September 16, 2020, a day in which Sony fans around the world finally got concrete information about when they could expect a PlayStation 5 in their homes. The PS5 release date and price were both announced, with Sony assuring buyers that PS5 preorders would go live the following day. Though some details are still a bit clouded in the chaos of that day, all evidence points to mega-retailer Wal-Mart firing the first shot and opening up PS5 preorders on their website that very evening. This led to a domino effect of other retailers like Amazon opening up their preorders early, creating a frenzy among buyers trying to be the first to get their hands on a PlayStation 5 console. Some were lucky, others disappointed, while others had gone to sleep that night thinking they’d have a fair shot of preordering the newest Sony console the following day. Those people would wake up to be sorely disappointed, and so began the launch debacle of the PlayStation 5.
Was Preordering a PlayStation 5 Worth It?
A year later, the early adopters have had the PS5 for about 10 months. After the widespread preorder issues, Sony would go on to apologize for the botched preorder launch from their Twitter, saying "Let's be honest: PS5 preorders could have been a lot smoother."
Seeing as we’re nearly a year on and it’s still next to impossible to find one, they likely miscalculated supply vs. demand. Not all of this is Sony’s fault: the semiconductor shortage and Covid-19 pandemic have affected nearly every industry, they just happen to be a very public face of the manufacturing challenges that exist during the spread of a global virus. But for those of us lucky to get a PS5 preorder and receive the console on launch day, the question remains: Was it worth it?
Sony had some great launch titles for the PS5, though their true exclusives were limited due to cross-gen and cross-platform games. For a true console exclusive, you could download Demon’s Souls or boot up Astro’s Playroom, or enjoy the haptics and faster load times for PS5 versions of games like Spider-Man Miles Morales and Bugsnax. This may not have been the most stellar lineup for a console launch, but it was plenty to keep gamers tied over into the holiday season, and for people like me who upgraded from a base PS4, the new capabilities of the PS5 were like night and day. I can’t tell you how much time I spent booting up my PS4 titles like Ghost of Tsushima and Horizon Zero Dawn to see how the PS5 pushed the resolution and performance. Of course, PS4 titles continue to receive PS5 upgrades as we near the first anniversary of the PS5 launch.
I’ve talked to gamers all over about their experience with the PS5, and though most are very pleased, there are some who admit they don’t use their console nearly as much as they thought they would. For these people, buyer’s remorse is a real issue, but for myself and so many others, the PS5 continues to deliver on what it always intended to do. Year-one exclusives like Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart pushed the boundaries of what the ultra-fast SSD was capable of, and haptic feedback on titles like Resident Evil Village created a more immersive experience than what you’d find on other platforms. So when asking was preordering the PlayStation 5 and becoming an early adopter worth it, I’d have to say yes. Most of the available games are also available on PS4, but the added PS5 features and super-fast load times are worth the price of admission, not to mention the true exclusives that we’ve been able to enjoy.
Have Things Gotten Better When Buying a PS5?
Check any Sony comment section and you’ll see legions of fans lament that they still can’t get their hands on a console, despite having the desire and economic ability to purchase one. Sony has come on record to say that every single PS5 they’re manufacturing is selling, and in July it was announced Sony has sold over 10 million PS5 consoles. So what do you need to do if you want to buy a PS5 but not overpay a scalper online?
The reality is securing a new PS5 can feel a lot like a full-time job. Like the preorder debacle one year ago, fans need to be on the ball with refreshing multiple retail websites, signed up for alerts through their store of choice, and be ready to jump the moment a console becomes available. There are Twitter feeds that follow releases and make announcements when consoles are available, but those inventories are exhausted within minutes. It takes a combination of perseverance and luck to be able to grab a PS5 in the current climate. What can give you better odds is if you’re willing to purchase a more expensive bundle that comes with a variety of games. You might not want every game that’s offered, but this strategy can help give you a slight advantage over those just waiting for the console to be available.
When Will PS5 Be In Stores?
Though things have been exceptionally bad due to the pandemic, coveted new consoles being difficult to acquire is nothing new. When the Wii launched, it was nearly a year before I saw one in person on the shelf at a local store, and the Nintendo Switch was selling out nonstop for months at a time. Likewise, the PS4 and Xbox One were difficult to acquire in the months after their respective launch windows as well. It may have never been quite this bad, and preorders were botched pretty spectacularly by retail centers, but the reality is console shortages the year following a launch have become something we can anticipate.
I expect as we move through the 2021 holiday season, inventory will continue to not be available. I hope in 2022 things will be a bit better, but demand is still sky high. Gaming is only growing as a medium, and there are just more people with the means to purchase a console than there were six or seven years ago, so the waters surrounding launch cycles continue to grow more and more crowded. Eventually, it’ll calm down. It's just by the time it does, we might be onto a PS5 Pro or PS5 Slim by then.
Were you able to get a PlayStation 5 preorder a year ago? Or are you still waiting and hoping that you’ll be able to order one soon? Let us know in the comments!