U.K. retailers struggle with Xbox Series X pre-orders

After a difficult start for the pre-order season with the PlayStation 5, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X isn’t off to the best of starts in the U.K.

Once Xbox Series X pre-orders went live this morning in the U.K., retailers Game and Smyths both saw their websites go down. In a tweet early on Tuesday morning, Game said that it was forced to put up a “holding page” while it worked to “improve the customer journey for our pre-order customers.” Smyths apologized for having its site go down and told customers that they could still pre-order Microsoft’s new console at its retail stores.

In interviews with Eurogamer, sources at the retailers said the sites went down after a host of problems mounted one on top of the next. At Game, for instance, the site buckled under the pressure of players seeking pre-orders for Microsoft’s Xbox All Access program, which allows them to pay a monthly fee to get a new console and play online.

The Xbox Series X program costs $35 per month for 24 months and includes an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Shoppers seeking the Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate can pay $25 per month for 24 months.

Additionally, the source told Eurogamer that the site experienced a glitch in its delivery system, and a sale cropped up on the website in error.

The problem didn’t appear to affect other U.K. retailers on Tuesday morning. Microsoft, Amazon, and the ShopTo online stores were still working and accepting pre-orders early this morning.

Still, the problems could be a sign of what’s to come in the U.S. With U.S. pre-orders just minutes away, retailers will need to be ready for a deluge of players seeking launch day access to Microsoft’s next console. Whether they’ll be able to stay up and not buckle under the pressure remains to be seen.

Demand for next-generation hardware appears to be extremely strong. Last week, Sony launched its own PlayStation 5 pre-orders, and units quickly sold out at retailers across the internet. Over the weekend, Sony apologized for angering customers who missed out and said that it plans to make more units available in the coming weeks.

For now, though, all eyes are on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Digital Trends has a guide to finding Xbox pre-orders and getting the console on launch day.

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