Carnage, a company that specialises in using bots to order highly sought after items, yesterday bragged that it had secured 2000+ Playstation 5 consoles for its users.
It’s no surprise that people are still trying to use automated programs or ‘bots’ to pre-order Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, given how scarce they are. What is suprising is that, despite having been subject to ‘scalpers’ since the console’s launch, companies are still having stock eaten up.
As reported by VGC, Carnage tweeted that their ‘CarnageBot’ had ordered over 2000 consoles from GAME, a UK-based retailer who received a shipment of Playstation 5s yesterday. The figure of 2000+ could have been inflated (the tweet has since been deleted and the account) locked but we’re inclined to believe at least part of that claim. We looked at multiple eBay listings where the console had been ordered but not yet received and every one of those was ordered through GAME.
Scalping, the practice of reselling scarce commodities at a large profit, is a worldwide problem, with the ‘current gen’ of consoles being listed at, on average, nearly twice their retail price on eBay. GAME told VGC that they would be examining orders to ensure only one console per person was allocated, which is a step in the right direction.
Adding CAPTCHA would be another option, those little picture puzzles that seek to determine whether a person or a bot is attempting to access a webpage. The catch is, while this might slow the scalpers down, there are multiple online services that claim to bypass CAPTCHA, through a combination of more bots and some small amount of human intervention.
But do GAME or other companies have to do anything? It’s not a good look, but they’re making money whether they sell to scalpers or regular buyers. There’s been a significant amount of Twitter outrage, with one user in particular cataloguing evidence that the PS5s GAME sold recently ended up on eBay. GAME’s response was to block that user, which isn’t a good look.
We’d sooner see eBay follow Amazon’s lead and block the sale of Playstation 5s with more than a small profit margin. Amazon has, at least, stomped on the problem, implementing a feature that prevents sellers listing these consoles for a ludicrous amount of profit. There are other eBay style websites out there, but losing eBay would really ruin the scalpers’ day and, hopefully, make scalping Playstation 5s far less profitable. Rising stock levels should also make a difference.
For the short term, though, you’ll need a fast finger and a lot of luck if you want to bag a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X.