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PS5 restock tracker: PlayStation Direct's third sale this week, GameStop in-store only

It's been a great week for getting a PS5.

The next PS5 restock from PlayStation Direct is today, starting at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET), according to emails sent to those in the Sony waiting line. This is the third PS5 restock from PlayStation Direct this week, and the available window today will be five hours long. In the past, everyone who received a PS5 restock email had three hours to make their purchases before any remaining consoles were made available to the public. 

If you're not a part of the PlayStation Direct email notification system, you can sign up here.

To get your PS5 in an actual store, GameStop will have consoles for you this Friday. The retailer announced stores in the following cities will have a PS5 restock in-store:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Phoenix

If you live in one of these cities and you want to confirm there's an in-store PS5 restock happening near you, GameStop has offered this page to search for availability in your area.

If you don't want to camp out in front of a store and you miss today's restock, there are a couple of ways to get an early heads-up for online availability. The Best Buy Totaltech subscription service and GameStop's PowerUp Rewards Pro systems have been offering early access to the next PS5 restock as long as you pay for either service. Meanwhile, PlayStation Direct just made it easier to register for the waiting queue to help deal with bots and resellers.

We're also looking for a PS5 restock from Walmart and Amazon, which haven't had consoles in a few weeks now. 

Want a different way to get your hands on a PS5? We've been tracking all of the places selling both the standard edition and the digital edition of the PS5 for months, helping thousands of people snap up the console when it appears with our tips and shortcuts. Check it out!

ps5-playstation-5-sony-hoyle-promo-11
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Why is the PS5 so tough to find?

There are three big reasons why you're still struggling to get a PS5. The first is the most obvious: The system is really popular. Sony says the PS5 is its best-selling console and has already sold 10 million units since launch

The second reason is the current chip shortage impacting most of the world's electronics. Sony did say it has secured enough chips to meet its goal of 14.8 million consoles for the fiscal year

As for the last reason, it comes down to bots. Resellers are using software to purchase a massive number of PS5s at once, leaving only a few for actual humans to buy. Retailers added various bot protections during PS5 restocks, but these restrictions only hamper resellers so much.

Where has the PS5 been available lately?

Stock refreshes were thin on the ground earlier this month, though they've accelerated recently. Here's a look at the recent PS5 restock history:

How can I get a PS5 from PlayStation Direct?

The store with the most frequent PS5 restocks is Sony's official store, PlayStation Direct. Drops usually happen at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) during the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). What Sony has done lately is give a lucky few email invites for exclusive access to the store, which typically starts at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET). 

To get one of these special invites, you not only need luck, you also need a PSN account. You can sign up for one on the PSN website and it's free. After you have an account, you just register your place in line to buy a PS5 on this page. From here, it's a matter of being patient and having a little luck on your side. It appears priority access emails are sent randomly, but you will need to partake in one of the queues on PlayStation Direct in order to be considered. 

PlayStation Direct PS5 restock works a little differently than other retailers. At the start time, there's a welcome page with a countdown clock indicating when the queue will start. You can stay on this page and when time is up, the website will begin placing people in line to buy a PS5. The page will update and say how long you'll have to wait, but it's not a guarantee. To help your chances, once you're in a queue, share the link with your other devices like your phone. Make sure each device uses a different IP address (such as having your phone on its mobile plan while your computer uses your home Wi-Fi). This can improve your chances, as your other device might be put into a different line that moves at a faster pace. Even if you don't get a PS5, as mentioned earlier, you still could get a pass to buy one on the next go-round.

What are some helpful tips for buying a PS5?

Major retailers like Walmart, GameStop, Amazon, Target and Best Buy don't usually give much notice ahead of a restock. Sometimes they'll have a restock in the morning, other times in the afternoon and in some cases, even in the middle of the night. Here are some tips to help you get the jump on the competition. 

First tip: Don't wait until you see an alert for a PS5 inventory drop. Check the links at major retailers for stock updates daily or even multiple times a day. (We've got them all lined up below.) If you do happen upon some PS5 availability, go all-in with as many browsers and devices as possible. On a desktop, for example, open the retailer's page in Chrome, Firefox and Edge. Then do the same on your phone and tablet. The more devices and browsers, the better. It's like with lottery tickets: The more you have, the better your chances of winning.

Second tip: Create accounts at the different retailers and make sure you're already logged in if you're going to try to get a PS5. Make sure all your shipping, bill and payment info is updated on whatever device you can buy from, whether it's a laptop, desktop or phone. This makes checking out a lot faster, which is crucial as retailers' sites get quickly bogged down, leading to people losing their chance of securing a PS5. 

Third tip: Keep checking back with this post and follow CNET and Oscar Gonzalez on Twitter for updates.

How can I get early access to a PS5 restock?

While most retailers very much want you to show up when something is marked in stock, the extended difficulty in getting a PS5 has encouraged Best Buy and GameStop to offer early access to sales for its paid members. 

The recently expanded Totaltech program from Best Buy offers a ton a benefits for its $200 per year price tag, but the big one for would-be PS5 owners is early access to "hot products during the holiday season" which means there will be limited access events where you could get a PS5 without having to click refresh on your browser because you're in a member's only queue.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a PS5 from GameStop, all you need to do is sign up for the PowerUp Rewards Pro program. This is a subscription program GameStop has had for years, and it uses this program to offer discounts and coupon codes as well as a subscription to Game Informer magazine. This program costs $20 per year, and if GameStop is true to its promise people who are a part of this program will be able to get a PS5 before it is available to everyone on the website. 

Where else can I buy a PS5 if I'm willing to pay extra?

If you're starting to crack and considering buying a PS5 right now (and we know that with the number of big PS5 games about to drop over the next few months, the pressure is on), you can do so, but at the cost of a hefty markup on sites like eBay or StockX. On eBay, for example, we've seen PS5 units priced over $1,000, although prices have slowly made their way down to approximately $700. 

Where to buy a PlayStation 5

See the detailed instructions above for more info on how to queue up for a PS5 availability at Sony's PlayStation Direct.

GameStop has pages for both the $400 Digital Edition (click the button below) as well as the pricier PS5 with Blu-ray for $500. You can also buy a full range of PS5 accessories from GameStop like the Pulse 3D wireless headset for $100.

Target offers the PS5 with Blu-ray for $500 in addition to the PS5 Digital Edition, which you can find by clicking the button below.

You can check inventory on the $400 Digital Edition at Walmart by clicking the button below, or you can try to snag the pricier PS5 with Blu-ray for $500.

You can check out Amazon's page for the $400 Digital Edition via the button below, or, if you'd rather, get in line for the PS5 with Blu-ray for $500.

Best Buy is offering the PS5 with Blu-ray for $500 as well as the $400 Digital Edition (which you can find by clicking the button below). The retailer is also offering a slew of accessories on its PS5 landing page.

Newegg's PS5 page has multiple bundles that include additional controllers and games along with the console. You can see the different options by clicking on the button below. 

If you've decided you simply can't wait another moment for Sony to get its act together and flood the market with inventory, eBay is a shortcut to getting your own PS5 right now. That said, let me reiterate our advice: No PS5 is worth spending hundreds over list price, and that's exactly what you'll have to do if you buy from an eBay reseller. The average PS5 price on eBay is about $850. 

OK, you've exhausted all of the online and brick-and-mortar retailers, and you've decided you're willing to pay upward of a $300 markup to get this puppy soon. As your friends, we have to tell you: Don't do it. But if you don't want to listen to us, you might want to check out StockX, an eBay alternative that made its name in the secondary market for sneakers and designer clothing. Last time we checked, prices for the PS5 were hovering around $700.

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