Want to Buy PlayStation 5? Become a Friend with a Bot.


Bots have a bad rep. Shady manipulators post these automated computer programs on social networks. spreading conspiracy theoriesvomiting vitriol and scam people. But when bots are programmed to do good, they can help us achieve the seemingly impossible.

Buy a PlayStation 5. Since the Sony console was released in November, it has been difficult to find in physical and online stores. global chip shortage It slowed down the production of all kinds of technology products from graphics cards to cars.

As a result, when the new PlayStation appears online on sites like Amazon, Target, and Best Buy, minutes, sometimes seconds, run out. Sony said demand for the PlayStation 5 is unprecedented and supply restrictions could continue throughout the next year. This makes the prospect of purchasing the console feel as random as winning the lottery.

Still, someone is buying them, and a few lucky people I spoke to relied on some kind of automation.

“It’s really hard to get one without any bots,” said SV Yesvanth, an information security engineer who wrote a web script to automatically scan online stores for available consoles after their own struggles to buy one in Hyderabad, India. He said that after he managed to buy a PlayStation, he linked his bot to a Twitter account and helped hundreds of avid shoppers.

I joined the club this month. I volunteered to help a friend who has been trying to buy a PlayStation for six months. After installing several Twitter bots that will send alerts to my phone as new consoles are stocked, I managed to find one within a week. It wasn’t easy—I failed three times on Best Buy’s website and finally succeeded with GameStop. But the bots gave me a necessary edge to beat the thousands who furiously refresh their web browsers.

You cannot pick any bot and wait for it to download the device. I interviewed several auto tool creators who help people rate PlayStation. They said there are pitfalls to avoid, such as scam bots claiming to sell consoles. There are also some hidden tricks to expedite orders. Here’s what you need to know.

Dozens of online bots take to Twitter when a retailer replenishes their inventory with more PlayStations. They all generally work the same way: They look for a signal that the PlayStation is back in stock — like an online store’s web code “add to cart” button. As soon as they detect that the console is available, they issue an alert on Twitter.

The first step is to follow trusted bots. Here are some reliable Twitter accounts I’ve reviewed:

  • @PS5StockWarningstweets when consoles are available at Best Buy, Sam’s Club, and Walmart, among others.

  • @mattswider, which initially relied on information from bots for stock updates but is now entirely curated by Matt Swider, editor-in-chief of the TechRadar blog. Mr. Swider said he gets information from sources at major retailers and some independent stores before PlayStation replenishes its inventory.

  • @ps5_indiaThe account, run by SV Yesvanth, has a small following focused on buying a PlayStation in India, where purchasing the console is particularly difficult.

  • @iloveps_5, a bot hosted by Kevin Hirczy, a software developer in Austria. Mr Hirczy’s bot focuses on PlayStation availability in Europe.

You can scan your Twitter feed for stock alerts from these accounts. But a more efficient way is to set notifications to appear on your phone when accounts tweet. To do this, download the Twitter mobile app and let it send notifications to your phone. Then follow Twitter instructions for setting up specific accounts to send notifications when they tweet

When you see the consoles are back in stock, do not hesitate: Click and add the product to the cart as soon as possible.

The risky thing about relying on bots is that you often come across scammers. General rule of thumb: Avoid Twitter accounts that offer to sell you PlayStation 5 directly. Once they receive your payment, you’ll probably never hear from them again.

So be very careful which Twitter accounts you follow. Some scammers use account names and avatars that are very similar to legitimate account names. It’s best to only follow accounts that link to trusted sellers.

“The scary thing is there are a lot of scam accounts trying to get legitimate accounts back,” said Mr Swider. “It’s hard to tell them apart.”

Other bots to avoid are automatic payment tools like browser plugins that refresh websites and try to order PlayStation for you. SV Yesvanth said that many retailer sites have systems that detect orders placed by non-humans, so using these tools may cause your order to fail.

Beyond following some bots and setting alerts for your phone, you can turn the odds in your favor with a few steps:

  • Create a membership account at retail sites like GameStop and Best Buy and pre-fill your mailing address and credit card information. Mr. Swider said this would speed up payment in precious seconds.

  • On rare occasions, PlayStation orders failed in the middle of a credit card transaction. On some store sites, such as Amazon, you can: buy gift credit SV Yesvanth said for yourself, which allows you to bypass the credit card verification process. (The downside is that this strategy tries to buy you the console from a specific retailer.)

  • Some online stores have quirks. At Best Buy, for example, you shouldn’t refresh the website after clicking the “add to cart” button – this could result in losing your PlayStation. Mr. Swider regularly posts live YouTube videos guiding people through the different payment processes and SV Yesvanth and Mr. Hirczy Host group chats on Discord where people discuss what works for them.

At the end of the day, the effort it takes to buy a product may seem ridiculous. But in an age where frenzied customers are competing for even hand sanitizer and toilet paper, bots can pave the way to victory.


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