The Console Purchase Pilot program is now available to Xbox Insiders who sign up on their Xbox One consoles, Microsoft announced in a Tweet today. Not everyone who signs up will be guaranteed a slot because of limited space, however.
The pilot program follows comments made last year by Xbox head Phil Spencer, who said that the current issues would “push us to think about new models. 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.”
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have repeatedly sold out within minutes of retailers posting new stock, largely due to scalpers who go on to sell the consoles for two to three times their retail price, so this strategy should work. Sony already sells consoles straight to consumers through its PlayStation Direct program. Scalping has become such a problem that UK politicians are considering banning the practice.
Today we're introducing the Console Purchase Pilot, allowing US #XboxInsiders on Xbox One to register for a chance to reserve an Xbox Series X|S console. Check the Xbox Insider Hub on Xbox One for details. Limited space is available and not all who register will be selected. pic.twitter.com/MBkQmbSDWc
— Xbox Insider (@xboxinsider) May 11, 2021