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However, the situation is less clear for those who have not pre-ordered a console, with retailer Game stating on Sunday that, specifically for Xbox Series X / S, “we do not have confirmation that we will have stock on launch day for customers that don’t have a pre-order.”
It added: “We recommend checking the website for updates to avoid disappointment and unnecessary travel to store.”
The government announced this weekend that four weeks of restrictions would come into action from this Thursday, November 5, including the closure of all non-essential shops. That means that physical retail stores will not be open as normal during the launches of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S this month.
However, several retailers including Argos, Game and Smyths have confirmed that they’ll be offering a collection service for those who pre-ordered the consoles in-store, as per government guidelines.
Smyths will only be taking payment via card, it said in a tweet this weekend, while Argos noted that items will still be available for delivery, should customers choose this option. Game is asking Xbox Series X / S pre-order customers to pre-purchase their orders in-store before Wednesday evening.
Both Microsoft and Sony would likely have been well prepared for the possibility of further national lockdowns in key territories, as well as the potential for Covid-19 to further disrupt distribution channels.
Gamer Network’s head of B2B, Christopher Dring told VGC earlier this year that while the console launches would be challenging for both platform holders, they’re also expected to comfortably sell out of consoles.
“Launching a big product at Christmas is already a big task with competing releases vying for consumer attention, not just in games, plus competition for advertising space. And that’s even without two consoles launching at the same time, a global pandemic creating potential logistical issues, and a worldwide recession,” he said.
“But even with all that, both consoles will launch this year, lots of people will buy them and we will have some great games to play on them. We just have to be a tiny bit patient until we can find out when.”