Buying a PS5 or Xbox Series X or S has been a frustrating and pointless process for many gamers this year, with most retailers’ inventory disappearing within minutes of the sale. This is due in part only to high demand, but organized scalpers, buying large numbers of next-gen consoles to sell for a profit on eBay and other similar sites, are a big part of the problem. Scalpers use bots that can alert them to second-generation retailers offering next-gen consoles for sale, giving them an edge over most consumers. A scalper group boasted in the UK alone to purchase more than 5,000 next-gen consoles.
Well, apparently the resale situation in the UK has gotten so bad that it has caught the attention of the country’s lawmakers. According to the folks at Video Game Chronicle, a group of British MPs has filed an ‘Early Day Motion’ in an attempt to table proposals that would allow the ‘resale of game consoles and computer components at prices far above [MSRP]. Early Day Motions are meant to spark discussion, possibly leading to legislation down the line, so no actual laws have yet been passed. That said, the motion has already been signed by 15 MPs. is targeted …
New releases of game consoles and computer components should be available to all customers at no more than the manufacturer’s recommended retail price, and should not be purchased in bulk through the use of automated bots that often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by retailers.
It will be interesting to see how far this goes. Scalping is a tricky business – people should have the right to resell things they buy, and most scalper groups are not monoliths, but rather collections of individuals, many of whom may only be selling a small number of consoles for a modest profit. That said, there’s no denying that the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S was a mess, with bots creating an uneven playing field and too many buyers hungry for the next generation. Finding the right balance won’t be easy.
What do you think of this? What would be the best solution to the problems we’ve seen with the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S launches?