PS5 stock shortage: Tips will help you buy the console

(Image credit: Future)

Haven't secured a PS5 yet? Don't worry, you'll have more chances before the end of 2020. Sony said in a tweet that more consoles would be made available in the coming weeks. 

Since that tweet, we've seen the PS5 go in and out of stock on Sony's website as well as Walmart, Costco, Adorama and more. Unfortunately, snagging the console before they're out of stock has proven to be very difficult. 

If you've tried to secure a console in one of these "drops" before, then you know how tricky it is. If you haven't, well, you're in for a frustrating treat. I've put together some tips to try to mitigate your anger and, if you're very lucky, help score you a PS5. 

Maximize your Wi-Fi speeds

If your desktop or laptop has an ethernet port, connect it to your router for a hard-wired internet connection. This will ensure you have the fastest speeds possible so you can add the PS5 to your cart and checkout before stock runs dry. 

If you can't hardwire your connection, cozy up to your router — in general, the closer you are, the faster your speeds. 

Why does this matter? Obtaining a PS5 at Walmart is done on a first-come, first-served basis, and the difference between scoring the rig and just missing out could be a matter of milliseconds (or fractions of them). 

Come prepared

The last thing you want to do is have the PS5 in your cart then realize that Walmart doesn't have your payment or shipping info. That is a surefire way to lose out on the new console. 

Before the sale goes live (remember, 9pm ET), go into your account, add your payment information (with your billing address) and set the correct address as your preferred location for shipment. 

This way, you don't have to spend an extra second scurrying to find your wallet or remembering what the ZIP code is in the town you just moved to. Have all of this information set before you even try to buy the console. 

Be fast but be patient 

The F5 (refresh) key shortcut is your friend. Use it to refresh the PS5 product page (via the links above) as frequently as possible. Speed is key. Stop when you see a blue "Add to cart" button and press on that option as quickly as humanly possible.

You'll want to move through the checkout process without hesitation because getting the PS5 in your cart doesn't secure your purchase. You need to see the confirmation from Walmart to know for sure that you've completed the transaction. 

As important as it is to be quick, it's equally important to be patient. Walmart (or whichever site you're buying a PS5 at), will most likely crash at some point. And even if it doesn't, the servers will be so backed up that the dreaded loading wheel will spin for what feels like an eternity. 

At some point, you'll be met with an "Uh oh" webpage error that will make your heart sink. Don't be dissuaded. Keep trying. Keep refreshing the page until the item is in your cart. I hit multiple error pages before securing my own PS5 pre-order back in September. 

Sold out doesn't always mean sold out

Just because Walmart says the PS5 is sold out doesn't mean it won't reappear as in-stock a few minutes, or even seconds, later. In the most recent sale, the PS5 sold out immediately, then flipped between in-stock and out of stock for about 15 minutes. 

The console wasn't completely sold out until Walmart removed it from the site entirely. Yep, the product page disappeared. Until that happens, keep trying!

Pray to the gaming gods

You can follow my tips to the T, but I'll be honest, the odds of securing a PS5 are still slim. Not zero, but not great, either. There is simply far more demand than supply, and that will be true for the next few months at least. 

That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Getting a console online certainly beats waiting hours outside of a retail store during the height of a pandemic. 

Just don't be discouraged if you get the PS5 in your cart, or even reach the "Checkout now" page, only to be hit with a "The item in your cart is sold out" error. 

Try and try again

Don't get the PS5 today? It's OK, you'll get more opportunities. While these Walmart drops might feel like artificial methods for getting people onto the site, Sony has promised to supply more PS5 units before the start of 2021

There are no promises that the consoles will arrive before the holiday gift-giving season, but trust me, you or your child will be happy either way (you can read our PS5 review to find out why). 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.