What Is Best Buy Doing To Keep Gamers Safe At Next-Gen Launch Events?

Xbox-One-PlayStation-4-Preorder

Depending on where you pre-ordered your PS4 (if you did at all) there’s a myriad of payment structures and methods used to complete your transaction. For instance, GameStop allows you to place an initial pre-order on the hardware (or software), and anytime between that point and release you’re able to put additional funds toward the final purchase. Ideally paying the item off 100% before going to pick it up. Most retailers ask for at least 10% up front when it comes to pre-ordering consoles. This goes for both the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Which got me to thinking about the various protocols retailers will be implementing to make sure lines are moving and gamers are safe during next-gen launch events.

I recently inquired at my local Best Buy if I could add funds to my PS4 pre-order to pay the unit off prior to launch day. Mostly so I didn’t have to wait in line, outdoors, with a stack of money in my pocket to complete my transaction. I was surprised to hear that Best Buy’s highly antiquated pre-order system doesn’t let you pay the item off after the initial pre-order was placed. We all know that Best Buy is behind the times when it comes to being a gaming retailer, but I felt that this was more a safety issue.

Retailers like Walmart are open 24 hours, eliminating the need for gamers to stand outside, in the cold, with pockets full of money. Walmart’s pre-orders are also handled the same as a lay away request. Customers can add money to the purchase at any time. Best Buy corporate policy states that customers aren’t able to pay off any purchase prior to picking up the item in-store. As it pertains to the release of PS4, select stores will be opening at 12:01am on November 15th for the PlayStation 4 release. That means literally hundreds of people will be outside the store with a considerable amount of money in their pockets.

Things became really disconcerting after digging a bit deeper.  In light of the aforementioned information my next logical question for my local store manager referred to safety and security at the event. I asked her how the store was planning to keep their many customers safe during the midnight launch of the PlayStation 4. The exact quote from my store manager is as follows,

“We have procedures in place, but those types of inquiries are generally answered on a corporate level. There’s some things that I can’t discuss. I can only divulge information that would be considered available to all customers.”

After a twenty-minute conversation with corporate it was revealed that those types of inquiries are usually reserved for your local store manager. Due to the fact that security for said events is typically handled on a store by store basis. After being bounced around like a Best Buy customer volleyball I promptly thanked the corporate CSR and took to my writing.

There may be a difference between the retailer and GameStop in some way, but they’re both authorized to deal in used items, and therefore are typically considered a pawn shop of sorts. So why can’t I pay off my merchandise to avoid holding onto a fist full of dollars in the dead of night? With visions of so many Black Friday mobs, thefts, and the consideration of literally tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars on the line, I feel that I should have been given a concrete answer on the matter, and I wasn’t. So, in lieu of any type of answer on the matter, I beg my own question. Is Best Buy putting gamers at risk during next-gen launch events?

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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  • vashv17

    Yea this is why I pre-ordered mine from Amazon. Only trouble I have to deal with is waiting for the UPS/FedEx guy/gal.

  • Escopablobar

    Amazon all the way. I have never stood in line for any console launch and I never will. If I hadn’t preordered mine I would have waited the 3 or more months it would have taken to replenish supply. I do hope that everyone that attends these midnight launches have a safe experience.