Sony’s latest console is more than a year old, but both models of the PlayStation 5 have repeatedly sold out. Supply chain issues have also contributed to a console shortage that has left countless would-be customers in the cold. Scalpers armed with bots are scooping up new stock in seconds as retailers struggle to weed them out and give genuine buyers a chance. If you’ve been trying and failing to get your hands on one, you’re not alone, but don’t lose heart.
We've pooled our advice here on which model you should buy, whether you need to upgrade now, and where to buy one. We've also added some tips to help you get your very own PS5.
Updated May 2022: We added advice for scoring a console on Amazon, info on restock events for subscribers at GameStop, Best Buy, and Walmart, and more tips.
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Which Model Should You Pick?
There are only two models of the PlayStation 5. The standard version costs $500, while the Digital Edition is $400. The former has a disc drive for physical game discs and can also play 4K Blu-rays. The Digital Edition omits the disc drive, so you will have to download all your games. That’s the only difference.
While that $100 savings may sound tempting, there are compelling reasons to buy the disc drive PS5. Once games have been out for a while, the disc version is usually cheaper. Plus, you can play your old PS4 discs on the new console, and you can resell PS5 game discs, which you can’t do with digital versions. That’s all before you consider the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-rays.
Should You Upgrade?
The lack of PlayStation 5 must-have exclusive games may give you pause. Most of the top titles that will land over the next few months are likely to have PS4 versions available. Don't feel like you'll miss out on games if you're perfectly happy with your existing PS4.
On the other hand, the PS5 improves on the PS4 in many significant ways, and you can get a deeper flavor of what it has to offer in our PS5 review. If you don’t already own a PlayStation 4, then the PlayStation Plus subscription for the PS5, which gives you access to a library of the top PS4 games like Fallout 4 and God of War as a part of your PS Plus membership, is a necessity.
Where to Buy the PlayStation 5
You can buy the PlayStation 5 directly from Sony or from a range of major retailers. We don’t usually know exactly when new stock will appear, but rest assured there are more consoles on the way. Here are some of the main places to keep an eye on:
Sony: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionAmazon: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionWalmart: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionBest Buy: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionTarget: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionGameStop: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionNewegg: PlayStation 5 Bundle and PS5 Digital BundleCostco: PlayStation 5 Bundle (membership required)B&H Photo: PlayStation 5 and PS5 Digital EditionSam's Club: PlayStation 5 Bundle (membership required)Adorama: PlayStation 5 and PS5 BundleRegister With Sony
Sony periodically lets "a limited number" of US customers register for the chance to buy a console. To be considered, you must register to buy directly at the PlayStation website and sign in with your PlayStation Network account.
According to Sony's FAQs, “Selection is based on previous interests and PlayStation activities,” though it's not clear what this means. Factors might include how long you've had an account, what subscriptions you have, and perhaps even the number of games you own. Whatever the criteria, invitations for those selected went out twice a week over the holidays.
If chosen, you receive an email with the date, time, and instructions for purchasing a PS5 console. But an invitation is not a guarantee that you will get one. It's important to note that these invitations are open for a limited time, and those selected may only buy a single standard or Digital Edition console (additional accessories are optional). The payment options currently listed are MasterCard, Visa, and Discover.
Sony does not inform you if you haven't been selected. You simply don't get an invitation email.
Tips to Boost Your Chances
Stock can become available without warning, but you have better things to do than refresh websites endlessly in hopes of snagging a PS5. Trust us: Even if you follow our advice, it's still a painful, aggravating process. You could have zero luck finding one. The best advice we can offer is to be patient and keep trying. Here are some tips to boost your chances of securing one.
Sign Up: Sign up for accounts with Sony and every retailer you’re tracking. Input and save your credit card information so that you can check out faster if a PS5 does pop up. If you have a PS5 in your cart but fail to check out in time, then save it in your cart for the next time it comes into stock. Some retailers also allow you sign up to receive an email notification when the console is back in stock.
Sony Direct Queue: Sony lets you can join a queue for a chance to buy a PS5, which is great because it has measures to block scalper bots. You need a PSN account, and it’s a good idea to enter address and payment information ahead of time. Once you join the virtual queue, you should get a wait-time estimate. Keep the browser window open, and do not be tempted to leave or you will lose your place. You may have to solve a captcha to prove you’re not a bot, so be ready. Unfortunately, there’s a chance you’ll wait only to be told it’s out of stock.
Amazon Tips: If you are trying to buy on Amazon, add a PS5 to your wish list, so you can add the console to your cart directly from the wish list and bypass the product page, which often crashes under the weight of desperate shoppers when a restock drops. During previous restocks, Amazon has given priority access to Prime members. While an improved chance at snagging a PS5 is not a good enough reason to sign up for Prime, these perks might be.
Restock Events for Subscribers: Several retailers offer priority access, or sometimes exclusive access, to some restock events in-store and online for their subscribers. For example, GameStop's PowerUp Rewards Pro at $15 per year, Best Buy's Totaltech at $200 per year, and Walmart Plus at $98 per year (or $13 per month with a month's free trial). We don't recommend signing up purely to increase your chances of getting a PS5, but each membership offers a range of other benefits that might tempt you.
Twitter Stock Alerts: There are various accounts on Twitter that tweet when PS5 stock lands. Big retailers will also sometimes tweet from official accounts about restocks. You’ll need a Twitter account and the app on your phone. Once you have followed an account, tap on the bell icon to get alerts when the account tweets. You’ll get some spam and ads for other things from some accounts. Here are a few that may be worth following: @mattswider, @Wario64, @PS5RestockAlert, @PS5StockAlerts, @iloveps_5, @PS5Drop, and @GYXdeals.
Consider Bundles: Some retailers mix new PlayStation 5 stock into bundles, selling the console with extra accessories or games. These bundles can be expensive, but if they include items you plan to buy, they might make sense. Bundles don’t tend to sell out as quickly or attract as many scalpers, so you have a better chance of snagging one.
Stock Trackers: Various websites and services track PS5 console stock across a wide variety of retailers. Try Stock Informer, NowInStock, or the OctoShop Chrome Extension. You can sign up and get alerts on various channels with these stock trackers, but you’ll need to react quickly when an alert pops up, because a lot of people use them.
Mobile Apps: If you are buying on a smartphone, it's worth installing your preferred retailer's mobile app. Using the app is generally faster and more stable than visiting the website in a mobile browser. If you know a restock is happening, you might increase your chances by trying the mobile app and a browser on your computer simultaneously.
Be Persistent: If you know that a fresh batch of PS5 consoles has come onto the market, don’t be discouraged by out-of-stock notices. Many retailers will release fresh stock in waves throughout the day, so it can be worth checking back periodically.
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