It’s not just you: It was nearly impossible to buy the PlayStation 5 at launch thanks in part to resellers using the same type of bots that snatch up Yeezy drops

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  • The PlayStation 5 launched on Thursday, but it wasn’t sold in stores.
  • The only way to get a PlayStation 5 at launch was through a preorder, but some retailers sold PS5 consoles digitally on a first-come, first-served basis. Both Walmart and Target were walloped by customer demand.
  • The first drop of PlayStation 5 consoles on Walmart’s website came at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, and it promptly took down the entire Walmart web store. Subsequent drops, three hours apart, presented a similarly difficult situation for many customers.
  • Resellers boasting dozens of PS5 consoles have popped up on eBay, StockX, and Instagram, and they appear to have used the same type of retail-busting software that sneaker resellers use to get the latest Yeezys.

After months of anticipation, Sony‘s PlayStation 5 finally launched on Thursday — but it seemed nearly impossible to buy the console through any online retailer.

Because of the pandemic, Sony decided not to go the traditional console-launch route and didn’t sell the new game console in retail stores at launch. Instead of massive launch lines and stories of excited fans camping out overnight in front of GameStop, the main way to get a PS5 on November 12 was to have preordered the console months ago through one of several retailers.

Beyond that, PlayStation 5 buyers had one recourse on launch day: the digital storefronts of major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. And at 12 p.m. ET on November 12, people got a look at how well that system worked.
The flood of customers was so voluminous that it caused the entire Walmart web store to crash, and users were greeted with a message explaining that the store was overloaded by too many shoppers at one time.

“Last week, when we released the item for sale on Walmart.com, we did see massive traffic, which caused some customers to experience intermittent slowness for a few minutes,” a Walmart representative told Business Insider. “We quickly caught up with the volume and are currently restocking the item for additional release of inventory throughout the holidays.”

So how is it that one of America’s largest retailers was unable to handle a flood of digital customers?

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