PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are two of the hottest things that will be under the Christmas tree this year, that is if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one. Every time there’s a new stock online, they sell out in seconds. Some parents are going to great lengths to acquire one.
‘Tis the season for gift-giving and perhaps, the gift to give is a new PlayStation 5.
“I’ve been watching since they dropped late last month,” Maria Schiff said. “It is the only thing my 13-year-old wants, along with some socks.”
Quite the range for Schiff’s son, but apparently, he’s been good, and Schiff has been on a mission to find one of those elusive video game consoles.
“I’ve had my whole family trying,” Schiff said, “and my brother worked overnight, so I [said], get on there crazy times, and let’s just check it out.”
The problem is, the PS5, along with its competitor the Xbox Series X, seems to be impossible to find.
“It’s basically like the Ferbie and Cabbage Patch Kids of years past,” Frank Stanchek said. “Everybody wants these things, and nobody can get them.”
Even Stanchek, the owner of Classic Game Junkie — a video game store in Glenside — can’t get his hands on them.
“Pretty much every time we pick up the phone, it’s like, ‘Hi, Classic Game Junkie.’ ‘You all got any PS5?’ ‘No man, I’m sorry we don’t have any PS5s today,’” Stanchek said. “‘When are you going to get some?’ Probably not until March.”
You could have the fastest fingers in Philadelphia, have those consoles in your cart ready to ship out, but experts say there is a reason why you’re still not able to purchase one.
“Bot makers and those who are trying to buy these consoles in bulk at low cost and then resell them on places like eBay and elsewhere on the web,” CBS News Tech Reporter Dan Petterson said.
Petterson said to think of those bots as tech-savvy Grinches. They’re computer programs designed to quickly flood a website when new consoles are released, snatching up the product before human competitors even have a chance.
“The best thing you can do is just weave your way through it, understand how this problem is happening, and do your best to avoid it by purchasing whatever you’re going to buy at a legitimate retailer, not a secondary market,” he said.
“I’ve had one in my cart about a dozen times only to have it disappear,” Schiff said.
It took some patience, but Schiff finally found and bought a PS5 for her son at a Best Buy some three hours away.
“The other day I finally tracked one down in Virginia,” Schiff said. “I’ll head down Sunday and it’ll be an adventure.”
And quite the surprise Christmas morning for her son.
“Right now, I’m feeling like a champ and I hope one day he remembers,” Schiff said.
MORE ON CBSPHILLY.COM