Okay, so PlayStation 5 pre-orders were kind of a mess. But amidst all the chaos, confusion, excitement, and anger that came with PS5 pre-orders, I learned a valuable lesson about friendship. Cue the sappy, moral-at-the-end-of-the-story music here if you want. But I really mean it. PS5 pre-orders taught me a lot about friendship, especially in the year 2020.
As anyone reading this knows, 2020 hasn't been like other years. Let's face it. It's sucked. Global pandemics, wild fires, hurricanes, political unrest, environmental disasters – sheesh, it's like a Michael Bay disaster movie. But most of all, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we interact with other people, including friends.
Why PS5 Pre-Orders Were So Nuts
PlayStation 5 pre-orders were always gonna be crazy. Even if you knew where and when to pre-order a PS5, it was never going to be simple.
The console had been hyped for a long time, and after a week of Sony promoting the new PS5 Showcase, it was just always going to be this huge, insane thing. But it's also 2020, and that means social distancing, which means unlike previous years when hundreds (even thousands) of friends camped out at Best Buys and Walmarts around the country, pretty much everyone was going to pre-order a PS5 online.
Does that take some of the fun out of it? Maybe a little. There aren't any late night campouts or lines going down the block. I remember people being lined up in my hometown for like half a mile for the PS2 back in the early 2000s. It was crazy, sure, but it also felt like being a part of some big zeitgeist moment. It's probably why so many people do it. It's like Coachella, but you get a new video game console at the end of the night.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, info about when you can pre-order PS5 was extra crazy. First, online retailers went live with pre-orders the night BEFORE Sony said PS5 pre-orders would start. So even though we thought we knew when you could pre-order a PS5, we didn't. Walmart went live, then Target, then Best Buy. Late into the night, Amazon followed suit.
And the entire time, PlayStation stayed quiet on social media. The entire internet, however, went crazy asking themselves, “Can I pre-order a PS5?” and being told nope by every single online retailer. (Not because they weren't allowed to, but because PS5 stock was selling out within minutes, if not seconds.)
A Tale Of Two Guys And The PS5
I just happened to luck into seeing PlayStation 5 pre-orders going live. So I texted by best buddy (and fellow Geek to Geek-er) B.J. about it, since I knew he wanted one too. What followed was both of us frantically trying to add PS5s into our carts on a variety of websites. We both managed to get PS5s into our carts on Target's website, but mine sold out while in the cart. Bummer, dude.
It was like being inside a store, holding the PS5 in my hands, and then getting coldcocked by some guy I'd never met, who went on to steal my PS5. And while I was lying sprawled out on this metaphorical storeroom floor, B.J. made it to the checkout register and managed to actually snag a PS5 pre-order.
Was I happy for him? Yes. Was I jealous? Also yes.
So for an hour afterwards, he and I kept trying to find me one. He also got his wife Jennifer to try on her phone. All three of us, just using our phones to try to nab me a PS5 pre-order. It's the 2020, social-distancing equivalent of waiting outside the doors of Walmart for the doors to open so a mob of shoppers can all try to grab the same item. Safety in numbers, and all that. Sadly, though, that first night was a bust.
Do I Even Want To Pre-Order A PS5?
I wasn't super upset. After all, I wasn't even 100% convinced I wanted a PlayStation 5. I was kind of interested in the new Ratchet and Clank game, and Sackboy might be cool. But neither of those games were worth spending $500 for a new console. I typically wait a year or so before buying the latest console, so it can get its bugs worked out and the cost is a little cheaper. Then, I saw Final Fantasy 16 at the PS5 Showcase.
If there's one game that would unequivocally get me to buy a PS5, it'd be Dragon Quest 12. But FF16‘s return to high fantasy was certainly interesting, and it was made by the same development team as the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. So…that certainly got my attention. Maybe I'd like a PS5, after all, especially since Final Fantasy 16 was being promoted as a timed exclusive.
So, I wasn't completely upset about missing out on PS5 pre-orders. But then the next night rolled around, and Walmart got restocks. B.J. offered to help me try to nab one, so we both stayed up and tried like crazy to add one to our carts once the pre-orders went live. It didn't work. Once again, some stranger coldcocked me, but this time I didn't even have a PS5 in my cart. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
Pre-Orders, Friendship, and the PlayStation 5
About an hour later, I got a call from B.J. That was weird. I mean, we habitually text every single day like those two girls in that “IDK my BFF Jill” AT&T commercial from a few years ago. But we hardly ever call each other. Something was either VERY wrong…or VERY right. Since we'd been trying to get a PS5 all night, I thought maybe it was about that.
Sure enough, the sly old fox pulled through. “Hey, I got you a PS5,” he said. And I wanted to scream. I didn't, of course, because I'm a grownass man with three kids who were all sleeping, but you can appreciate the sentiment.
And that's what friendship is really all about. It's staying up at night to try to nab a PlayStation 5 for your buddy. It's especially meaningful in a year like this, when forced distance can sometimes mean friendships fade away. Sure, maybe you can't hang out on your friend's couch or stay up until midnight outside of GameStop for the newest console to release, but there are other ways to show you care. There are other things to unite us. And sometimes, maybe it's something as simple and silly as staying up late to pre-order a PS5.
If you enjoyed the post, you can find more at DragonQuestAustin.com. You can also check out my book, The Dragon Quest Book: Interviews and Reflections on the Fandom in the West, available at Amazon and other retailers.