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Here's why you can't find Xbox Series X deals this Christmas (and how to get one)

Xbox Series X deals this Christmas
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Christmas is fast approaching with deals on everything from high-end headphones to world-class whisky. However, try locating an Xbox Series X in the sales and you'll likely come up blank. (You'll struggle to find a PS5 deal too, but that's another story). So what is the deal with Xbox stock? 

Both the top-of-the-line Series X and disc-less Series S have been in short supply since launching on November 10th 2020. In the case of the Xbox Series X, the situation has become so tough that simply finding any Xbox Series X stock is a 'deal' in itself.

The good news is that Christmas could be a golden opportunity to score an Xbox console. Retailers such as Amazon, Game, Walmart, Best Buy and Argos have all seen waves of Xbox stock lately, so we could be set for more drops during December.

Finding an Xbox Series X deal isn't rocket science but does require you to deploy a few little tricks. We'll reveal them in a moment, but first, let's answer the question that has plagued store managers and the general public for the last 12 months: why is the Xbox Series X in short supply?

Supply chain bottlenecks, chip shortages and scalpers (folks who snap-up multiple consoles to resell online at huge markups) have made it a struggle to get hold of the Xbox Series S... and nigh-on impossible to buy the more powerful Xbox Series X.

Microsoft's troubles can be traced back to the events of March 2020 when much of Europe, Australia and the USA was forced into lockdown by COVID-19. Xbox pre-orders began on 22nd September 2020 and sold out within days, swiftly followed by the first batch of consoles in November. Xbox Series X restocks proved just as scarce. 

A combination of shipping delays and booming demand for home entertainment devices – including Microsoft's first flagship gaming system for three years  – left chip makers scrambling to fulfil orders. And without the chips, the Series X is effectively a very fancy boat anchor.

Xbox Series X console: View latest stock at Amazon

Xbox Series X console: View latest stock at Amazon
The Xbox Series X is here and it offers 4K gaming at 120Hz, 3D Dolby Atmos audio and an array of epic games from the Call of Duty, Gears, Assassin's Creed and Forza franchises. There's also the option of the cheaper, all-digital Series S, which currently in stock at Amazon UK for £250.

In February 2021, Microsoft's head of investor relations told The New York Times that Microsoft had "sold every Xbox unit it had last quarter," adding that supply was "likely to be constrained at least through June."

Days later, US President Joe Biden – an unlikely Xbox fan – took matters into his own hands, announcing an investigation into stock shortages and promising legislation to boost the supply of semiconductor chips used in both the Xbox Series X and PS5. No, really.

Meanwhile, scalpers continued to hoover up Xbox Series X consoles, leaving gamers to vent their frustration on Twitter and in September 2021, Xbox boss Phil Spencer opined that "Series X stock issues will last into next year".

"People really want this new generation of consoles... and they want the new functionality," Spencer said. "We're working hard to bring them to market but it's going to be a challenge that we'll work through for quite a while."

We'd suggest keeping an eye on Twitter (@XboxStockAlerts is a reliable source of tips) and stock tracking sites such as Stock Informer. Combine solid  intel with the tricks below, and you should find yourself stuffing an Xbox into your stocking this holiday.

1. Sign up and sign in
Open a free account with all the major Xbox Series X retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Game, Microsoft, Best Buy, Argos, Sam’s Club, Smyths Toys etc) and sign in before stock drops. That way, you won't lose your console before you checkout. 

2. Fill your basket
Add the Xbox of your choice to your shopping basket ahead of the drop. So when product goes live, you'll be poised to strike. Remember: you're competing with scalpers, so every second counts. 

3. Download the app
Most retailers have iOS/Android phone apps. And since apps tend to be more stable than websites, they're less prone to crashing when Xbox Series X stock goes live. The Amazon app is a must. Those in the UK should also download the Argos app.

4. Join a loyalty program
In the UK/US, Amazon Prime members get first crack at any Xbox Series X stock. Not a Prime member? You're effectively going into battle with one hand tied behind your back. (Here a 30-day free Prime trial if you need it.) Xbox hunters in the States should also consider joining Walmart Plus.

So, get to it! Persistence pays off. Now's also a great time to stock up on games and accessories, which are at least easier to come by. The best Xbox Series X deals include 71% off Watch Dogs Legion (was £58, now £17), 63% off Madden NFL (was $70, now $26) and 1-month of Xbox Ultimate Game Pass for £1/$1.  

MORE:

The best gaming TVs for Xbox Series X

Where to find the best Xbox Live Gold deals

And the best PS5 deals

Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.