Last night, the UK government announced that from Thursday, England would go back to a form of coronavirus lockdown only slightly more lenient than the version first introduced in March. Lockdown 2 will be in place in England (not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which have their own devolved rules) from 5 November to 2 December, and both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be released during that time — so what happens to pre-orders?
First, the good news. In a TV address, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it quite clear that this lockdown wouldn’t be quite as severe as the first, with no limits on outside activity this time around, for example. That means that you can expect things to function at least as well as the initial March-to-July lockdown when deliveries continued largely as normal, minus some understandable delays due to sudden unprecedented demand.
That means that if you’ve pre-ordered your Xbox Series X or PS5 via the likes of Amazon, ShopTo or Very, then you can expect your new console to arrive at your door as expected. We wouldn’t rule out delays though: the consoles are huge items, and there’s a good chance that a surge in parcels may cause delays across the board due to limited space in delivery vans.
The real difference is likely to come to those who pre-ordered their consoles for collection — either to save on delivery costs, or because it was the only option. The Prime Minister did specifically state that “click-and-collect” services can remain open, which may prove an invaluable loophole for the consoles. But it’s far from guaranteed, given non-essential retail will specifically be ordered to close for the four-week period. And even the most dyed-in-the-wool gamer would concede that their hobby probably isn’t essential.
We reached out to Argos, Game and Currys for comment on what PS5 and Xbox Series X pre-order customers can expect to happen to their orders. At the time of writing, the latter two are yet to respond, but a spokesperson from Sainsbury’s — the company that owns Argos — did offer some clarity.
“For now customers can collect their purchases in our Argos standalone stores and our Argos stores and collection points inside Sainsbury’s,” the rep said. “We will be in touch with our customers if the location of their collection needs to change following the latest government guidance.”
For the time being, Xbox Series X and PS5 pre-orders in the United States seem safe, with all 50 states allowing retail to open in some function. It seems unlikely that that will change in the 10 to 12 days between now and the two consoles’ respective launch dates, but you can keep an eye on local restrictions via the New York Times’ interactive map.