The Xbox Series X and Series S consoles continue to fly off digital shelves, although not as quickly as the PS5. Target had an early Xbox Series restock on Thursday that still had some availability on Saturday. This followed a GameStop restock chock-full of expensive bundles that has since sold out.
Best Buy restocked its inventory on Monday, giving plenty of people a chance to get their hands on Microsoft’s new game consoles, and is currently sold out. We’re not sure which major retailer will be the next to restock, but there’s a good chance that there will be more coming directly from Microsoft’s store.
We know that avoiding a high price hike or being stuck with a costly bundle with accessories you might not want is just as important as finding an Xbox for sale in the first place. Below, we’ve shared a few tips to help you find the Xbox gaming console without the extra cost.
Why is the Xbox Series X so hard to find?
Essentially, Microsoft can’t get the materials it needs to make enough Xbox consoles to meet demand. As with the Sony PS5 and most PC video cards, there’s a chip shortage right now. COVID-19 slowed production for a lot of chip manufacturers for a while, and industry watchers currently don’t expect the issue to be entirely resolved until the end of the year.
As a result, Microsoft makes as many consoles as it can and distributes them among its retail partners. Each retail partner releases its available consoles in whatever way it deems appropriate. Most of the time, this means announcing ahead of time when you’ll be able to buy the console online and then releasing it for anyone to purchase.
In the last few weeks, these are the retailers with Xbox Series X stock:
Target, May 27: The console flew off the physical shelves as the retailer began selling Xbox Series consoles from stores for the first time since the pandemic started. GameStop, May 26: The video game retailer had multiple bundles available that came with games, controllers and gift cards.Best Buy, May 24: A large restock came and went.Walmart, May 20: There was a small restock, quickly sold out, but Walmart does save some consoles for the Xbox All Access program. Microsoft, May 17: This Xbox Series X restock happened through the new Console Purchase Pilot program, which you could only participate in if you were part of the Xbox Insiders program. More details on this below.
Expect more updates here as they happen.
A new era of Xbox is here.
What is the Console Purchase Pilot program?
Microsoft has made it possible for people who participate in the Xbox Insiders program to form a virtual queue that guarantees you will be offered a legit Xbox console at the regular price once one is available through Microsoft. The only way to participate in this very limited program is to own an Xbox already, so you can join the Xbox Insiders program and be invited to sign up for this Console Purchase Pilot.
At the moment, registration for the pilot is closed, but Microsoft says it will reopen the registration soon. While you wait, it’s probably a good idea to join Xbox Insiders.
How do I join the Xbox Insider program?
Microsoft’s internal program for giving fans early access to things it’s testing out offers a lot of neat things to poke around with, even without this early access program for buying a new Xbox. In order to join this program you need to be logged in to an Xbox with your own account.
1. Open the Xbox Store.
2. Search for Insider.
3. Select the Xbox Insider Bundle app.
4. Select Join when you open the app.
Nothing you do within the Xbox Insider program is permanent. If you decide you don’t want to be notified when test features are available, you can remove yourself from the Xbox Insider program at any time. The Settings page in the Insider Hub app on your Xbox will allow you to remove your Xbox from the program through the Manage Devices section. Just remove your Xbox, and the Insider program will stop.
How to increase your chances of getting an Xbox Series X when a restock happens
It can be a little chaotic, constantly refreshing the screen and hoping you see a checkout link. And as many can attest, it’s pretty painful to punch in your payment information only to see that the purchase can’t be completed because everything is already gone. Here are some of our tips:
Open multiple browsers: Got a laptop? A phone? Maybe a tablet? Use them all to try to make the purchase. Set yourself up ahead of time with multiple browsers open to the retail site of your choice and be ready to buy from all of them. Don’t give up: Many of these retailers have started releasing the consoles over the course of 30 minutes, to keep bots from buying them all and reselling them at a price increase. If you see everything is sold out after the first 5 minutes, keep refreshing because your chances probably aren’t gone yet. Make sure you have a confirmation email: There have been many reports of a purchase getting “stuck” and even though the website said the sale was complete no confirmation email arrived and then no Xbox arrived. Keep an eye out and make sure you actually have an Xbox Series X headed your way before celebrating. How to avoid Xbox Series X restock scams
Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks out there eager to take advantage of everyone trying to get an Xbox Series X. Here’s how to avoid the known scams:
Stay away from Twitter links: If you see something on Twitter about an Xbox Series X restock happening somewhere, your best bet is to go straight to the retailer instead of clicking a link. In many cases, those Twitter links have turned out to be scams.Only buy at the retail price: If someone is offering you an Xbox Series X for more or less than $500 or an Xbox Series S for more or less than $300, you should probably stay away. There are many of these sites offering “deals” or “bundles” that are frequently not actually worth it. Xbox Series X: Check inventory restock
Best Buy was the last retailer standing back in the preorder days, but now stands ready for your Xbox Series X purchase as inventory allows.
Amazon is selling both the Xbox Series X and the less expensive Series S from this product page.
This is Target’s product page for the Xbox Series X.
GameStop has in the past touted a “very limited number of Xbox Series X and S console bundles for purchase” but is currently sold out.
If you want to get the latest on the Xbox Series X, there’s probably nowhere better than Microsoft’s own Xbox Series X homepage. Here you’ll find the latest specs, announced game titles, details on the new controller and more.
Walmart does a solid job of noting availability windows for PS5 and Xbox on its Twitter feed. You might also want to visit the retailer’s Xbox landing page for both new consoles.
This is where you can purchase the Xbox Series X at Newegg when the retailer has inventory.
To be clear, we highly recommend waiting for inventory to appear at ordinary retailers, so you can buy an Xbox Series X at the regular retail price. But if you’ve decided you simply can’t wait another moment, the average Xbox Series X price on eBay is about $700.
Are you desperate by now? Are you willing to pay a premium of hundreds of dollars over the list price? Listen, we wouldn’t do this and we don’t recommend you do it, either. But if you want to take that path, StockX is a reputable eBay-style site that will let you buy and sell new Xbox and PS5 models — as long as you’re willing to pay upward of $600.
This story is updated frequently with the latest Xbox Series X inventory news.
Xbox Series X and Series S offer a fine-tuned, streamlined…
Get all the latest deals delivered to your inbox.
CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.