Sony made the PlayStation 5 launch online-only, but that didn’t keep Target and Walmart from descending into internet chaos



graphical user interface, text, application: The checkout screen on Walmart's web store when it crashed on Thursday afternoon. Walmart


© Walmart
The checkout screen on Walmart’s web store when it crashed on Thursday afternoon. Walmart

After months of anticipation, Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched on Thursday. 

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Because of the pandemic, Sony decided not to go the traditional console launch route and isn’t selling 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 is to have preordered the console months ago through one of several retailers.

Beyond that, PlayStation 5 buyers have 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 at noon was so voluminous that it caused the entire Walmart

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The PlayStation 5’s online-only launch descended into chaos

After months of anticipation, Sony’s new PlayStation 5 launched on Thursday. 

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, Sony decided not to go the traditional console launch route and isn’t selling 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 is to have pre-ordered the console months ago through one of several different retailers. 

Beyond that, potential PlayStation 5 buyers have one recourse on launch day: The digital storefronts of major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. And starting at 12 p.m. ET on November 12, people got a look at how well that system worked.

The flood of customers at 12 p.m. ET was so voluminous that it caused the entire Walmart web store to crash. A technical error message said simply,

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