An expert behind a popular PlayStation 5 account which has successfully helped thousands of people get their hands on the hottest Sony console of all time has exclusively shared his tips for the year ahead.
Those who follow the verified account, PS5 Stock UK on Twitter, have probably been wondering just who is behind the blue tick, and how they are getting insider knowledge on all things to do with the PlayStation 5.
Well, the Manchester Evening News got the chance to speak to the expert who owns not just the reputable account, which has more than 218,000 followers, but also Stock Checker – which tracks the stock of consoles across retailers worldwide.
Meet 21-year-old Talha Sonmez.
The avid gamer never expected to be such an expert on the subject but has found himself in the midst of a global phenomenon that is the PlayStation 5, not to mention the owner of a successful UK company, and social-media account all before the age of 25.
Let’s find out more about the person who probably is the reason why a PS5 is sitting in your home.
Talha, from London, has shared his predictions below on launches this year, what possibly could come next for Sony, what retailers have been the best and worst for stock, and why he’s dedicating his time to help others.
Where it all began
The PlayStation 5 officially launched in the UK on November 19, 2020 and it quickly became the most in-demand console.
Its launch was not without issues though.
The coronavirus pandemic plus stock and production problems made the PlayStation 5 incredibly hard to get hold of.
Covid-19 also meant a lower amount of employees were working at Sony factories to produce the gaming chips and build the consoles, leading to a slower rate of production.
Then came a global chip shortage too, meaning there weren’t enough chips being produced to make more consoles.
Talha noticed this problem so created the PS5 Stock UK Twitter account on December 3, 2020, after managing to secure his own PS5.
“I wanted to help other gamers acquire their own instead of facing the difficulties of not being able to purchase one, especially before Christmas for those who celebrate it,” said Talha.
“It was all passionate help, from one gamer to many others.”
Due to his mission to help others, his followers began to increase and pretty soon Talha was being inundated with messages asking where the best place was to get a PS5 and when.
Best and worst retailers for PlayStation 5 restocks
According to Talha, Amazon has been the number-one best retailer when it comes to online drops of the PS5.
Why? Next-day delivery.
Although their sales have been for Amazon Prime members only, users have been able to take part still by signing up to a free 14 day trial, that way they can also bag next day delivery on all products they order.
Talha also explains that by Amazon making standalone consoles and no bundles (a PS5 plus accessory or game) and fast servers, has meant the website doesn’t crash for users.
“If I was to rank a top three, I’d say Amazon is the best overall,” he said.
“PS Direct and BT would tie in second place for invite-only drops as they both also have strong servers, and a seamless queue/shopping experience, with both standalone and good bundles, and I’d say Very would be third place.”
Not every retailer has got online drops right though, and many customers have been left frustrated when it comes to trying to get their hands on a PS5 from these sites, says Talha.
“One of them is definitely Currys,” he said.
“Their VIP invite programme was atrocious. Code winners would have to wait approximately two months in order to collect their PS5, whilst other customers from other retailers would get theirs within two weeks of ordering, some even a few days.”
A spokesperson for Currys responded to this and said: “The Currys PS5 VIP program was designed to give genuine customers the ability to buy this much coveted console by removing the issue of bots and reducing the risk of scalpers.
“After registering online, customers were notified once an allocation of PS5’s were made available to Currys and ready to collect instore using their unique code.
“Our PS5 VIP programme has been applauded by both customers and the tech industry for the fairness of the process.
“We did experience a two week delay in some consoles being delivered to stores for customer collection in Autumn 2021 however, only 1% of our total PS5 customers were affected by this delay. We’ve apologised to all customers impacted for the inconvenience caused.”
AO have also received complaints too for not adding an ‘add to basket’ button on their PS5 bundles online.
“It was like this ever since launch the PS5’s official launch up until recently, where they’re only just starting to show the button to customers,” explained Talha.
“For nearly a whole year, we’ve had to find and explain techniques for bypassing a no checkout button and adding the console to your basket, through HTML/inspect element tricks.”
GAME has been a retailer which has had the mot frequent online drops of the PlayStation 5 but that doesn’t mean they have necessarily been good, says Talha.
“Yes, they drop frequently however the bundles they offer are ridiculous.
“They include PlayStation merchandise with 95% of customers (from my audience) not wanting the merchandise, as well as high-priced bundles with games at full price even if the game is cheaper to buy on its own, literally from GAME themselves.
“They also offer a crazy £10 and £20 delivery fee, which I find absurd, especially for a product where customers are paying more than £500 for.”
AO and GAME have been approached for comment.
Demand for the PS5
The demand has not only been due to the global chip shortages and the pandemic, but also the price.
Talha said: “The price of the PS5 is affordable for the performance it offers, compared to a PS4 or PS3 when they first released starting from £500-600 when they were new.
“This time, Sony took the ‘make it affordable so everyone has one approach’ where they wouldn’t make much profit, which they then would make their profits back from subscriptions and games, increasing their userbase and revenue.”
Talha has also experienced the demand too.
Three months after creating the Twitter account, PS5 Stock UK, Talha launched the company Stock Checker.
The site tracks the availability of gaming consoles, from the PS5 to the Xbox, Nintendo and more, across a variety of stores and retailer websites in the UK.
Talha added: “As someone who has heavy OCD, and prefers being professional even for hobbies and passionate things, I decided to take it to the next level by starting Stock Checker to show our audience, I’m serious, and here to help.”
The 21-year-old has been gaming since he was eight-years-old, with his first consoles being the PlayStation 1 and Nintendo DS Lite in red.
Now, he’s the owner of a gaming PC, PS5, Switch OLED, and an Oculus Quest 2.
He said: “I’ve always been interested in tech, always.
“It’s my biggest interest besides video games and cars. I don’t know how to describe why I’m so interested, I just am.
“I find it really fascinating how tech operates, its functions, how companies compete with each other about it, and the list goes on.
“One thing I love, which is probably my favourite part, just like most people, is the unboxing experience.
“A good product will know how to satisfy you just by the unboxing experience, and using that new piece of tech for the first time, I love it, if only I could afford every bit of tech out there, I’d be unboxing them all day long!”
The future of the PS5
“I personally believe Covid-19 is here long-term and as long as such viruses are around, alongside the chip shortage, this issue would happen again in future console releases,” added Talha, “such as the PS6, or even PS5 Slim and PS5 Pro, if Sony plans to make that a reality.”
All this though, in a way, adds to Talha’s passion in helping other’s get the consoles they want.
He said: “They say, do what you love for loving it and helping other people, and the rewards will automatically follow.
“I feel proud that a high volume of customers come to Stock Checker for the latest console, tech, and gaming advice/updates.
“They have all the rights not to trust Stock Checker, but they do, and they should, as I’m all for helping those out there who want to buy these products for their friends and family, or themselves, rather than paying crazy prices on aftermarkets.”