The system is called Console Purchase Pilot, and gives anyone eager to get a console the ability to reserve one for purchase. This is being done through the Xbox Insider Hub for both Xbox One and Windows 10 users.
There’s a catch though. While it’s possible to sign up to the Console Purchase Pilot through either Xbox One or PC, you can only reserve and buy an Xbox Series X/S using an Xbox One. The purchase must be made this way, with the transaction coming through an Xbox One console.
The program is limited to US users only at the moment. Not all users that sign up will be eligible to purchase a console either. This is part of the program being a test by Microsoft, but also probably because of the lack of available units.
Both Sony and Microsoft have suffered at the hands of scalpers when it came to last year’s launches for their machines. Each one saw a group of scalpers work together using a bot to purchase as many consoles as possible. These were then sold through third-party sites at a higher price, costing many fans their chance at getting a console, or forcing them to pay ridiculous prices, often more than double.
In 2020, more people were stuck indoors and had the time to work as a group like this. There’s also an argument that Sony in particular was way too lax with the PS5’s launch, leading to more opportunities for scalpers to take advantage.
This year, there are more people back at work and in less need of extra cash, but there are fewer consoles on the market due to the semiconductor shortage affecting all console manufacturers. Should this issue persists, then these consoles should only be sold through programs like Microsoft’s, since they’re a fair way of distributing what little stock is available.
Only time will tell how successful the program is at keeping scalpers at bay with the next launch of more Xbox Series X/S consoles.