New York (CNN Business)If you were hoping to preorder the PlayStation 5 as soon as possible, be prepared to jump through several hoops.
Sony on Thursday opened registration for a chance to preorder the next-generation game console, but only select users will be invited to preorder. Which users? Sony’s criteria are a bit vague.Those who are up for testing their luck can go to this page.Sony may be taking this approach because it’s hard to anticipate demand in the current economic climate. It doesn’t want to be stuck with a pile of PlayStations in the warehouse.”These are not the times to be left with inventory and the current economic downturn makes it harder to predict what demand will really be like,” said Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst at Creative Strategies. She noted that customers who are selected in this lottery system may feel like they’re in a “special club.”Read MoreFor now, sign-up is limited to existing PlayStation customers in the US. Sony (SNE) still hasn’t said how much the console will cost or the date it will be released.To sign up, you’ll have to enter your PlayStation Online ID, which you create when you first register an older console, such as a PlayStation 2, 3 or 4. After entering your Online ID twice, the page from Sony will thank you, but it won’t be immediately clear whether you’re eligible to preorder.Sony said it will grant invites by email based on users’ “previous interests and PlayStation activities.”If you do get an invite, you’ll be able to preorder for a “limited time,” according to Sony, and there’s a chance the available consoles will sell out before you’re able to reserve one.Sony is limiting customers to one PlayStation 5 per person, and a limit of 2 controllers. Other accessories including cameras and charging stations can also be preordered.Those outside the United States are still able to order a PlayStation 5 if they get an invite, but they must ship their order to a US address or it’ll be canceled.Those who have never owned a PlayStation but want to get in on the next-gen console can still buy it — eventually — when preorders become available at stores like GameStop, Best Buy (BBY), Target and Walmart. Retailers are letting people sign up to be notified when preorders become available.By now, Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony have unveiled most details of what we can expect to see in the new consoles, including the design, technical specifications and a slate of new games due in the future. But notably, the price and release date are still a mystery. While in previous console release years, Microsoft and Sony would have made this information available by August, this year, they appear to be letting the hype build.Some customers may want to wait to see if the consoles are worth the upgrade. And the impact of the pandemic on many people’s income could influence the decision.”There will be a lot of gamers happy to get by on their current consoles until they’re forced to upgrade to play the newest release of a beloved series,” Laine Nooney, assistant professor and historian of video games at New York University, told CNN Business last month.