Update 9/22: Best Buy has made a post (opens in new tab) on its official site confirming that it will have an in-store console restock event on Thursday, September 23rd. Best Buy employees will hand out tickets for individual consoles starting at 7:30, which will guarantee ticket holders an opportunity to purchase that console. The post also allows you to find a participating store nearby.
Online PS5 and Xbox Series X restocks are commonplace enough that our colleague over at Techradar, Matt Swider, now dedicates a whole chunk of his Twitter feed to keeping track of them. But now, Matt’s reporting that Best Buy’s going to hold its first ever in-store PS5 and Xbox Series X restock event this Thursday. If this holds true, this would also be the first time you’d be able to find a PS5 in-store at any major non-club retailer in 2021.
What makes in-store restock events so exciting is that bots can’t just buy up all the stock just a few seconds after opening. You’ll still have to contend with resellers and line jumpers, of course, but at least in-person, you can give them the evil eye.
Swider’s sources tell him that we can expect more than 50 consoles per participating store, and he says he has proof that the consoles are being stocked directly at store locations. That last part’s unusual, since they usually go to regional warehouses.
Still, you can see Matt’s receipts here, cropped and scrubbed of identifying info to protect his sources.
Here are the inventory screens – cropped & masked to hide anything that could be tied back to my sources. Thank you for letting people know so everyone can plan out their week and... Beat the bots🥊🤖🥊⚠️NEVER EVER buy PS5 from Twitter users (they're ALL scams). pic.twitter.com/IjEl5uG4KHSeptember 20, 2021
The event process will work something like Best Buy’s recent RTX 3000 series GPU in-store sales, Swider’s sources expect. In other words, you’ll line up on Thursday morning outside of Best Buy, then managers will hand out tickets between 7 and 7:30am local time that you can trade in to make a purchase. You’ll then have to manually take your console home, since Best Buy hasn’t shipped consoles directly to customer doorsteps at all in 2021.
Also, you probably won’t be able to pre-purchase online and then claim your console in person. That would kind of defeat the point of the event, and while it’s possible (Target operates on a similar system), Swider hasn’t seen any talk of such a system yet.
Keep in mind, all of this information is still coming from anonymous sources. Swider’s urging readers not to start lining up at Best Buy yet, and instead wait until either he or Best buy can confirm the official ordering method for the event.
If things do proceed like Best Buy’s previous GPU events, though, then you’ll want to head in prepared. At his local Colorado Best Buy last month, our senior editor Jarred Walton saw 200 people show up for the event and many leave empty handed. The experience at that store was peaceful, at least, but that wasn't the case at every store. In New York, Swider says that the first 19 people his team saw in line were all resellers, and that they held spots for line jumpers to join them at the last second, pushing people buying for personal use even further back in the queue.
And we mean “pushing” literally. The line jumpers claimed to have always been there, which led to conflict, and Swider tweeting out that the line was “pure chaos.” Scenes like that might be why Best Buy and other stores haven’t hosted in-person console restock events this year. But it’s been 39 days since the last online console restock, and now we probably know why.