If you're eager to be one of the first gamers to get your hands on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One but haven't pre-ordered either console yet, you might be in for a rude awakening.
While major video game retailers like Amazon and GameStop had already begun halting pre-orders for particular editions of one console or the other as early as June, this week tipped the scales toward what will most likely be another chaotic launch period for the next-generation consoles, complete with the long lines in front of local Best Buy outlets and Black Friday-esque stampedes veteran gamers know all too well.
While neither Sony or Microsoft has given a specific release date, both companies have promised their consoles will be available at retail in November.
"After a crazy and exciting month, we've sold through our initial allocations of PS4 and Xbox One," Amazon announced Wednesday on its video games Facebook page. The e-commerce giant said that while it is still accepting pre-orders for both consoles, it will no longer guarantee that customers will receive either one at launch. Just a day earlier, GameStop confirmed to the video game magazine Game Informer that it was no longer accepting PlayStation 4 pre-orders, having already told Polygon in late June that it hit its launch cap for Xbox One units.
As for Best Buy, the store is still accepting pre-orders for the PlayStation 4, but the retailer's Xbox One Launch Edition was listed as "sold out online" by Tuesday. Other major retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are still accepting pre-orders of both devices, though it remains unclear how well-equipped either of these companies will make individual outlets across the U.S. come the 2013 holiday season.
Given their long lifespans relative to other areas of consumer electronics, the initial launch of video game consoles tend to be all the more chaotic thanks to a combination of pent-up consumer demand and the myriad pressures of releasing a largely untested device to a global audience. While customers and console manufacturers alike might be hoping for an easier launch window than the last seven-year storm, gamers might do themselves more favors by preparing for another bumpy ride.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.