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(Pocket-lint) - It hasn't passed anyone by that the pre-order situation has been a big old mess surrounding the respective next-gen launches looming over us - the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5 have uniformly disappeared stock-wise. 

Now, that picture has got even muddier with the announcement of a new national lockdown in the UK, lasting until the start of December. We're back in amongst it, staying home, and taking essential trips only. 

If you haven't managed to secure a console pre-order and were hoping to head to a store on launch day to find some physical stock, that might feel an awful lot like an essential trip to you, but it obviously won't clear that bar in reality. 

On the other side of the coin, though, even if you were able to head to a store to find a non-pre-ordered console, whether you'd find any stock is looking gloomy. Talking to VGC, Game said that "we do not have confirmation that we will have stock on launch day for customers that don’t have a pre-order."

That's not the most optimistic message, and it all adds up to a pretty bleak picture for at least the first couple of weeks, between lockdown restrictions and stock shortages. 

The good news from various retailers including Game and Argos is that people with in-store pickup booked for their pre-order will be able to drop by to collect their console and pay off their balances without falling foul of regulations.

Others are taking slightly different approaches - Nick Hayden, Head of Gaming at Currys PC World, told us that "Customers who paid their £5 deposit in store to secure their pre-order have been contacted today and will have until Wednesday night to complete their transaction in full. Once they have paid for their console they will be able to collect it on launch day". 

Whether you've got a console on lock, or are hoping more stock appears soon, the next-gen console buying race isn't getting any smoother for people. 

We've approached Game and Argos for further comment. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 3 November 2020.