is set to get a major restock of the highly sought-after Play Station 5 this week, but there’s a catch: The upcoming drop of Sony’s PS5 on Tuesday at 12 p.m. EST is only available to Best Buy Totaltech members.
Best Buy’s Totaltech subscription gives members additional tech support, product protection and free delivery, but it also costs $199.99 a year. Subscribing doesn’t guarantee you a PS5 console, but it does give members first crack at special product-release drops and virtual checkout lines with hopes of securing a console for a retail price of $499.
The PS5 restock will be in “limited quantities,” according to the retailer’s listing, and this particular drop is online-only.
The move from Best Buy continues a trend of major retailers putting some of its most popular products behind a paywall. Other retailers including Walmart
have similarly put PS5s and other electronic consoles behind paywalls in the past year. Walmart made these items only available to Walmart+ members ($98 per year) and Amazon put these items behind its signature service Amazon Prime.
In addition to the possibility of growing its paid subscriber base, this method of product release will help eliminate “bots” attempting to buy consoles, since only subscriber accounts can make purchases. Bots are software used to create multiple entries for contests and faster checkout times for exclusive products. Bots are commonly used in limited online releases with products like shoes, concert tickets and other collectibles — bot software is typically faster than people at making online purchases.
Best Buy did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment on this story.
Sony initially released the PS5 in November 2020, but the product is still not widely available due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the global chip shortage.
“The level of demand by customers is so high for PS5,” Sony’s Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said in 2021. “We have to look at the global shortage of semiconductors, or we try to increase our capacity. We face difficulties because of this global situation.”
When will PS5s become widely available? Sony says the shortage will continue through 2022.