Despite advance notice, a set time, and links set up for all of the retailers who would be selling the Xbox Series X and Series S today, trying to pre-order Microsoft’s next-gen console has been a massive headache.
Pre-orders in the U.S. were set to start at 11:00 a.m., which is also about the time when store pages for the Xbox Series X across the internet, including Microsoft’s own, began crashing. Target would let you pre-order the console but then said your cart was empty when you tried to check out. Walmart seemed to be a go, but, by the time I was able to fill out my shipping and payment information, it said the console was sold out.
GameStop instituted a queue, telling people not to refresh the page and that they would automatically get a chance to pre-order when their time came. Eventually that page crashed, too.
Microsoft announced today’s specific pre-order start times last Thursday, complete with a list of direct links to retailers’ store pages for the next-gen consoles. Even with that heads-up, or maybe even because of it, trying to pre-order the Xbox Series X and S has been just as much of a mess as the PS5 at the moment.
“Don’t worry – we’ll let you know the exact time pre-orders start for you soon,” Microsoft tweeted last Wednesday in an apparent dunk on Sony after the chaotic scramble to get a PS5 began. Now Xbox hype-man Larry Hryb is tweeting out random links to store pages with things like, “Sam’s Club has X’s in stock (as of 12:12 p.m. ET).”
While more orderly at the start, the process for locking in a Series X or S hasn’t been any easier. Maybe it’s bots. Maybe it’s the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic we’re living through. Maybe it will all be sorted by the time the consoles release on November 10.