So the PS4 is coming out this Friday and you didn't pre-order. At the same time, you still want to drop $399 and pick up a console on launch day. Are you out of luck? Not in my book. That kind of defeatist attitude isn't going to get you anywhere. Sure, pre-ordering was the best way to make sure you literally had a console with your name on it waiting for you, but you decided to take your chances. Maybe money was short, or maybe you didn't think demand would be so scorching hot. Whatever the reason, there's always a chance to get what you want. You just have to go to the extreme to make it happen.
Stores will have PS4s in stock on launch day. They're not going to turn you away just because you didn't pre-order. However, its stock is likely to be very low for walk-ins. Before Friday comes, you're going to have to do some grunt work. Find out which stores in your area are doing midnight launches. I know some Best Buy and Walmart stores are doing just that. You'll have to ask employees in your local stores if they're participating. I personally would avoid GameStop. GameStop tends to be the most obvious location for midnight launches. You'll almost certainly run into long lines with a lot of commotion. My advice is to find a 24-hour Walmart, check to see if its doing a midnight launch and hang out in the store for hours. You'll be warm, Walmart will have food, drinks, and restrooms, and you can people watch to pass the time.
If you take the Walmart and Best Buy route, it won't hurt to recruit a few people to your cause. See if some family or friends are willing to stake out another Walmart or Best Buy for you. Just make sure you pay them back immediately if they are able to buy a console before you. Also hugs. Lots of hugs.
Let's say the midnight launch plan didn't work out. That's okay; there's still hope. Don't forget that stores such as Target, Toys R Us, and perhaps Kmart will also have PS4s in stock. Make sure you get to these stores early. If you're truly dedicated, you'll wait outside the store all night if you have to. If you do that, make the best of it. Get a warm blanket, bring some snacks, and make sure you can cover every bit of skin on your body. Even something as little as a cold nose can get really irritating after a while. If the stores aren't too far from your home, it wouldn't be a bad idea to drive up there periodically and see if there's any sign of a line forming. Make no mistake, it's essential to wait in a line and make your intentions clear. Hopefully, stores will hand out tickets that guarantee a console to early birds, but don't get pushed around if that doesn't happen. There's no need to get violent, but don't get bullied either.
If you make it out with a console, you should still be vigilant. Like it or not, you'll be very conspicuous carrying a big plastic see-through bag out the store. Do your best to make sure you aren't being followed outside. If you suspect you are, don't walk out alone. Take someone with you if you can. If all else fails, call the authorities.
Honestly, if you aren't at the stores super early, the chances of getting a PS4 on launch day greatly decreases. Following these tips doesn’t guarantee you a console, but it will put you ahead of the curve.