Two of this season's hottest holiday gifts — the Sony Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X — have been nearly impossible to find in stock online and in stores. Another incredibly popular video game console, the Nintendo Switch, has periodically been sold out as well.
But with more Black Friday sales coming up, shoppers may finally be able to get their hands on these coveted consoles. Big-box stores like Walmart and Target have published Black Friday ads indicating that they'll have more consoles available for sale, and retail experts anticipate that many other sellers will be restocking the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the days ahead.
Even so, if you're hoping to score a PS5 or new Xbox, be prepared to act quickly. These video game consoles tend to sell out as soon as they hit the shelves, and it hasn't been a good year for production. Companies like Sony and Nintendo are struggling to meet demand as they face a global shortage of computer chips and other hardware used to make consoles.
To make matters worse, your PS5 may be stuck on a cargo ship due to massive labor shortages and a supply chain crisis. Yet another problem is being caused by opportunistic online scalpers. People are strategically using bots to order several Playstation 5 consoles before selling them online for inflated prices on eBay or via third-party listings at Walmart and Amazon. We've seen listings for PS5 bundles at Amazon with asking prices in the neighborhood of $1,200 — more than double the console retail price of around $500.
Where to find Black Friday deals on PS5, Xbox and Nintendo Switch
Now that retailers have begun to publish Black Friday ads, shoppers can strategize how and when to look for the hot video game consoles on their household wish lists. Here's what we know about availability (and likely availability) for the PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch at a handful of the biggest electronics and gaming retailers.
Walmart's Black Friday ad
More than a year and over 13 million sales later, Sony’s Playstation 5 is still an extremely hot piece of tech. To attempt to meet that demand, Walmart is gearing up for a restock.
In its Black Friday ad, Walmart says it is restocking the PS5 and Xbox Series X during Black Friday week, and the consoles will be available online only beginning at 7 p.m. EST on November 22. The consoles will be sold for their regular retail prices of $499 each "while supplies last."
However, members of Walmart+ — a subscription service that costs $12.95 a month or $98 per year — get access to Walmart's Black Friday deals four hours before everyone else. According to Walmart's Black Friday ad, Walmart Plus members get first dibs, "every Black Friday deal included."
Physical Walmart stores may also have limited availability of these consoles, as well as the Xbox Series S ($399), when sales go live (at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.) on Black Friday itself. It's best to check with your local retailer to confirm ahead of time.
If you want to get your hands on the Nintendo Switch, the journey seems a lot easier. Walmart is currently selling several versions of the Switch console.
The limited-edition Animal Crossing version is currently on sale right now for $299.99, which is the regular retail price. You can snag the Nintendo Switch with a Mario Kart 8 digital download beginning Monday, November 22 at 7 p.m. EST (or earlier if you're a Walmart+ member) for $299.
Third-party sellers on Walmart are also listing the new Nintendo Switch with the high-end OLED screen for a little over $500.
For all of these consoles, availability may be an issue. Walmart is saying that stores may have as few as five consoles per location, and that availability online is "in limited quantities."
Target's Black Friday ad
Target's Black Friday sale kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 21, and according to the retailer's preview ad a bundle with the Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition and 3 years of Nintendo Online will be on sale for $299.99.
While Target's Black Friday ad doesn't mention the Playstation 5 or Xbox Series x consoles, it's likely these will be in stock while supplies last as we get closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Gaming sites have been reporting that Target warehouses recently received loads of PS5s, but that the consoles have yet to make their way to stores. Though Target has not confirmed this information, many analysts believe the retailer is planning a major Black Friday restock of the PS5 as well as the Xbox Series X.
These are all rumors, of course. Still, if you want to get your hands on the PS5 or Xbox Series X, you may want to keep your eyes on the bull’s eye and periodically check online about the inventory at your local Target store.
At the time of this writing, a search for the PS5 on Target's website pulled up a page reading, "consoles will be available once inventory is available" and "only available with contactless Drive Up or Order Pickup."
Last week, Best Buy restocked the Playstation 5 before quickly selling out. However, the restock event was exclusively open to members of Totaltech, a subscription service that costs $200 a year.
It’s possible that Best Buy will have these consoles and others available during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but the company has not made any official announcement yet. At last check, the PS5 and Xbox Series X were listed as sold out at Best Buy.
The Best Buy website lists the Nintendo Switch bundle with a digital download of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition and three months of Nintendo Online for $300 as "coming soon." When we looked, many versions of the Switch were sold out online, though you could look up possible available in stores near you. Y
It may be hard to buy the hottest video games consoles on Amazon, at least if you're hoping to pay a reasonable price. Amazon's most recent press release about its Black Friday sales event highlighted deals on TVs, toys, vacuums, Instant Pots, fashion, beauty products, Amazon devices and other electronics, but it made no mention of video game consoles.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles were listed as unavailable when we last checked on Amazon. However, third-party sellers were offering bundles that include one or other of these consoles plus assorted cables and accessories for well over $1,000.
As for Nintendo Switches, they appear to be in short supply at Amazon as well, and you'll probably have to pay above retail price to get one. For example, we saw a grey Nintendo Switch listed for just under $400.
When we checked, GameStop's website was listing the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X as sold out. But keep your eyes peeled for GameStop's Black Friday ad, which should be released soon with more details about availability and deals.
However, GameStop did readily have availability of the Nintendo Switch online, at the standard retail price of $299.99.