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Ahead of the highly-anticipated release of the PlayStation 5 in North America next week, Sony has announced that the launch will be online only.

In a post on the official PlayStation blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment's Sid Shuman informed customers that all day-of-launch sales "will be conducted through the online stores of our retail partners." To put it simply, you shouldn't expect to stroll up to Walmart on the PS5 launch day to secure a console. The decision was made to keep staff, customers, and retailers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The move will impact launch day worldwide, Nov. 12 or Nov. 19 depending on the region. "Please don't plan on campaign out or lining up at your local retailer on launch day in hopes of finding a PS5 console for purchase," wrote Shuman. "Be safe, stay home, and place your order online." Anyone who has pre-ordered online for pick-up at their retailer of choice will still be able to do so if they follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 didn't exactly go smoothly when they finally went live in September. Sony admitted as much after gamers expressed their frustration with the experience. "Let's be honest: PS5 pre-orders could have been a lot smoother," the official PlayStation account tweeted. Eventually, more consoles were made available to pre-order, and they went live at specific times rather than the unorganized chaos of the initial pre-orders.

After much speculation and anticipation, the PlayStation 5 will finally hit store shelves in North America on Nov. 12. It will be competing against the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S, the latest consoles from Microsoft.