Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Have Been A Debacle So Far

Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Have Been A Debacle So Far
Image: Microsoft

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.

Screenshot: Best BuyScreenshot: Best Buy

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.

Screenshot: GameStopScreenshot: GameStop
Screenshot: GameStopScreenshot: GameStop

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.


  • I’m no IT expert but given how consistant the prkblems have been across major retailers I’d guess its just COVID driven demand compounded by a subsequent increase in rodents reselling with bots.

    It just might not be viable to set up enough capacity to do a fully online preorder and have it start at a prestated time.

    All i would suggest is that retailers (eg EB) should have staggered purchase opportitues in line with their existing customer rewards systems. So anyone with a level 5 ranking gets first go and so on- with one console per extabished account. MS could have offered preorders to people with existing XBL accounts first.

    That would have minimised rhe rush, stopped the scalpers and meant committed fans dudnt miss out.

    • I’ve lurked in Kotaku comments for years – your remark regarding EB and highest level members pre-order prioritisation has inspired me to create a login and respond – 100% agree with you.

      EB have lost a max level customer here, and yes, I’m bitter. All consoles up until this point I’ve sourced through them and scored them at launch, lucky I guess. All my trade ins (consoles, physical games and 5-6 iPhones over the years) went to them too.

      Carrots/points in the program mean squat, and highest level of membership that results from years of loyalty in preorders, trades and hardware actually mean bugger all apart from slight bump/increased % trade in rates.

      Thing is, customers are switching to digital in droves. Hardware is being offered almost ‘aaS’ (ie subscribe monthly to Gamepass+Xbox hardware) directly from SERVICE providers, and also the vendor. MS are selling a service, EB are selling a product.

      EB’s poor web/commerce platform, lack of scalability, lack of visibility and soon to be irrelevant business model have pushed me down the aaS path.

      Customer service to their loyal customers is pretty damn significant and key in times like these/post COVID world. Way to digitally transform EB!

  • I tried all day to get one from EB to no avail just could not check out on both drops. Gave up and went out to dinner and a mate called me about 6pm and said he just got one from EB. I logged in and got one instantly and told a few friends who were also successful.

  • Hmmm with this maybe we can all stop screaming at NVIDIA and Sony (and Microsoft if anybody is yelling, I haven’t heard much commotion yet) and just accept that in 2020 its REALLY hard to release something in a fair and orderly manner

  • advance notice, a set time, and links set up are the whole reason it was a debacle in the first place – all that does it allow the scalpers bots to know exactly when to go in and that crashes the system.

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