I'm not prone to boasting, but I just managed to get a PS5 without waking up early to see if Amazon had got new units in or staying glued to PS5 restock trackers for the latest news. In fact, my approach was so easy I forgot I was doing it partway through.
To avoid keeping you in suspense too long, my trick was winning the PS5 Priority Pass draw held by British electronics store Currys PC World. So no, this isn't a secret guaranteed trick that will let you get ahead of the millions of other gamers wanting a console. However, even ignoring the fact I got lucky, I would still argue this is an underappreciated way to source a PS5, at least for certain types of buyers.
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At the start of this year, I had decided I wanted to buy a PS5 in time for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, which meant I had plenty of time before the June release date to get lucky with finding a PS5 in stock. Unfortunately, after a month of trying the hard way, I gave up. Waking up and checking all the big U.K. gaming and department stores for new units, or regularly checking Twitter for the latest news, became exhausting quite quickly.
How I got my PS5
Therefore in February, I settled for entering Curry's PS5 VIP Pass draw and leaving it there. Sure I still felt the pressure to get my hands on the console within my self-imposed deadline, but I'm sure we all agree that as much as we all love games, they're never worth losing your head over. Entering draws like this means you still have some irons in the fire when it comes to finding PS5s to buy, but it lets you take a break to keep your head straight.
Curry's doesn't give odds for how likely you are to win the draw, likely because it depends on how many entrants it has in the system. It doesn't say how many consoles it offers with each set of ballots either, but perhaps it's for the best that you don't know how small your chances are. The only conditions are that you're a U.K. resident, are over 16 years old and can only enter once.
If you do happen to win, the process of getting your hands on a PS5 is more complicated than you might expect. After receiving your email notifying you have been drawn, you have 72 hours to enter a code into a special area on Curry's site, to make sure you're still interested. A few days later you get a call to confirm your address and any accessories you may want, another call a few days after that to sort out payment and then finally a delivery notification. In total, it took about ten days from being informed I'd won to actually receiving the console. It had been around two and a half months since I'd signed up for the draw, for the record.
The US should follow UK's lead
Aside from Curry's, the other U.K. online store that has offered ballots for the PS5 or Xbox Series X is Box. Unfortunately I can't find any sign of major U.S. retailers doing the same thing. Perhaps Best Buy, Walmart et al. need to be persuaded to follow the example of their British counterparts here.
The major flaw in trusting in a lottery instead of restock updates is that is that if you can guarantee you'll be online and ready to hit the Buy button when new consoles appear, you can get your hands on a PS5 much faster than waiting and hoping for the next lottery draw. However, even this more hands-on approach, while kind of thrilling, doesn't always have great odds either.
If you're finding it hard to get a PS5, and can't simply embrace the lack of stock, then entering lotteries like this (provided they're held by retailers you trust) is a good middle ground. Beyond that I can only wish you good luck, and recommend that you take a break from the rush of stock updates sometime to keep things in perspective.