Xbox Introduces a Console Purchase Pilot

Posted on May 12, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X with 20 Comments

Xbox fans who are upset about Xbox Series X|S availability can register for a new Console Purchase Pilot that might help make it happen more quickly.

“We’re introducing the Console Purchase Pilot, allowing US Xbox Insiders on Xbox One to register for a chance to reserve an Xbox Series X|S console,” the Xbox Insider account tweeted. “Check the Xbox Insider Hub on Xbox One for details. Limited space is available and not all who register will be selected.”

The Console Purchase Pilot seems to be aimed at thwarting the scalpers who have apparently been mopping up all of the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 consoles that become available and then selling them with huge markups. And it comes in the wake of a Sony admission that its own consoles probably won’t be widely available until 2023.

The program is available only in the United States for now, but Microsoft may expand it internationally if it proves successful.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Xbox Introduces a Console Purchase Pilot”

  1. brothernod

    The fact that it's still a lottery doesn't help to remove the stress of the situation. I feel like this would be a bigger success if they gave more insight in to factors that impact your chance of being selected such as age of your Xbox account or how long you've had your latest console or even if it's simply luck from anyone that registers, and maybe if they cap registrations so you know you'll have a 1 in X chance.

  2. dftf

    About time one of the console-makers did something like this... and financially, such a scheme makes logical-sense too.

    I know people always say "if scalpers buy-up the console-stock, what do they care... it's still a sale". Well sure, when they report console sales-figures it'll help them there, with the stats... but remember most consoles are sold at a loss; especially for Sony and Microsoft's ones, and especially in at-least the first few-years they are on-the-market (until hardware-revisions generally make them cheaper-to-manufacturer).

    Microsoft and Sony will make most of their money through the actual software sales -- and scalper units won't be used until they are sold-on again, meaning a revenue-stream is lost (or at-least delayed). Getting those consoles into the hands of a genuine gamer faster means more revenue, so coupled with the good PR a scheme like this generates, and respect by the fanbase, it's an overall win-win...

    • sykeward

      Considering their loss per unit on hardware and the fact that they're rolling out XCloud which works all over, Microsoft is probably fairly content to just sit and be a passive victim of the chip shortage for the time being - especially with Sony being in the same supply-constrained boat. I'm sure Wall St would punish their stock price if they sold more consoles because of the initial losses, anyway ?

  3. MoopMeep

    I do notice that the series s doesn’t seem to be too hard to get. Best Buy has them right now (in case someone is looking for it) and although I don’t look that often they do seem to have them quite regularly

  4. bartman

    This was asked on Windows Weekly a while back and the response from Microsoft at the time was that there was too much supply chain uncertainty to do this. That answer didn't make sense then and still does not now. Apple and their partners have done this for years now and they were in the same boat initially. I remember waiting months in a queue with no guaranteed delivery date for an iPhone back when they started that process. The process they have today is a much more accurate and refined one, but they started with a 'get in line and you will get one when you get one' approach. Once Apple started the 'wait in queue' process it effectively forced their retail partners to do the same. Everyone understands there are shortages but most people I know would be happy to get in a queue for either the XBox or Playstation and then just stop having to chase the sales and beat the bots online.

  5. rm

    Microsoft could offer queuing Xbox orders this in the Microsoft Store. That would get other retailers to do the same thing. Then people could get into multiple queues if they wanted and cancel out of the other queues once they get the Xbox they wanted.

  6. curtisspendlove

    I still do not understand how hard it is for them to use Visual Studio, MSSQL Server, and a web server to solve this.

    I know they are a global operation and it isn’t *simple* but man.

    As I’ve said many times before, love or hate Apple, they are excellent at taking your money and eventually sending you some sort of hardware in exchange. They even beat their estimations.

  7. WinObs

    Interestingly enough - you do not get to choose which console either - they will offer either an S or an X - take it or leave it for this evolution.

  8. the_writing_critic

    So I signed up for this. They are testing a way to purchase a console directly through a console. They have some reserved so those who are testing the service can post real money to test the service. And there is a list of disqualifications. They are at least positioning it as testing a service, not winning a lottery.

  9. martinusv2

    Why wont they do orders queues? You get on a list and when it's your turn, you have some time to accept or reject the order.

    • michael_jones

      The same is true of Nvidia. XVGA did finally do this for their cards where you can register directly to get on a list to buy one directly from them. 2 1/2 months later I'm still waiting on my turn. But why manufacturers don't do this more directly I don't understand. There are ways to game it too, so it's not perfect, but it seems better than nothing.

    • sykeward

      This - seriously. I don't own an Xbox One (I went with the PS4 last time around) but plan to get a Series X, in part to play some of the games I skipped with this last generation. They could have my money now - me, a net new customer for them this generation - if I could just get on a list. Unfortunately, it seems my choice boils down to treating the situation like someone on an organ transplant waiting list or just walking away from the whole thing.

    • mattbg

      Agree - I think it made sense not to do this at launch and around Christmas because of the potential for disappointment. But, the idea of being able to get into a queue that you can cancel out of without any particular delivery date promises seems pretty safe to me.

    • jwpear

      The fact they haven't done this has really soured me on Xbox and Microsoft. One of the biggest tech companies in the world can't implement a simple order or "put in in line to purchase" queue. Wow!

    • Paul Thurrott

      Right. I will never understand this.
    • vladimir

      Microsoft should definitively do that, but I wonder why retailers in the US don't do it either. Here in Sweden, since the shortage began, many online shops started making queues to buy the most looked products, graphics cards and consoles. I ordered an RTX3080 in October and received it one week ago. Of course you don't know when you will get it but at least you don't have the stress of checking every day. I don't even consider buying from shops that don't offer a queuing system

      • owenm

        I know there will be shortages for a long time and I would happily pay a deposit to reserve my place in the queue for an Xbox Series X. So strange that we are unable to do this.

      • MoopMeep

        Why would a retailer care though? As long as the person pays they are probably happy. Most of the stuff they sell has no issues, so they probably don't want to change their ordering system for a few hard to get items. The most they do is create bundles, which just lets them sell more stuff. Anyone complains they can just point the finger at Microsoft and Sony for not supplying enough stock.

        • anthonye1778

          That's the thing... they changed their own ordering systems to NOT allow order queues, since that is the default. I will never understand why they do this specifically for consoles.

  10. Slawson79

    Both Sony and Microsoft always had the ability to sell as many consoles they wanted directly to consumers. They just choose not to because apparently they’re ok with scalpers controlling the market. Taking orders like this isn’t some new concept. Apple and other companies do this every time they release a new phone. You may not get it as soon as it’s released, but if you order from them you’ll eventually get one. You also don’t have to pay 5x retail like Microsoft and Sony appear to be just fine with.

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