VALDOSTA – As people wrapped up their evenings celebrating Thanksgiving with family, a new family formed outside GameStop on Inner Perimeter Road as a group of dedicated gamers waited patiently for the latest consoles.
Jonas Johnson, a diehard PlayStation fan, set up camp outside the store at 7 a.m. Thursday, followed shortly after by fellow fan Cameron Miley. The store posted a sign stating there were only two PlayStation 5 consoles in stock, with Johnson and Miley laying claim to them.
All they had to do was wait the 24 hours for the store to open 7 a.m. Friday.
Soon, a line formed after them to claim the six Xbox Series X systems in stock, and a group of people, many of whom had never met, began to bond during the long night ahead.
Donald Wardwell, the self-proclaimed “father” of the group, made sure everyone had chairs, blankets, food and drinks for the night.
Miley, the second person in line, showed up with nothing but, thanks to Wardwell, had a full setup to ride out the hours.
Wardwell attributed his preparedness to an affinity for camping.
Johnson and Miley, the two who had waited the longest, both agreed they'd seen quite a few characters come through, including some who offered them exchanges for their coveted spaces and some less than savory words, but the duo held their ground.
“I've always played PlayStation and I've been trying to get it since the day it came out,” Johnson said.
Married couple Mauricio and Karlee Soto were also seeking a PlayStation 5 and, upon seeing no hope of getting one at GameStop, became the first in line at Best Buy, lining up at about 8 p.m. Thursday.
The couple planned to stream some shows and play Nintendo Switch as they waited for the Best Buy doors to open at 5 a.m.
For Mauricio, he's found a friend group through gaming, part of which has already gotten the new console, and he said getting one “has become like a competition between them.”
It also served as a new experience for the couple, neither of whom had ever camped outside a store.
The PlayStation 5 has been a coveted console since its initial release earlier this month. All stores attempting to restock it online sell out within seconds and, for these dedicated gamers, walking away empty handed isn't an option.