The Xbox Series X restock at Walmart last week was one of the longest the console has ever been available at a single stretch, but the availability wasn't quite what everyone expected. Many who purchased the console were told the shipping date wouldn't be for a couple of weeks, because unlike other retailers Walmart was holding its Xbox Series X restock before the consoles were actually in its warehouse. Right now, the console is listed as available and shipping tomorrow, but only because the console is being sold by a third party and not officially through Walmart.
If you don't want to wait for the delayed shipping and increased price from Walmart and need a console now, your best bet is to buy through a service like StockX or eBay, so there's a layer of buyer protection in case the transaction isn't legitimate.
Here are our tips for scoring a console safely and without paying inflated prices.
- Timing: Unannounced restocks typically happen after 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) unless they come from Target, which tends to drop them before 6 a.m. PT (9 a.m. ET).
- Walmart, GameStop and Best Buy have membership subscriptions that frequently offer early access to restocks, but they're not always required. Even if you don't pay for early access, you should still create an account with these retailers for faster checkout.
- Weekend restocks happen a lot less frequently than weekday restocks. If you absolutely must have a console this weekend, buying third party is likely your only option.
- Install the app for your preferred retailer, which is often faster to use than the websites, but it's better to use both.
Want to know how to better your chances of getting a console? Here's what we've got.
Why is the Xbox tough to find?
Essentially, Microsoft hasn't been able to get the materials it needs to make enough Xbox consoles to meet demand. As with the PlayStation 5 and most PC video cards, there's a chip shortage right now that is slowing supply. The pandemic affected production for a lot of chip manufacturers, and industry watchers currently don't expect the issue to be entirely resolved for months to come.
As a result, Microsoft makes as many consoles as it can and distributes them among its retail partners. Each retailer releases its available consoles in whatever way it deems appropriate. Most of the time, this means announcing ahead of time when you'll be able to buy the console online and then releasing it for anyone to buy.
Check out this full breakdown on the chip shortage by CNET's Stephen Shankland for more details.
Where has the Xbox been recently?
We keep track of every console restock, and maintain this list here of the most likely places you'll find a console as well as when it was last in stock there.
- GameStop: Feb. 18, March 18
- Target: Dec. 2, 16, Jan. 6
- Amazon: Nov. 21
- Walmart: Feb. 24, March 14, 17, 21
- Best Buy: Dec. 28, Jan. 11, 22
How can I improve my chances of getting an Xbox Series X?
It can be a little chaotic, constantly refreshing the screen and hoping to see a checkout link. And as many can attest, it's pretty painful to punch in your payment information only to see that the purchase can't be completed because all the consoles are already gone. Here are some of our tips:
- Open multiple browsers: Got a laptop? A phone? Maybe a tablet? Use them all to try to make the purchase. Set yourself up ahead of time with multiple browsers open to the retail site of your choice and be ready to buy from all of them.
- Don't give up: Many of these retailers have started releasing the consoles over the course of 30 minutes, to keep bots from buying them all and reselling them at a price increase. If you see everything is sold out after the first 5 minutes, keep refreshing because your chance probably isn't gone yet.
- Have an account set-up and signed-in: The time it takes to enter your payment and shipping information can be the difference between getting your console and getting left in the dust. Avoid that delay by setting up an account on the websites you'll be shopping on.
- Make sure you have a confirmation email: There have been many reports of a purchase getting "stuck" and even though the website said the sale was complete, no confirmation email arrived and then no Xbox arrived. Keep an eye out and make sure you actually have an Xbox Series X headed your way before celebrating.
Is it safe to buy an Xbox from an unofficial source?
There are some places where you can safely buy an Xbox secondhand. If you're shopping at eBay or StockX, there are protections in place to keep you from spending money and getting nothing.
Separate from this, there are plenty of folks out there eager to take advantage of everyone trying to get an Xbox Series X. Here's how to avoid the known scams:
- Stay away from Twitter links: If you see something on Twitter about an Xbox Series X restock happening somewhere, your best bet is to go straight to the retailer instead of clicking a link. In many cases, those Twitter links have turned out to be scams.
- Only buy at the retail price: If someone is offering you an Xbox Series X for more or less than $500 or an Xbox Series S for more or less than $300, you should probably stay away. There are many of these sites offering "deals" or "bundles" that are frequently not actually worth it.
The Halo Infinite edition
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Xbox's original flagship series Halo, this year Microsoft released a special edition of the Series X console inspired by the series' most recent title, Halo Infinite. The console was a limited edition and sold out quickly. While all retailers currently list the console as out of stock, there is a possibility that there are still a few of them floating around out there. If you're truly committed to getting your hands on a Series X (and don't mind dropping an extra $50), it may be worth poking around for one. Read more on the special edition Halo Infinite console here.
More on Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series X Review: Game Pass Is the Secret Weapon
- Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: It's All About 4K vs. 1440p
- The Best Xbox Series X Games You'll Need to Play
- PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: The Next-Gen Consoles We're Buying and Why
Xbox Series X: Check inventory restock
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. Bear in mind you may see higher prices from third-party resellers.
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.
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.
Amazon is selling both the Xbox Series X and the less expensive Series S from this product page.
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.
This is where you can buy the Xbox Series X at Newegg when the retailer has inventory.
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 $600.
Are you desperate by now? 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 $600.
This story is updated frequently with the latest Xbox Series X inventory news.