PS5 and Xbox Series X restock disaster: Just stop, really

PS5 and Xbox Series X restock
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I’m sitting here scratching my head. Every working day, I drag my weary carcass out of bed, brew a mug of coffee, rub the sleep out of my eyes and help people find where to buy the PS5 and where to buy Xbox Series X. And every time the PS5 and Xbox Series X come back in stock, they sell out in minutes (or seconds).

Yet the demand is just as high now as it was when these consoles launched. And you even tweet at me, pleading if I can find you a new console. (And the same thing happens for the where to buy PS5 in the U.K. and where to buy Xbox Seires X in the U.K.). 

This has me utterly befuddled. I simply don’t understand why so many of you are so keen to buy games consoles that have only a few new games for them. In my humble opinion, there’s no point trying to buy Microsoft or Sony’s machines when neither have a game that’s broken fresh ground in celebration of a new console generation.  

I know it’s trivially easy for me to sit here and say that; don’t @ me. Thanks to my job, I’m fortunate enough to have both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. But if I didn't have them, my gaming life would be barely any different. 

Yes, Assassin's Creed Valhalla looks great on my Series X, but it still runs on the Xbox One. Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Hitman 3 are both very good games, and metaphorically caress eyeballs with their graphics. But you can play both on a PS4

We’re now more than two months into the new generation. Yet there's still no exclusive game that makes the PS5 or Xbox Series X a must-buy-right-now machine.

As it stands, the Xbox Series X has no exclusives. Nor will it, as every game from Xbox Game Studios will come out on the Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles for the next two years. 

The PS5 has Demon's Souls, which is fantastic and looks great. But it’s a remake of a decade-old game. And if you want to play a more mechanically modern From Soft title then Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Dark Souls 3, or Bloodborne are the better bests — all of which are on the PS4. 

We’re now more than two months into the new generation. Yet there's still no exclusive game that makes either console a must-buy-right-now machine. 

I don't suggest you play Cyberpunk 2077 on a last-gen console. But in its current buggy state and with graphics upgrades coming, it’s not an essential PS5 or Series X game. 

Xbox Series X games - Assassin's Creed Valhalla

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Play the waiting game

As both Gaming Editor Marshall Honorof and I have been saying for a number of months now, you don’t need either of the new games consoles yet. (Not that anyone ever needs a games console, but you catch my drift.) 

Yet despite our vehement 'next-gen' warnings and caveats, the world is seemingly desperate to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X. This is especially true for scalpers, who are relying on bots to grab all the stock for themselves. 

Fellow editor Henry T. Casey also fell into the trap of scrambling to find a PS5. Even though he said he’s not particularly into any of the PS5's launch games; he said he just wanted one. Henry put this down to simply being bored under coronavirus restrictions and wanting something new to stave off the drudgery of life in 2020/2021. 

And this could be a feeling that many of you must relate to, as it’s the only explanation I can see for the sheer number of folks scabbling to get a PS5 each time new stock drops. Henry eventually saw the light and gave up caring about PS5 restocks. He decided that the mad dash to get even close to buying the console was not worth the time and effort. 

As a tech journalist, I completely get the pull of new tech. But when it comes to game consoles, which last for years, I’m a bit befuddled. I can understand the appeal of getting a new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21. Even if it’s not a huge upgrade over your last phone, it’s still a device you can use constantly each day. 

That's not something you can do with the PS5 once you’ve played its initial clutch of launch games; you certainly don’t want to spend too long looking at its bulky body either. 

In short, you should really just wait. Give it some four months and not only will the days be lighter and the air warmer, but the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have more games and likely be easier to buy. 

Of course, I’m shouting into the void here. You’re not going to listen. In fact, you've probably moved on to checking stock for both consoles. 

The Xbox One X is still great — and so is the Switch

Xbox One X

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Oh hello….you’re still here. And you want to know what you can do in the meantime? Well, allow me to point you in the direction of the Xbox One X

What was once seen as a supercharged Xbox One for a niche audience has come into its own over the past couple of years. As 4K TVs become commonplace, having a console that can do a form of 4K gaming makes sense. 

The power of the One X isn’t to be sniffed at, either. Other than load times, it can currently run games like Red Dead Redemption 2 just as well as the Series X (a next-gen update down the line could change that). It might not quite polish the pixels of some games to the same shiny level as the next-gen consoles, but it still kicks out a lot of impressive visuals. And it’s a lot more compact than its successor. 

Bear in mind that any game you get on the One X, or via the bargain that is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll be able to play on a Series X when you upgrade. When that time comes you can then use your One X as a secondary Xbox gaming machine. Simply plug it into a spare TV or monitor for a bit of desk-based console gaming, as I’ve done. 

If you already have a One X or simply don't fancy it, then may I direct your attention to the Nintendo Switch.

With the Switch now approaching four years in age, it’s a mature console. That means there’s a lot of very good and well-polished games to play on it. And each year seems to bring more stellar games for what’s on paper, an underpowered gaming machine. It also trounces the PS5 and Xbox Series X when it comes to actual console design innovation.  

If the Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch don’t strike your fancy then I can’t help you. Maybe you can could spend some of your time walking or making sourdough. And books are good; people like those. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • ja11824
    Yea. I have the base models of ps4 and xbox one. I just got a 4k tv. I would really like to play games in 4k. With the new consoles being backwards compatable, I would very much enjoy them considering I own games from last gen still in original shrinkwrap. The Xbox one s and x and ps4 pro are hard to find or cost nearly or more than an Xbox series x or ps5. It's fine if only a few games are next gen. It's still preferable to have the new consoles available. Especially for those in my position.
  • BDComer
    The "need" for a new console, either of them, is just because of the times. Covid-19 that is hurting person to person interaction, and current politics here in the U.S.. It all leads up to a heck of a lot of stress, and now the scalpers are making it so we can't buy what we want when we want it. I personally don't need a new console, but I usually get a new one on new releases, but for something new and fresh, but that's not happening.

    Your "where to buy" articles really don't help, they just drum up even more frustration! In all this time reading articles like that, I've only been close to buying one time. (well, I saw it for sale for a second anyway and I've never received an email from one of the stores that there was new stock, even though I signed up at all the stores.) Yuck!
  • sharporigami
    I had a ps4 a couple years ago that I bought at Christmas for 200 dollars. It came with Spiderman. This was a year or so before the pandemic and prices were lower. Right now a base ps4 costs 300 without a game and the same for a switch. I can understand the switch since its newer but a 300 dollar brand new ps4 base model is overpriced. I think the switch is overpriced too but Nintendo hit the bullseye with the console being able to hook up to a tv as well as being portable. I don't want a portable console so I am thinking of getting a ps4 but that price is giving me second thoughts. If I save another 200 dollars I can get a ps5 that is backwards compatible, is more powerful and reduces the load times by 10 seconds or minutes in some games. Granted, I am not going to find a ps5 anytime soon and I don't see things improving this year. I think that by Christmas, people will still have a hard time getting a ps5 before a scalper does.
    I will probably get a ps4 and maybe down the road in a couple years ( hopefully I am alive) I will get the new model of ps5.
  • ChristopherSaysHello
    What are you talking about?! Seriously! The Xbox Series consoles just got an amazing exclusive nextgen game yesterday: "The Medium". An outstanding game that got 9 out of 10 on It's available for free if you have gamepass!

    Also, there has been a constant stream of nextgen patches/updates released for games since the systems release. I get that these games are considered "last gen", but the nextgen updates make them very "nextgen". Off the top of my head, some beautiful nextgen looking updates: Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, new Xwing Squadron.

    Next week we get a nextgen update for Division 2 and "Control". Control we are getting ray tracing (!) option or 60fps. Then theres nextgen only versions of sports games for basketball and football, both rewritten from ground up. These are new and the basketball one (NBA 2K21) in particular is way better than lastgen.

    Cyberpunk is interesting, as it has a lite nextgen ability (not full nextgen patch yet) that makes the game actually playable on consoles (not the dumpster fire the game is on lastgen consoles).

    So yeah, theres a ton of reasons to get nextgen consoles now. Esp an xbox with gamepass subscription! It's an insane deal!
  • StuckyFanBoy
    Fine. Cool. What I don’t understand is why no one is writing articles about how this release has been so screwed up. Why exactly can’t people pre-order them from Sony? Or GameStop? Or anywhere else? Fine! Maybe Sony & Microsoft are only putting out five a month (seems that way, anyway), let us preorder. I don't care if I don’t get my console until May, stop this mad rush for disappointment. People have jobs they have to work, they don’t have time to sit on a website every three hours (Wal Mart) or wait in a queue all day (PSN). Let me pay my $400 and ship it to me whenever it’s my time. This is a rude thing to do to customers and I can’t understand the benefit to the company. They haven’t apologized or explained what is going on since September, according to my Google search.
  • Holmes108
    ChristopherSaysHello said:
    What are you talking about?! Seriously! The Xbox Series consoles just got an amazing exclusive nextgen game yesterday: "The Medium". An outstanding game that got 9 out of 10 on It's available for free if you have gamepass!.... snip

    Agreed. Also, I've never really understood the idea that the new consoles are underwhelming due to a lack of mind blowing, exclusive, drastically upgraded games. Do we feel that way about upgrading PC's?

    My buddy (who games on PC exclusively) scoffed at Microsoft's promise that there wouldn't be Series X exclusives immediately at launch. "Why buy one!?" he said. I was so confused. Would you want a new PC game to ONLY run on your brand new graphics card?

    It's a remnant of the old ways of console "generations" that are gone (at least on the Xbox side) and I for one am ecstatic. It's long overdue. That Xbox has moved to a mostly hardware agnostic gaming system is the best thing to happen to console gaming in a long time. One OS/ecosystem, choose your hardware, and they will support the hardware for as long as is feasable. You know, like PC and Mobile have done forever. Accessories will work, the interface is familiar. Just more power.

    Edit: Now, all that being said. I do think paying crazy scalper prices, and also being furious with the companies themselves are both overkill and a waste of energy. But I do think it's reasonable to want one, be excited about it, and be disappointed in a lack of stock for this long.
  • Phantomshark
    admin said:
    Can’t find a PS5 or Xbox Series X? Don’t worry about it and just wait, seriously.

    PS5 and Xbox Series X restock disaster: Just stop, really : Read more
    I am a long-time owner in an NBA 2k league, and I had to give up my team because they switched to PS5 and I can't get one.