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Xbox Series X restock: Where we think you'll be able to buy a console

Keep an eye out for small Xbox Series X and S restocks this weekend.

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A PS5 is still more difficult to find than a Xbox Series X or Series S, but you'll still need to work a little for either Xbox. A new Console Purchase Pilot program that Microsoft has been experimenting with helps to avoid constant refreshing, but other retailers are either resorting to Xbox Series S bundles to keep bots from reselling at a markup and third-party sellers from ramping the price up. We're here to help you avoid the costlier route.

Microsoft's new system allows you to register for a chance to reserve an Xbox Series X or Series S, and anyone who's already a part of the Xbox Insiders program can find a registration link to the Console Purchase Pilot. That means you get first dibs when a restock happens through Microsoft, but spots are limited. If you're not a part of the Xbox Insiders program now, you're unlikely to be able to join this program right away. In a statement on Reddit, Microsoft made it clear the first wave of people who asked to join this pilot have been invited and registration will open back up sometime soon.

For those still in need of an Xbox Series console and no interest in a bundle, there are ways to improve your chances of scoring one. The best place to start is bookmarking your preferred retailer and checking for stock on a regular basis. More stock doesn't regularly appear at random, but if someone cancels an order or returns a console unopened you may find yourself lucky. (All the major retailer stores are listed and linked below.) This will give you a jump on the competition. If you're waiting for an announced restock of the Xbox Series X or S, your best bet is to prepare with as many browsers and devices as you have on hand. On a desktop, for instance, you could open the retailer's page in Chrome, Firefox and Edge. You could then do the same on your phone and tablet. It's like with lottery tickets: The more you have, the better your chances of winning.

xbox-series-x-s-console-hoyle-studio-promo-23

A new era of Xbox is here.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While we have recommended that gamers keep an eye on Twitter for quick news on restocks, that avenue has become filled with scammers. If you plan to search Twitter for news on Xbox Series X restocks, be sure not to use any of the links associated with those updates. When someone tells you an update will be available at a specific time on Twitter, head directly to the retailer instead. 

One tip: Seek out the $500 retail price and avoid those costly retailer bundles, which include extraneous controllers, accessories and games. Even better, if you don't have a 4K TV and don't expect to get one anytime soon, get the Xbox Series S instead and save $200.

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. Paradoxically, for some, 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. 

Where has the Xbox Series X been restocked this week?

While you can't find an Xbox at any of these retailers right now, here are all of the places we've seen them pop up this week. 

  • Antonline (May 14): While not a huge restock, Series X consoles appeared for about half an hour. 
  • BJs (May 12): This restock was limited to members, and sold out before a new account could be created.
  • Costco (May 7): This small restock was limited to club members.

When will the Xbox Series X be restocked in the US?

  • Last restock: May 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET 
  • Next restock: May 16 at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Confidence level: Pretty confident

Microsoft loves a midnight release, and the Xbox Series X and Series S restocks have been reliably following a pattern for some time now. This midnight restock has been fairly consistent, but there's a catch. Many times, would-be Xbox hunters have gone to "add to cart" at midnight only to find the console was immediately out of stock. Microsoft, it seems, has been slowly trickling the stock out over a 30-minute window in order to stop bots from scalping all of the consoles to resell at a markup. This will also be the first restock with the new pilot program, so it's likely those in the program will have first priority. If you head to the Microsoft website at midnight and don't see the console there to buy, refresh every minute or so for a while. More often than not, you'll see the console appear after a few minutes for you to grab.

While other retailers are less reliable in their restock patterns, there are a few you could set a calendar notification for just in case: 

  • Target: May 13-16, not known exactly when. Target isn't as vocal as others when dropping restocks.
  • Walmart: Returns from the week may appear over the weekend, making it possible to pick one up without a hefty price increase.
  • Newegg: Technically in stock right now, but at prices you really shouldn't pay.

Read more:

Xbox Series X: Check inventory restock

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. 

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. 

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. 

Are you already getting desperate? 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 $650.

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.

This story is updated frequently with the latest Xbox Series X inventory news.

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