 units in addition to those for preorders.
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Just like the other retailers detailed here, GameStop says all Xbox One and PS4 hardware has been preordered in advance of launch. This might not actually be true, so check with your local store. They might have an extra unit available for preorder or they might have had someone else cancel their own preorder.
Be nice to your local GameStop associate. Preorder stuff you know you're going to get anyway and talk gaming news with them when it's appropriate (like when there's not a really long line behind you). If you get to know your local GameStop manager or game adviser well enough, they might give you the inside track or call you when they get more PS4 or Xbox One units in stock.
[Update 11/11]: GameStop's European divisions are still taking preorders for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, but there's no guarantee that you'll have your console by launch. The best plan of action here is to get your order in now so that there's still a chance you could receive your PS4 or Xbox One before Christmas. If you discover that you won't get your console before Christmas or you find it available elsewhere, you can cancel your online preorder.
[11/19]: A GameStop manager near me said that GameStop stores nationwide should have "5 or 6" Xbox One units above the number of consoles preordered at each store. This should hold true at least in metropolitan areas, but head into your local store and ask directly if you plan on walking in on launch day.
Another tip for gamers looking to grab an Xbox One on Friday. Folks started lining up for the midnight launch as early as 9am the day before PlayStation 4 landed, so maybe try to get off work early and get dinner delivered.
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Target's website says that next-gen consoles are available in store but PS4 and Xbox One hardware is sold out online meaning you won't preorder from Target's website any time soon. Target also does the Sunday ad trick where stock is held for a promoted Sunday rush, just like Best Buy.
Be nice, call frequently, and you just might strike gold and score an Xbox One or PS4 from your local Target before Christmas. Maybe you should take advantage of their Buy 2 Get 1 Free next-gen games offer.
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[Update]: Reader draftling adds that Costco might be a viable option for those who haven't gotten a preorder in on their most-wanted next-gen console. I've previously bought a GameCube bundle at Costco, but that was many, many years ago. If you can't find a console on launch day or the lines just look too crazy on PS4 or Xbox One morning, try a Costco near you and check the front of the store. You'll be getting a controller and a game with your console but with so many retailers offering bundles it'll be the complete package for a wholesale price.
[Update]: Reader wolflead6 comments that Costco's PS4 bundle includes the console, two controllers, and one year's subscription to PlayStation Plus (which you need to play online with your PS4) for $489.99.
[Update]: Spiders23 writes in the comments:
They will be getting between 5-100 consoles per store according to the warehouse manager I spoke to. Big warning though, during the Wii sales when Costco last started carrying a launch day console employees purchased them all for themselves before store opening.
There is a way to mitigate this in a way, if your Costco is known for being sketchy and give corporate a call about it and they will drop a reminder memo that the consoles are for customers not employees first.
They do not have official preorders, some managers may choose to take names down.
[Update 11/11]: UK video game shop Game is still taking PS4 and Xbox One preorders online, but if possible you should talk to customer service to figure out when your order will ship and if it will arrive before Christmas. As is the case with GameStop (EU), it might be best to place your order and then cancel later so that your spot in the supply chain isn't lost due to any delay on your part.
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[Update 11/11]: Base.com sell video games, accessories, consoles, and obviously next-gen Xbox One and PS4 consoles. Currently Base.com continues to offer preorders on PS4 and Xbox One hardware through their website, but you'd be smart to speak with customer service to ensure your delivery is made before it's too late.
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[Update 11/11]: SimplyGames.com also serves gamers in Europe, but listings on their website should naturally caution eager consumers looking to snap up a PS4 or Xbox One before the holidays. For example, on PS4 listings SimplyGames.com writes "PLEASE NOTE – we have now SOLD OUT of all of our allocated stock for the release date of 29/11/13. All current orders are secure and will be delivered on the day of release."
Obviously, you can roll the dice and place an order in the hopes that it arrives before Christmas, but as was suggested with Base.com and GAME, speaking with customer service can put your fears to rest or help you figure out if you should order your next-gen console somewhere else.
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Do you have tips for these retailers or where to find an Xbox One or PS4 console after launch? Share with us! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below with your own shopping tips.