Rogue consumers using scalping bots to “unfairly” pounce on PlayStation 5 stock refreshes are taking to social media to goad frustrated gamers.
Thousands of video game enthusiasts are seeing their hopes of securing the Sony console thwarted by bulk buyers who then sell the machines for huge profit.
One eBay auction had reached £7,300 from 45 bids yesterday morning after High Street retailer Argos announced it had sold out almost immediately after new stock went on sale in the early hours.
In recent days, a Twitter account promoting a service called Carnage Bot claimed to help bot users secure 2,000 pre-orders of the PS5 via Game.co.uk, saying it “just keeps getting easier every time”.
These bots continuously monitor websites for products that are limited in stock, with subscribers paying monthly subscription fees for the service.
The moment they become available, the bot has the user’s payment details ready to go, to secure the items within milliseconds, making it near impossible for a human to compete.
Another paid-for scalping operation claimed to have found access to checkout URLs on the Argos website before they were publicly available, reports EuroGamer.
One subscriber to a scalping ring boasted on social media he had used the service on Tuesday night to pick up seven consoles from four different outlets.
“A PS5 for every room in the house, even the bog,” he wrote, the gaming magazine reports.
Last week, UK retailer GAME played down reports a scalping group had secured 2,000 consoles in a day.
It has since said it has “strong measures” in place to ensure only one console is being offered per customer.
The most frustrating thing for regular consumers is the practice is not illegal.
And while the issue is not new, it is gaining more awareness, so much so that a group of MPs in December called for the resale of gaming consoles purchased by automated bots to be made illegal.
Dr Bill Mitchell, director of policy at BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT, however, said: “It’s not about legality, I don’t think, it’s about ethics and good practice.”
The PS5 console costs £449.99, while the digital edition comes in at £359.