Microsoft may replace 'old world' Xbox Series X pre-order system – but with what?

Xbox Series X controller share button
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X pre-orders sold out with minutes of going live on September 22, leaving many Xbox fans clamoring to get their hands on a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S on launch day before stock disappeared once more – and it's no secret that buying a next-gen Xbox has been difficult.

Microsoft is fully aware of the issues around Xbox Series X pre-orders and stock, even issuing an apology for stock shortages and stating that these shortages would likely continue until April 2021. But, in addition to this, it looks like the company may also be internally working to shake up the current iteration of its Xbox pre-order system.

In a recent interview with The Verge, Xbox boss Phil Spencer stated that he believes the current pre-order system is outdated and revealed that the company is discussing implementing a deposit system in the future instead.

"We’ve had real discussions internally about, should I be able to reserve my slot? I’ll put some money down, I know my machine’s getting built January 20, and I’ll get it on February 1," Spencer said. "We have customers that would do that today."

The current Xbox pre-order system sees pre-orders opening six to eight weeks before the console's launch date. Microsoft tells the retailer what percentage of the stock they're allocated that the company wants made available for pre-orders while the rest is held back for launch day purchases. 

This potential new system could see fans being able to put a deposit down for an Xbox pre-order ahead of time to reserve it, with a clear delivery date, without having to queue outside a store or keep a constant eye on when stock becomes available.

"We want people to feel like there’s some consoles to go buy, and it’s not just the day where everybody gets to go pick up their console," Spencer continued. "I don’t know if that’s the right decision in today’s world. That’s very old world thinking, people are going to go line up outside of a store, kind of last decade thinking. I think we should challenge ourselves on that. Is that really the supply chain through the consumer that we’re talking about, that is a reality? We talked to our retail partners about this as well."

Disappointed fans and companies alike

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)

Spencer also discussed how both himself and Sony's Jim Ryan have "lamented" how the Xbox Series X and PS5 pre-orders have gone, respectively.

"I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models," Spencer said. "It could be, reserve your slot. It could be doing things more direct with the customer. Still could have the retailer fulfill the order, but just so people can have more clarity on when they can get a console. It’s something we’re working on."

Xbox Series X stock is still hard to come by, but we're expecting a restock at Argos (UK) and Walmart (US) today. Check out our dedicated page on where to buy Xbox Series X for all the latest updates.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.