Amazon takes on PS5 and Xbox scalpers with a new invite system

The goal is to help legitimate shoppers get their hands on in-demand products.

Aaron Souppouris/Engadget

Amazon is trying to fend off scalpers and bots that snag all of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles before you can secure one. It's rolling out an invite-based ordering option for high-demand products that are in low supply to help legitimate shoppers get their hands on the items.

The invite option is available now for PS5 in the US. It will be enabled for Xbox Series X in the coming days. The company told TechCrunch it plans to use the system for more products and in other countries.

Requesting an invitation doesn't cost anything and you don't need to be a Prime member. When you visit the PS5 page on Amazon, there's now a "request invitation" button — you may need to click the "new and used" link to see it alongside the other ordering options.


Amazon will assess whether an account that requests an invitation is authentic by looking at things like the account creation date and purchase history. If it believes you are, indeed, a human and your invite request is granted, Amazon will send you an email with instructions on how to buy the product.

You'll have a certain time period in which to complete your purchase before the invite expires and you'll see a countdown on the product page. Amazon will dish out more invites for a hot-ticket item as it receives more stock.

Sony has a similar invite system on its PlayStation Direct site, where it sells the PS5 in limited quantities. It would have been nice if Amazon had implemented its version before the consoles arrived in November 2020, but c'est la vie.

Although requesting an invitation won't guarantee that you'll be able to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X from Amazon, it could help. What's more, it might mean you don't have to participate in the rush to secure one whenever there's a restock.

There are other ways Amazon could fend off scalpers too, such as limiting the price of items for Marketplace sellers. At the time of writing, a third-party seller is offering the PS5 disc version on Amazon for $999 — double the console's retail price. Others are selling it for around $800.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.