This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
Yes, Microsoft debuted two shiny new Xbox consoles back on Nov. 10: The Xbox Series X ($500) and the Xbox Series S ($300) both have quite a lot to offer versus the equally impressive PS5. But the Xbox, PS5 and even Nintendo Switch all share a very common feature: They’re all impossible to get this holiday season. That’s too bad, because the Xbox Series X is basically a gaming PC that you attach to your TV, offering nearly full compatibility with the Xbox One gaming library, smooth 4K gaming and the ability to pause and resume up to four titles at once.
Unlike Sony, which conducted an online-only launch for the PS5, Microsoft stocked the shelves both online and in stores. But as you scour the web and brick-and-mortar stores for inventory, temper your expectations: They’re nowhere to be found and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better: Microsoft is now saying that Xbox inventory could be tight through April 2021.
While most retailers haven’t been very transparent about when they expect to have units for sale, Walmart has been keeping customers informed about exactly when it’s dropping new inventory. For example, we know that Walmart will have an online “availability window” for the sold-out Nintendo Switch Black Friday bundle on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET).
And that’s not all: There will be Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S just a few hours later. According to Walmart, your next chance to buy an Xbox online will be at 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Best Buy and GameStop are also teasing Xbox availability for Black Friday week, but without any specific details.
If you still want to try your luck, here’s a list of the major retailers selling the Xbox Series X. Our advice is to seek out the $500 retail price, and avoid those pricey retailer bundles (which include extraneous controllers, accessories and games).
Best Buy was the last retailer standing back in the preorder days of September, but now stands ready for your Xbox Series X purchase as inventory allows.
Amazon is selling the Xbox Series X and the less expensive Series S from this same product page.
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. To be clear, Walmart says your next chance to buy an Xbox online will be at 6 p.m. PT on Nov. 25.
GameStop had touted “very limited number of Xbox Series X and S console bundles for purchase” but those are currently sold out.
This is Target’s product page for the Xbox Series X.
This is where you can purchase the Xbox Series X at Newegg when the retailer has inventory.
If you want to get the latest on the Xbox Series X, there’s probably nowhere better than Microsoft’s own Xbox Series X home page. Here you’ll find the latest specs, announced game titles, details on the new controller and more.
Are you already getting desperate? 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 upwards of $750.
Xbox Series X and Series S offer a fine-tuned, streamlined…
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