Disastrous PS5 restocks are nothing new. We’ve seen plenty of retailers utterly fail at what should be the simple act of selling a PS5 to eager customers, but Walmart may have taken the worst drop ever crown with a restock that was utterly catastrophic from beginning to end.
Yesterday afternoon the mega-retailer announced it would be holding a PS5 restock in just a few hours. This initial announcement was met with excitement, and the confirmation that you wouldn’t need a Walmart Plus membership to buy a console was even more warmly received. That’s where the enthusiasm for this restock ended because the whole thing quickly descended into chaos.
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Walmart employed a new ordering process that was apparently designed to make it harder for bots to snap up the retailer’s limited console allocation. This effort to fight resellers is appreciated, but the system was clearly not ready for prime time. Customers quickly took to Twitter to complain that Walmart’s PS5 listing page was causing serve screen flickering. (warning: video below contains flashing images).
So this just happened pic.twitter.com/1uILlpMcSFNovember 1, 2021
If that issue wasn’t enough the drop also involved a virtual queue which failed pretty spectacularly. Several customers experienced issues with inaccurate or frequently-changing wait times. There were also reports of people getting to the front of the queue and then being kicked back to the Walmart homepage rather than being given the opportunity to buy a PS5 console. A Reddit thread about the drop has amassed more than 220 comments, almost all of them negative.
YouTuber and full-time stock tracker, Jake Randall, summed up the situation by labeling it “one of the worst drops we’ve seen," and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment. While it does appear at least a few customers were able to checkout successfully, the vast majority of shoppers seem to have been left empty-handed and more than a little disgruntled.
We appreciate that selling any product where demand outstrips supply to this degree will inevitability lead to lots of disappointed customers but Walmart really needs to do better. The PS5 has been on sale for a year at this point; retailers have had time to work out a system of selling the console that doesn’t cause this many issues.
To make matter worse, the overwhelming demand for the PS5 isn’t expected to lessen anytime soon. In fact, as the holiday season and Black Friday deals arrive, we expect even more people to be desperately looking to buy a console. Don’t be surprised if this Walmart drop is only the first disastrous restock of the season.
If you’re hoping to secure PS5 in the next few weeks, make sure you keep it locked to Tom’s Guide. We’ve got the ultimate guide to buying a console this holiday season, and a comprehensive PS5 restock hub with all the latest updates. We can’t guarantee that you'll get a console, but we can definitely give you a helping hand.
- More: Ultimate PS5 restock guide — how to secure a PS5 before Christmas
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.