Those who were hoping to take their chances securing a PlayStation 5 in-store on launch day without a preorder will need to adjust their plans.
Sony announced today that all day-of launch sales will be conducted online. “No units will be available in-store for purchase on launch day,” said Senior Director of Content Communications, Sid Shuman. “Please don’t plan on camping out or lining up at your local retailer on launch day in hopes of finding a PS5 console for purchase. Be safe, stay home, and place your order online.”
This impacts both launch dates: November 12 for North America, Japan, Austalia, and New Zealand; and November 19 for the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world.
Shuman added that those who have already preordered for pick-up at local retailers should still be able to do so, and encouraged them to double-check their stores’ safety protocols.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing in most parts of the world, this is a wise call on Sony’s part. Retailers, including the EB Games at Yonge Street in Toronto, took flak for mishandling anticipated game releases at the start of the pandemic, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal. Sony is doing its part to protect its fans and its reputation by avoiding massive launch-day lines.
However, this will also likely cause problems for fans who were planning to take their chances in-person on launch day. The online marketplace for hot-ticket items like new consoles is a notorious wild-west situation, with opportunistic scalpers taking advantage of eager fans and holiday shoppers, and the long-lasting pandemic has only increased the virtual traffic to retailers.
Back in September, Sony apologized for the initial online presales for the PlayStation 5, admitting they “could have gone smoother.” Retailers sold out within minutes, leaving potential customers empty-handed mid-purchase. Those looking to purchase the Xbox Series X|S have encountered similar difficulties, while Nvidia was caught off-guard by the massive demand for their RTX 3080 graphics cards and had to manually cancel hundreds of orders placed by bots.
The PlayStation 5 officially launches in Canada a week from today. If you intend to get one, be safe, and good luck.
(At press time, EB Games Canada has not issued a response to Sony’s announcement.)