GameStop became the best PS5 restock source in 2021 – here’s how


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GameStop has become the preeminent source of PS5 restock opportunities, and if you follow our PS5 restock Twitter tracker Matt Swider – follow and turn on notifications – you’ll get alerts when we find PS5 in stock anywhere in the US.

But how did GameStop become the go-to source over other top American retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart and Target? There are a number of changes GameStop made in 2021 that gave it access to more consoles and, at the same time, prevented resellers and bots from scooping up its valuable inventory.

Now, GameStop isn’t the perfect restock retailer for everyone, mainly for the same reasons it’s the best place to shop for others. Not everyone wants bundles, or to sign up for a year-long membership – some people will never use it. But for desperate gamers who aren’t resellers, this is the best advice we have to offer today.

Look out for this GameStop PS5 restock alert in among your Twitter notifications:

PS5 restock Twitter alerts in US from Matt Swider

(Image credit: Twitter / Matt Swider)

How to buy a PS5 restock

Never buy from other Twitter users – ever. They’re all scams. Only buy from the US stores Matt alerts you about. No one will sell a PS5 for just $550.

► Step-by-step YouTube help: Subscribe to Matt’s PS5 restock live stream to get YouTube notifications and tips on how to car the console.

Sony Direct email invite? Sign up for Matt’s weekly newsletter to get insight into how to open yourself up to the email invite from Sony.

1. GameStop sells PS5 bundles – and it’s helpful

GameStop always has PS5 for sale bundled with PS5 games, accessories, PlayStation Plus and/or GameStop gift cards. This causes the $499 PS5 Disc console to inflate in price, anywhere from $705 to $750, according to our exclusive data.

Yes, that puts the PS5 above MSRP, but everything included is at face value – for the most part (one time, one of the included games had gone on sale for $20 off at other retailers and was still at its original price in a fluke situation). So it’s a good deal for gamers who intend to buy PS5 games anyway (that’s the point).

Who’s it a bad deal for? Mostly resellers who can’t make a profit off of PS5 bundles. It’s harder to sell an in-demand PlayStation 5 console when you also have to find someone who likes Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart at full price when that game (and all games and accessories) are readily available.

We can’t emphasize this enough: PS5 bundles, while seemingly anti-consumer at first, are actually a helpful way to cut out the resellers and their bots. In-person restocks also see resellers, often using stand-ins, but not at GameStop when it’s PS5 bundles for sale.

2. GameStop actually announces PS5 restock times

The GameStop PS5 restock date and time are actually known at least 90 minutes in advance of orders going live. This allows Matt Swider to send a quick alert in the morning (warning people about the restock) and set up a YouTube live stream in order to walk people through the add-to-cart and checkout process in real-time.

Because of this GameStop PS5 restock live stream, we’ve seen more success from GameStop than any other retailer in 2021, with more than 2,000 next-gen consoles being bought through our alerts alone. Walmart comes close to rivaling that, but not topping it.

3. GameStop restock for PowerUp Pro Rewards members

This is another reason why GameStop has become our primary recommendation for true gamers (and their spouses and parents) to get their hands on a PS5 restock: it requires a membership to the PowerUp Pro Rewards.

The cost? A reasonable $15 a year (not per month) and it comes with benefits like a $5 monthly reward certificate (can be used online or in-person at GameStop; totals $60 in savings over the course of a year), extra trade-in credit for your old games, and a gaming magazine subscription. 

Note: there’s a $20 version of PowerUp Rewards Pro for the print-based magazine, but you can save $5 by going with the digital edition. The more expensive membership won’t make a difference.

Again, like the bundles, this is a minor barrier-to-entry rewards gamers, displeases resellers and makes GameStop some money (they make little to nothing off of console sales). That $15 eats into resellers’ profit, especially when it becomes harder to buy multiple consoles under a single paid account (so they’d need multiple accounts all paying $15).

4. GameStop – sometimes – lets you take back bundled PS5 games

We’ve done it before and so have some of the followers of Matt Swider. It depends on the GameStop employee behind the counter that day.

You can take back games included in your bundle, say if you don’t want NBA 2K22 and want Demon’s Souls when they’re both the same price these days if you go for the pre-owned version of Demon’s Souls.

Some GameStop employees won’t do this for you – try another GameStop or even a different employee at another time – and some will ask you to open up the game to turn it in as a used game for something like $30 – don’t do that either.

GameStop’s official policy is that bundled games and accessories can’t be taken back without returning the entire bundle, but we’ve found enough nice employees who are happy to see gamers happy with their PS5 purchase. 

PS5 restock GameStop in-store event Matt Swider

(Image credit: Matt Swider / Instagram)

5. GameStop did in-store PS5 restocks… once

The big news from last week (Thursday) was that there was a GameStop PS5 restock in-store event, and TechRadar was there to report on it in New York City.

No, the PS5 wasn’t on store shelves – that probably won’t happen until 2022 due to the global chip shortage, according to market analysts. But people lined up days in advance to be first in line for the in-person restock.

But, again, because GameStop has been forcing PlayStation 5 bundles (in this case it was $705 for gift cards and PlayStation Plus at face value, no actual games), people who showed up at the store right before they opened at 7:30am were able to get the last of the restock (and didn’t have to camp out overnight).

We’re still going to advise everyone to check online – in-store restocks remain rare in 2021. There’s only been one other restock, and that was the Best Buy PS5 restock in stores the week prior. But it’s a good sign for things to come.

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