Scalpers are nothing new. These are people that buy high-demand products, usually limited in quantity, to sell at a much higher rate than retail value. In recent years, bot technology has given this practice a lot more of a root in consumerism and this generation of gaming consoles is the latest victim of this predatory practice. In fact, one UK group of scalpers are actually bragging about botting 3,500 PS5 systems to sell at up to three times the retail value.
With the holiday season now here and the pandemic still roaring, the desire for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X system is at an all-time high. This means fertile ground for scalpers to get the most out of their buying deals. As reported by Business Insider, there are entire Discord seller groups filled with people that have the sole purpose of reselling consoles at much higher prices.
One such group goes by CrepChiefNotify and the manager of this group boasts that they have almost 2,500 consoles between their members for resale currently, with over 1,000 right at the first pre-order wave back in September, with more as more offers trickled out. Between the first wave and now, this seller group has accrued almost 3,500 PS5 systems.
We know that many resellers use bots to quickly progress through checkout screens simultaneously, but this particular group also says that they were able to get ahead of the curve by having inside sources telling them before the pre-orders went live each time.
CrepChiefNotify, according to Business Insider, is made up of 12 people in terms of a core staff with a subscription service fee starting at $40 with scaling tiers going up to $530+. The higher the tier for the member, the more benefits are available, including forewarning of sales, and more access to elusive products.
“During the first COVID-19 lockdown, we noticed a huge shift in products that people were buying,” said the Crep manager. “The focus shifted towards the most ridiculous things, like outdoor hot tubs. We noticed that these began selling out in stores and reselling on eBay for a profit. So our developer wrote some site monitor software, and we tracked the stock of the sites selling hot tubs! Every time they pinged into stock, we would notify our members to buy it all.”
The manager also mentioned that developers have seen the rise of scalping as a unique opportunity, capitalizing on that by constantly developing smart-bot technology to aid in this practice.
With the high price of the membership, the higher price makes a little more sense, though doesn’t justify it in the slightest. The fact that some systems are asking for $2,000+ is absolutely ridiculous, and there is absolutely nothing that justifies that inflation.