The Next-Generation Pre-Order Process Was Terrible And Needs To Go

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Raise your hand if you wanted to pre-order an Xbox Series X/S or a Playstation 5? Raise your hand if the pre-order process being atrocious stopped you from doing that? Good, that sounds like a majority of you. I managed to get my Xbox pre-order, but only after going through the gauntlet of almost ten different sites and getting lucky seeing a link to buy a “bundle” for the console, an Elite controller, and three months of Xbox Live. This is not how this process is supposed to go.

The days of camping outside a Gamestop, Target, Walmart, or wherever in person should be long gone. Sure, there’s a nostalgic feel of console releases of yesteryear to get that console right away. But this is 2020, yes, that year might make some people cringe, but we should be able to have a “pre-order process” go smoothly. That means websites should be set up for the amount of traffic. Or how about just doing a normal pre-order process more than a month in advance of the release?

When the Playstation 4 was still in pre-orders, I walked into my local Gamestop, and paid for the whole thing. Now we’re seeing Gamestops only getting 6-12 consoles for the launch and some of those are going to employees before customers can get them. Here’s about how the process this time around went for me.

As A Consumer, This Might’ve Been The Worst Time I’ve Had

I woke up bright and early at 7:30am. Of course, had to be up early for the 8:00am pacific pre-order time. After the debacle of the PS5 process, you’d think that websites would have more protections against bots and such for the Xbox process. Let’s run down all the websites I had loaded up.

Microsoft Official Store

Died immediately.

Amazon

Died immediately.

Best-Buy

I don’t think they even had pre-orders up? Not sure on this one, it didn’t work for me.

Target

The pre-order button never ended up working.

Walmart

I somehow got the Xbox in my cart, got through payment, and then when I clicked “place order”?

Sold out.

Gamestop

They had the right idea! Put all the prospective customers into a queue, and dole them into the website to buy the console. Holy crap, what a good idea. Except it didn’t work. It put me from the queue into the site early, and I couldn’t order the console. Then, by the time this was over with, it was too late.

Frustrations Abound

I know that the console is going to be available later in the year (hopefully), and Microsoft and Sony will be able to meet demand for the Holiday season. But it’s still extraordinarily frustrating to see tons of other people who didn’t end up getting a pre-order. It’s an underlying issue with this whole console launch. COVID-19 is a thing. It’s affecting supply chains and making things slower. To counteract that, Microsoft and Sony knew that would be an issue. Why not have pre-orders for the consoles open in March or April? Then they know how much demand there is for each one and can produce units to meet that demand.

It shouldn’t have been this way. Everything about this process was weird and frustrating. Why did it take both companies this long to release all this information that they probably knew about months ago? Was it to hype the consoles up? I’m pretty sure that we’ve had tons of consoles released in the past that, besides the Sega Saturn in the US, had plenty of run-up time to get hyped up.

Did you end up securing one of the two next-gen consoles? If you didn’t, what’re some of your most frustrating retail/online stories about it?

For more on the Xbox Series X, Playstation 5, or any other general pop culture, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.

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