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Xbox Series X pre-orders are a mess despite Microsoft’s promises

Probably unavoidable, given high traffic

product image of Xbox Series X standing up with controller standing up in front of it, on a black background Image: Microsoft

When retailers started pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 earlier than Sony said they would, it was pandemonium for customers trying to secure the hardware. The folks at Microsoft must have seen this as an easy dig, because the official Xbox account went on to post something about how they would let customers know the exact time of pre-orders, so they shouldn’t “worry.” Lo and behold, the time for Xbox Series X has arrived, and ... it’s still a mess.

Likely, knowing the specific time for pre-orders actually didn’t help much. GameStop implemented a “queue” that asked customers to stay in line and not refresh the page (this seems to have been a clever ruse), except after thirty minutes of waiting, I’m still staring at the same screen. It’s better than being told I’m blocked, but not by much!

Amazon won’t even load, instead giving me error pages (with dogs). Walmart allowed me to put a console in my cart, but every time I try and complete my order, it tells me it’s out of stock. When I click on “pre-order” on the Target website, nothing happens.

But perhaps the most unfortunate side-effect of an army of fans all trying to load a page at once is that even Microsoft’s own official page for the Xbox Series X is getting hammered.

The Xbox Series X pre-order page on Microsoft’s official website. Image: Microsoft

A few Polygon staffers were able to complete their transactions, but if Amazon’s handling of the PS5 is any indication, pre-orders aren’t always a sure bet to get something on day one. And of course, anyone who has secured a pre-order might just turn around and flip it on eBay, as many folks did with PS5 pre-orders.

Hopefully, though, this is just the result of websites not being able to handle immense traffic, and not a reflection of console availability.

“As pre-orders kick-off around the world, we’re hearing from our retail partners that demand is high,” said Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb on Twitter. “We’re doing all we can to make as many consoles available as possible and that the process is fair. Thanks for being patient!”

The Xbox Series X, and its digital counterpart, the Xbox Series S, release on Nov. 10.

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