While a lot of PlayStation fans were able to get in early enough to claim a PS5 for their own, many of us weren’t so lucky. Much of this is owed to the natural high demand and low supply which follow the first few shipments of any popular physical good. The other side, in what has become a growing problem in the world of console releases, is the issue of scalpers.
The How of PS5 Scalping
Bypassing usual one-per-customer constraints through the use of bots or other nefarious and legally nebulous means, scalpers are buying several or even dozens of consoles to be flipped. This is especially bad in areas like Norway, where sales are only available online, though the issue persists across the entirety of Europe and the world.
— Michael (@geekmiki) November 20, 2020
The bots used by scalpers are more basic than they sound, though they also include some ingenuity, as much as it pains us to admit. On a basic scale, these bots only need to know what signup forms a website needs, and from there they can be modified to input realistic data multiple times in quick succession. Add fake names, and add proxies to hide IPs, and scalpers often get away with it.
Why Scalping Works
The simple answer to this question is demand. People are incredibly hyped over this new generation, and thanks to the limited supply, they’re willing to pay out a lot to be an early adopter. This is aided by the fact that, unlike the PS4, there aren’t ways to play PS5 games on other systems.
For PS4, players can use a system called PSNow to stream games to a PC, even if they don’t own an original device. This works similarly to online casinos like in Norway, where the demands on hardware are low and access is easily possible from almost anywhere. Sites such as CasinoTopplisten.com gives you a great overview of the different possibilities on the market in Norway. The difference comes from the fact that there’s a lot more choice in online casinos, bonuses are much larger in casinos, and casino games aren’t as reliant on latency. In other words, even if PS5 games become available on PSNow, they still won’t play the same as they would on native devices.
Understanding this, scalpers can then turn to resale sites like eBay. As these sites don’t check that consoles are obtained legitimately, resellers have an easy way to make their cash. And make it they do, with the disk version which retails at £449.99 selling for upwards of £800. This is a consistent trend across Europe too.
The one upside of this is that some governments are actively working against the negative effect that scalpers have on a fair market. This is the case in the UK, where MPs are introducing a bill that is aimed at preventing scalpers from succeeding. As for how long the bill could take and how effective it could be, that remains to be seen. At the very least, by the time the PS6 comes around, fans who don’t want to wait in digital lines for 12 hours might stand a chance.