We’ve had two pretty messed up video game pre-order snafus in the last week or so, with both the PlayStation 5 and RTX 3080 selling out in minutes, leaving many gamers upset and empty-handed—while resellers chortled about how many units they were able to scoop up.
Hopefully tomorrow’s Xbox Series X|S pre-orders will go better. In an effort to help you, dear readers, get your hands on a new next-gen system tomorrow morning when pre-orders go live tomorrow, I’ve written out this buying guide.
It includes links to various retailers’ pages for the Xbox Series X and Series S, though some retailers don’t have links available yet, and others appear to be placeholders. Some have pages for the Series X but not the Series S.
I’ll update the links section of this post as more become available, so stay tuned.
Below the list of retailers I’ve also written out some helpful tips for anyone looking to pre-order. Sinceyou’ll be competing against bots—and potentially overwhelmed servers—being prepared is essential. That means getting up early if you’re out on the West Coast.
Here’s where to find an Xbox Series X|S tomorrow morning when pre-orders go live:
- The Microsoft Store
- Microsoft’s All Access Program
- Best Buy
- Target (Series X)
- Target (Series S)
- Sam’s Club
Here are the retailers in various regions offering the All Access program (see below for details):
- United States (8AM PT): Best Buy, GameStop, Microsoft Store, and Walmart
- Australia (8AM AEST): Telstra
- New Zealand (8AM NZST): Spark
- UK (8AM BST): GAME and Smyths Toys
- Denmark (9AM CEST): Elgiganten
- Finland (9AM CEST): Gigantti
- Norway (9AM CEST): Elkjøp
- Sweden (9AM CEST): Elgiganten
There is no guarantee these days that you’ll be able to get your hands on any shiny new piece of tech when it comes out, let alone snap up a pre-order. This was proved in no uncertain terms bythe disastrous pre-order opening salvos for both the RTX 3080 graphics card from Nvidia and Sony’s PlayStation 5. But there are a few ways you can better prepare yourself so that you’re ready to go, especially since we know that pre-orders will go live at 8 am PDT / 11 am EDT on September 22nd.
There is, of course, the chance that a retailer will break embargo (though Microsoft has warned of retribution if they do) so if you want to be extra sure to get an Xbox Series X|S console, make sure to login earlier and start scouring the internet. One Twitter account you should follow for gaming deals isWario64. If and when pre-orders go live any earlier than advertised, this account will almost certainly let you know. Tuning back into this post can also be helpful, as I’ll be updating it Tuesday morning with any new information, links and so forth.
If you have an account with any of these retailers, make sure you’re already logged into it before pre-orders go live. Have your payment info saved and/or make sure you’re logged into PayPal if that’s your preferred method of payment. Some people say that you should use store pickup if it’s available at brick-and-mortar stores also, as this is potentially more reliable. The only downside to that option is having to go to an actual store, something many people are trying to avoid these days thanks to COVID-19.
Make sure you’re on the fastest machine you own also. I generally think online shops are more reliable on computers than on phones (and it’s often easier and faster to type with a keyboard than a touch-screen) but if your phone is your most reliable device, use that. Sites will almost certainly be crashing or slowed down and you want every advantage you can get (including a fast internet connection).
After that, it’s all luck. The PS5 was selling out within minutes (or faster) at some retailers. This is largely thanks to resellers who use bots to snag up as many consoles as possible and then sell them at outrageous prices on eBay and elsewhere. Purchasing via Microsoft’s All Access program could be one work-around here. It’s also an excellent deal. Through All Access you can get the Series X for $34.99/month and the Series S for $24.99/month with 0% APR financing. This price includes an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (bundling Game Pass and Xbox Live With Gold) for two years, and is normally $14.99/month.
Still, there are no guarantees you’ll be able to pre-order an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X Tuesday or prior to their November 10th launch. If that’s the case, you’ll simply need to buy later—and frankly, the best advice I can give to most gamers who don’t absolutely need the shiniest, newest gear is to wait. Certainly don’t buy from price-gougers. There simply won’t be that many launch titles that justify a next-gen console in 2020. Waiting until 2021 (or later) is a totally reasonable option.