Walmart is making its PS5 inventory available to buy on its site in several timeslots Thursday, but its site got overwhelmed by customers rushing to buy Sony's next-gen PlayStation during the first wave. CNET staffers and people on social media reported having the console in their cart with shipping info before the site crashed and said it was out of stock.
A message on Walmart's site featured a photo of a dog wearing a pair of felt reindeer antlers and read: "Oh, deer. The whole North Pole is trying to save big right now, so please try again in a moment. Yule love our holiday deals."
The new console is expected to sell out quickly at every major retailer, but unlike some other retailers, Walmart is making its PlayStation 5 inventory available in segments throughout the day, at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. PT. Walmart is offering the $400 digital-only version of the PS5 as well as the $500 model with Blu-ray.
During the second staggered release at 12:00 p.m. PT, the site appeared to crash even faster, with the "add to cart" button not appearing for several minutes while the page loaded. Pushing the button then produced error messages, while reloading the page led to a "could not connect to server" message. Once the page finally reloaded, a message saying "This item is no longer available and wasn't added to your cart" appeared. Many others on Twitter reported once more having the console added to their carts before it was removed after a long loading time.
Would-be Walmart customers experienced the same thing during the third drop at 6:00 p.m. PT, with the PS5 apparently selling out within seconds.
On the fourth and final drop at 6:00 p.m. PT, customers complained of being allowed to click "place order" only to have to re-enter their Walmart account password and go through four separate CAPTCHAs -- and by the time they jumped through those hoops, the console was out of stock. One person on Twitter said they clicked "place order" and were even given a delivery date before being served an error message.
Hundreds of complaints are stacking up on Twitter, with people blaming bots for scooping up each round of consoles.
Walmart didn't respond to a request for comment.