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PlayStation 5 & Xbox Series X: Scalpers Explained

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So, you might have crossed the term “scalper” since beginning your hunt for the next-gen console. You might also be unsure what a scalper even is — and how they’re essentially putting sales at a complete standstill. Well, here’s hoping we can clear a few things up about said people. Just don’t expect anything remotely positive, though.

So, what is a scalper? Well, a scalper is essentially an individual (or small firm) that purchases event tickets or new tech at retail prices on launch — and then goes on to resell it for major profit. Take, for example, those chaps who idle outside a concert venue waving a stash of tickets in the air. They’re scalpers. And, they’re the ones who manage to rake in hundreds, and sometimes thousands in profit every single day. And now, with the popularity spike and high-demand of the PS5 and XSX, scalpers have turned their heads to the latest tech.

Using bots, which possess the abilities to bypass various retail websites and secure pre-orders in large quantities, scalpers harvest as much stock as possible for financial gain. From the moment a fresh batch of consoles hit the system — a scalper claims the entire allotment and then looks to plaster each unit on various auction sites for triple the retail price tag. In this case, PS5’s and XSX’s have been selling for upwards of $2,000 — which is four times higher than the retail price. Sadly, with stock being incredibly low, people are resorting to scalpers to purchase the next-gen consoles. Frustratingly, this is leading to said firms making thousands in profit, and in turn, leaving many disappointed gamers with empty pockets.

It’s becoming almost impossible to secure a next-gen console these days.

But is it illegal?

While scalping is not considered illegal in most parts of the world — it is evidently frowned upon by millions of desperate fans looking to snatch the latest craze. Scalpers have been using various methods to secure large quantities of stock for years, and nine times out of ten — outlets are unaware of the large shipments being moved at all. And, if they are aware, then there is often very little action that can be made — and therefore retail owners are left to bow their heads and fulfil the orders.

In some states of the US, scalpers can receive fairly high fines for moving large amounts of stock. For the most part, however, scalpers are usually left to run amock with very few restrictions holding them back. That, of course, means that hungry gamers who’re tight on funds are left to wait for month and months before a new craze is introduced to the market and scalpers decide to shift projects. Lately, however, Sony and Microsoft have been struggling to produce anywhere near enough units to satisfy every gamer in line, and therefore will unlikely produce enough consoles to freeze scalper sales.

Scalpers have been targeting the latest tech since launch day.

Are online stores looking to banish scalpers?

Words have been floating about for years now about potentially locating the source of the scalper code and banishing it permanently. Clearly, as made evident by the small retail stock online and the overwhelming bidding warfares on auction sites — that source has yet to be destroyed. But that isn’t to say retail giants aren’t looking to give up on the ambitious goal of bringing down the scamming firms. It’s just that there are a lot — and people are hungry for profit — especially during a global pandemic.

As we covered in an article regarding GAME’s approach the other day — there is definitely some wheels in motion regarding the urprise in scalping firms. While not being able to halt every bot from bypassing the system, many online stores have been able to freeze accounts buying large quantities. GAME, for example, have finally resorted to a ‘one unit per customer’ strategy. Of course, that makes a great deal of sense considering scalpers look to acquire thousands in one session. We’re only hoping other retail giants soon follow suit. Only then will the odds be far more balanced, and gamers will finally stand a chance at getting their paws on a single unit.

When will there be more PS5 & XSX stock?

Sony and Microsoft are working day and night to try and make up enough units to go around. Although only producing around twenty million consoles combined since launch, the two industry giants are hoping to deliver a boatload more very soon. Of course, we can’t staple a specific date on the shipment — but we’re hoping for enough to be able to destroy the scalping trade by March.

In the meantime, we strongly suggest you bite your lip and hold tight for more stock to arrive in your area. It’s a terrible shame that many sly individuals are profiting from the next-gen kit, despite having next to no interest in gaming whatsoever. We only hope you’ll be able to snatch a deal real soon — at retail price. That’ll show ’em.

Scalpers have been making a killing from their ludicrously priced resales.

There isn’t a great deal more we can share right now — but we hope we’ve cleared a few things up. In a nutshell, scalpers are money-hungry firms that are making major bank off of desperate gamers. PS5 and XSX stock is drastically low, and companies are out trying to secure whatever units are available. So, if you’re like me, a gaming journalist without even a next-gen console to boot — then you’ll agree that scalpers need to be scrapped once and for all.

Here’s hoping we’ll all be toying with the new tech before 2022, eh?

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Jord is an aspiring journalist and self-published author, as well as a lover of all things gaming and media.

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