Is it safe to buy PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X directly?

The video game industry, like many other industries, is affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Major game competitions and events have been cancelled. Video games are lagging behind as developers move to remote work setups. Everything has a good reason. These cancellations, delays, and adjustments are important to ensure the safety of the people who create and play the game.

The November pandemic will impact the industry’s new console season with the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Fans face the unusual and timely question of whether it’s safe to buy the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X directly during the launch. ??

In early November, Sony announced that it would not sell the PlayStation 5 at retail stores on its launch date. This is a measure to limit the crowd. “Don’t plan to camp or line up at a local retailer on the launch date to find a PS5 console to buy,” said Sid Schumann, communications director at Sony Interactive Entertainment. .. “Keep it safe, stay home and order online.” A person who picks up at a local retail store “can pick up at a designated reservation time.”[s]”Sony said.Similarly, with Best Buy Walmart On Thursday, it announced that the console would also be sold only online.

However, with the release of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, respectively, on November 10th and 12th, stores can become more crowded than usual, putting both employees and shoppers at risk. Sony’s policies may help reduce congestion in stores during the console launch date. However, some shoppers can feel uneasy, which can be a problem.

To answer the question of whether it is safe to buy a new console directly, Polygon consulted with epidemiologists and health professionals to determine the risk of launching a crowded console. Frankly, store congestion on November 10th and 12th is, of course, dangerous to shoppers and employees on other days as well.

What about the launch of next-generation consoles?

The launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will take place during the proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the United States. On November 4, the United States first experienced more than 100,000 new cases of COVID-19, and the number of cases has been steadily increasing over the weeks.

Rally rules vary by country and state, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says face-to-face meetings are a risky activity and people need to stay socially distant and wear masks to reduce spread It states. As the number of people grows, and how long people get together, the risk increases. Community infection rates are also important to monitor — higher rates mean higher risks.

There is no way to make sure that going directly to the store is 100% safe. According to Dr. Chrisia Lindan, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of San Francisco, the safest way to avoid getting infected with COVID-19 is to stay at home.

However, you are not necessarily can not Go to the store — so you, your family members, and Employees working in the store. Stores can mitigate risk and ensure a safe experience for customers and employees.Store should We have policies in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19, but keep in mind that minimizing risk is not the same as eliminating it.

Polygon asked several retailers about the safety plan for the console launch week. Major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and GameStop didn’t provide detailed information. Of course, the store will continue with the standard COVID process, but refuses to share plans for potential increased congestion. However, some retailers have opted out of selling consoles in-store for at least some time, hoping to keep the crowd low.

Photo: James Bareham / Polygon

Evidence is heading in line, but perhaps retailers aren’t expecting an extra crowd: in September, dozens of people in front of the local GameStop store after console pre-orders sold out quickly online. I pre-ordered PlayStation 5 side by side. Despite Sony’s announcement that the PlayStation 5 will only be available online at launch, some consumers expecting to buy it directly on November 12 will receive the message with just a week’s notice. I don’t know.

It’s clear that buying a next-generation console online and delivering it home is the safest option for your own personal safety. At some stores, such as Target, customers can also buy online or use car side pickups at the nearest store. However, it is unclear which protocol has been introduced into the distribution and can endanger warehouse and shipping workers.

Can I go to the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 store?

As mentioned earlier, it’s up to you to go to the store to buy the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. You need to assess the risk on your own terms to enable the safest experience possible. Some things to consider are whether you live with or are in close contact with people who are at high risk of complications from COVID-19, such as the elderly and people with immunodeficiency. In that case, your decision puts other people directly at risk.

If you decide to shop directly, there are some additional things to consider.

One thing to think about early on is how different this trip is from traveling to other stores in the last 6 months. The launch of the console often attracted a large number of people in the previous generation, but the combination of the pandemic and the ease of online and pre-ordering could make the store much less crowded than before. there is. Calling a local store or drive shortly after release and buying a new console if you’re not too busy isn’t much different from a regular post-COVID grocery trip if it’s in stock. .. Wear a mask, keep a distance, and be respectful and responsible. However, when the store is crowded, things get a little more complicated and the risk of infection begins to increase.

Medical experts said the biggest concern was the potential for large numbers of people to gather in poorly ventilated stores, as this is the perfect environment for the virus to spread. Stores must be able to handle all interactions and pickups in a controlled manner to enable social distance. The first thing to do before picking up a next-generation console directly is to call some local stores to see what their plans are. Do you have any plans for a crowded store?

If you plan to congest your store, it’s best to keep shoppers outside the low risk of spreading the virus.

“The other is to keep a limited number of people in the store at one time so that people can get the console and move to the next place to pay for it. Everything will be together, “said Dr. Atif Kucaswadia, who holds a PhD. In epidemiology.

Xbox Series X Video Game Console shot on a dark gray background

Photo: Polygon Henry Hargreaves

Stores may also rely on more basic rules, such as applying mandatory mask policies. According to experts, it’s effective and easy. Each expert we talked to warned against traveling to stores that don’t need masks, even if they were wearing their own masks. For example, GameStop customers in the United States need to wear masks in the store, and the number of customers who can enter the store at one time is limited. However, according to GameStop’s internal note released in July, GameStop employees cannot deny service to unmasked customers.

“The mask is not to give it to you, but to prevent you from giving it to others,” Kukaswadia said. “You are wearing a mask to protect others, and if you are doing it, you are playing your part to help others shop. [safely].. “

He continued: “But if you are the only person wearing a mask, you can still choose [the virus] up. “It’s still likely.” One possible solution to such a problem, suggested by Kukaswadia, is simply to find the least crowded time in the store and come back at that time.

“Everyone should be masked,” said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, senior vice dean of health policy at the Jacobs Medical College and Biomedical Sciences at Buffalo University.

Regardless of the store policy, there are other things to consider. For example, what is the spread of the virus in your area? Is it an area where the number of cases is quite small, or is it a widespread area?

“If the COVID-19 infection rate in the community is above 5% or rising, it’s really unwise to go to a crowded store,” says Nielsen.

What is the best way to buy Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5?

It’s not infection prevention yet, but according to the experts we talked about, curbside pickups are about as close as you can get. Curved side pickups, especially if both the customer and the employee are wearing masks, or if the employee simply puts the item in the car without interacting closely with the customer, are quite likely to spread the COVID-19. Its low value makes it easily the most preferred option. To further mitigate the risk, some retailers allocate booking time to people who pick up the console this way. Best Buy customers already Schedule a reservation to receive pre-orders at the store.. Other retailers may have similar systems. On twitter, Target writes that neither Xbox Series X nor PlayStation 5 is available to walk-up customers.

The PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which stands on the left side of PlayStation 5, has a Dual Sense controller on the right side.

Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

“”[Curbside pickup is] It’s really the closest thing to home delivery, “said Dr. Kukaswadia. “Very convenient and very easy. You are not interacting with the people you would interact with in the store.”

He continued. “What we know [COVID-19] — And this can change — it’s not really long-lived on the surface. So, if you really want to be safe, you can take it home and take the box out and leave it on the table for a few hours, or take it out and wipe the sides to ensure 100% Lysol. .. It may be overkill, but in COVID terminology, overdoing feels worth it. ”

When it comes to in-store options, nothing is 100% safe, but it’s best to go to the store when it’s least crowded. On the one hand, this can mean waiting a few days to get one of the new consoles until the line goes down. After all, Amazon sent an email to customers who pre-ordered the new console, informing them that they might not arrive on the launch date. Most stores may have limited supply of consoles for customers who did not pre-order. Your safest option may be to simply wait a few days when the launch day hype subsides.

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