Tuesday 22nd September 2020. The day when UK websites went down for multiple users at multiple times of the day.
No, it wasn’t because of a neo-Millennium Bug [maybe a Millennial Bug], but rather because of the pre-order launch of the Xbox Series X/S.
Yes, despite Sony and its dedicated fanbase telling you otherwise, interest in the new Xbox console was at an high-time high.
Whether this was spurred on by the recent announcement that Xbox had acquired Bethesda studios is a different story.
The fact of the matter is, unless you were really lucky and/or planned ahead in advance, you were not getting a pre-order for the Xbox Series X/S.
Here are the options (with Xbox All Access)
The tale starts early this morning [well, early-ish]. By eight am, I was scrolling through the various outlets to check what was up. I had been reminded of the Xbox All Access programme. All Access allows you to get an Xbox Series X, S, or Xbox One S for a relatively monthly fee. Thinking to myself, actually, that sounds like a good idea, I went ahead and clicked through.
In the UK, only two stores offer the All Access programme, GAME and Smyths Toys. So, I looked through both to check out what the deal was. For an Xbox Series X [if I’m honest, it’s the one I’d go for out of the options available] with Game Pass Ultimate included and 24 months of All Access, it would work out at £24.99/month. Bargain!
So, I clicked through on Smyths and GAME to test the waters…
Disaster. Even by eight am, Smyth’s supply of Xbox Series X were unavailable for delivery and out of stock for Click and Collect. And I don’t just mean in my local Smyths store. The whole company in its various locations up and down the country was out of stock for it.
And as for GAME; at one point, I was in a queue of people waiting to pre-order. I was order #106,000 or so. There were approximately 86,000 people ahead of me. The wait was around an hour long. It all seemed a bit too much to comprehend.
Everything looked to be going so well…
Evidently, it was. Shortly thereafter, GAME’s whole website was down. Not just for the Xbox pre-orders, but every part of the site was inaccessible.
It’s a good job I never intended to get one at launch, because I would have been left so disappointed. However, for the sake of journalism and/or morbid curiosity, I kept checking throughout the day.
The same issues were prevalent at 12 midday, three pm, and again at five pm. It wasn’t until around seven pm that things looked somewhat okay.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the chances of pre-ordering a new Xbox was made easier.
At least we had over options…
Of the other stores offering pre-orders of the new console (buying it outright), all of them were out of stock. Amazon, Argos, Currys/PC World, and Smyths were all showing that they were out of stock.
Alas, my cheeky mid-day thought of getting one for myself for my birthday was not meant to be. Of course, I kind of knew this would be the case as these sort of things are meant to be tackled from the minute they go on sale.
Speaking of which, our very own Captain America, Lucas Richards, tried to pre-order the Series X today as well. Naturally, being a considerable length of time behind us, he has not had as long to try his luck at bagging a new console. He personally told us that he was ready to join the queue to pre-order at eight am his local time.
As he told us, Lucas tried on three different sites to bag his pre-order. All three let him get as far as confirming his order before throwing up an error message and, essentially, cancelling his pre-order.
Regardless of where you look, the outcome was still the same
Of course, if you were one of those adventurous sorts who made the journey to your local store, there’s a chance you could have ordered one in-person.
Of course, this isn’t exactly the first next-gen console pre-order that was met with immense traffic. We’ll wait to see if Xbox offers customers more chances to pre-order the Xbox Series X or Series S as we go along. Until then, we all wait with bated breath for our chance to get our hands on a Series X. Or an S, if you prefer. Or a PlayStation 5, if you’re that way inclined.
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ABG’s Senior Editor (News), YouTube content creator/streamer.