The Worst Store To Buy A PS5 From Revealed

Trying to buy a PS5? Don't get one from this store.

By Dylan Balde | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old


With most shops, a pre-order is a promise. Not so for Walmart, a Kotaku exclusive reveals. The popular American retailer is fielding criticism left and right for how it’s handling the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that has resulted in widespread issues restocking PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S units, among others. Walmart has been accepting more orders than it’s able to carry, leading to major shipping delays and unexplained cancellations. Inconsistent delivery times have plagued customers with some receiving their PS5 several weeks too late and others who have ordered much later getting theirs within two to three days. Isaiah Colbert of Kotaku has reached out to Walmart for comment but failed to hear back before publication.

Check out the most common user complaints below about Walmart’s sloppy logistics regarding the recent PS5 shortage:

In Walmart’s defense, it has been insanely grueling trying to get one’s hands on a next-generation console during an active pandemic, with the positively in-demand PS5 suffering the most setbacks over its Microsoft and hybrid Nintendo equivalent. Regardless of where hardware is ordered in the United States — Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, or any similar purveyors — hiccups have predictably abounded. When parts are difficult to come by and quarantine is keeping factories from operating at full speed, satisfying demand with inadequate supply is simply an impossible task.

Best Buy’s physical stores have recently been battered by queues stretching a couple of blocks long. GameStop hasn’t run out but has been charging inordinate fees for completely unnecessary console bundles as a last-ditch effort to recoup massive pandemic losses. Even Target isn’t safe; the shop has recently blocked off pre-ordering as its PS5 stock magically dwindled to zero.

According to TechRadar’s editor-in-chief Matt Swider, the issue over America’s PS5 restocks can be traced back to the ports carrying and rationing them. The chip shortage is just one of many reasons customers aren’t getting the consoles they’ve paid for; there are also United States Customs blocking arrivals and not clearing shipments in time.

The coronavirus pandemic is chiefly to blame for the holdup; after all, ensuring a crate follows pertinent quarantine procedure takes time. While medical crew are browsing a checklist, ships are indefinitely waiting at port for instructions. Traffic is building behind them. The lines only triple while employees try to unload backlog, and without enough truck drivers available to move orders from place to place, it’s no surprise consumers aren’t getting their consoles in the window of time promised. PS5 scalpers, on the other hand, are simply contributing to the problem.

Walmart sign

Common issues aside, Walmart remains the worst possible place to buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S. The Twitterverse is rife with complaints and mentions begging the retailer to deliver orders up to eight weeks late, while Reddit even has a section dedicated only to those attempting to purchase a ninth-generation console from the hypermarket chain. Users took part in a poll ranking America’s worst places to get a PS5 and Walmart decimated its competition by a significant mile, earning 168 votes out of 225 cast. Walmart’s warehouses have allegedly been hoarding stock, though how much of that is true remains to be seen.

Every merchant has employed different ways of dealing with the semiconductor crisis. GameStop offers only bundles and has no qualms about overcharging. If you want a PS5 in this day and age, you would have to pay extra — or so CEO Matt Furlong probably said. Best Buy’s TotalTech program, which requires members to pay a yearly $299 to maintain, affords exclusive access to any future restocks. While Target stockpiles as regularly as possible to keep demand happy.

Kotaku’s sources say Target and Best Buy’s last two refills were dated October 13 and October 1, while Walmart’s last recorded PS5 restock was all the way back on September 23. That’s over twenty days of little to no supply, which more than sufficiently explains why customers aren’t receiving their orders and why Walmart is canceling prepaid goods without warning. Walmart is swamped and executives are too proud to admit they’re spiraling.

Stock checker Cameron Ritz provides an informed look into Walmart’s inner logistics. The department store chain has an entirely different approach to restocking compared to most retailers. Unlike its competitors, which resupply in periodic, tiny increments, Walmart prefers large, infrequent restocks; confident stores will always have units on hand, Walmart permits customers to place orders on a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S projected to arrive. The outcome is a cockamamie delivery system where later preorders are checked off first, while those that have been pending for eight weeks and counting are moved to the very bottom of the barrel.

ps5 restock Playstation 5

Either way, Walmart’s hubris has led to some pretty erratic PS5 and Xbox Series distribution; what isn’t immediately clear, however, is why the retailer hasn’t made any corrective adjustments yet. Persisting on the same tired approach will never work in a worsening pandemic. Unfortunately, customer service has reportedly been inaccessible.

The continuing dearth of PS5 and Xbox Series units will carry on until 2022, insiders say.