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Retailers offer click-and-collect to avoid lockdown disrupting next-gen console launch

Game and Curry’s invite store pre-order customers to collect their next-gen consoles on launch day, but is that strictly in the spirit of allowing “takeaway” collections in lockdown?

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Game and Curry’s invite store pre-order customers to collect their next-gen consoles on launch day, but is that strictly in the spirit of allowing “takeaway” collections in lockdown?

It’s not the most important concern, with a million confirmed infections and over 50,000 dead, but the second full UK coronavirus lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for the next-generation console launch. The Xbox Series X and S launch on November 10, while PlayStation 5 launches on November 19, a week later than some territories.

The UK, meanwhile – assuming the devolved governments follow suit – is going into its second full coronavirus lockdown on November 5, for four weeks. That means the Xbox Series X|S launch, and then the PlayStation 5 launch a week or so later, will fall smack bang in the middle of this national lockdown.

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In addition to pubs, restaurants and cafes that aren’t able to operate exclusively as takeaway businesses, all “non-essential retail” is set to close during the lockdown. In spite of Gamestop’s childish efforts earlier in the year, nobody would consider video game sales “essential retail” – like food or medicine – so it makes sense they’re closed.

And while lots of you have pre-ordered your PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles for home delivery, plenty of you opted for store collection. There’s something exciting about being there for the launch of something and Game, in particular, the specialist high street gaming retailer, has in recent years been offering midnight launches for any release that could be considered a big deal. The next-gen consoles are obviously a very big deal.

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So, if you have put down a deposit for store collection, what can be done? Both Game and electrical retailer Curry’s/PC World have suggested that if customers come in and pay the balance of their order before lockdown kicks in at close-of-play on Wednesday, November 4, they’ll be allowed to come in to make a “click-and-collect” pick-up for their PS5 or Xbox Series X|S on their respective launch days.

Other high street retailers that sell games consoles – like Smyth’s Toys and Argos – are yet to make a public statement on in-store collection pre-orders.

Now. This is obviously good news for people who’ve pre-ordered consoles. To not get your shiny new console in the middle of a full lockdown would be very upsetting. But I don’t recall reading anywhere in the lockdown announcement – unclear as it is with this omnishambles of a government – that electrical items and video game console pre-orders are suitable for takeaway/collection orders. That provision is clearly for things like food shopping, takeaway meals and prescriptions.

You could argue that video game consoles are not exactly in the spirit of the thing, and I would not be surprised to see inconsistent enforcement (or non-enforcement) from local police forces if Game/Curry’s stores are found to be “open” – albeit just for click-and-collect console orders – in the middle of a nationwide pandemic lockdown.

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Perhaps converting people’s in-store pre-orders to home delivery might have been the more sensible option? If the stock is already in store, then that explains why retailers are pushing the click-and-collect option, but maybe pressing their shop assistants into service as local delivery drivers for a few days might be the safer option? It will certainly be less likely to cause an issue with the local constabulary.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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