It can be annoying to not be able to get the newest game system as soon as it becomes available. And the aggravation increases when the wait turns into weeks or even months as a result of scalpers!
Scalpers purchase enormous quantities of goods to resell online for exorbitant sums of money. Both the gaming industry and the customer are severely harmed by this. Continue reading if you want to learn how scalping can harm you and how to prevent it.
Anyone may become a scalper, not just the gaming business. However, the gaming business is notoriously horrible at it, especially in terms of hardware. This has repeatedly been seen, but the PlayStation 5 is the most noteworthy instance to date.
Due to real-world issues and component shortages, the PlayStation 5 already had a restricted supply at launch. But when the PS5 was released, a majority of these machines were purchased by scalpers before many true fans could.
Suddenly, it was difficult to get a PS5 from reputable retailers, but you could locate plenty of them on eBay or other buy-and-sell websites. Even better, these devices are fetching double or triple what Sony was asking for them.
Scalping typically takes place within organized networks that program users, or even bots, to purchase huge numbers of newly released products. The basic objective is to buy up the majority of the available inventory so that nothing is left for anyone else. This forces gamers to buy their consoles from scalpers for inflated prices as a last resort.
Sony is the first to combat this, testing out a new tactic to combat scalpers by having customers register for preorders for their latest system, the PS VR2.
How Does Console Scalping Affect You?
It’s detrimental in many ways to give in to scalpers and buy a console from them at exorbitant costs. To begin with, you have to spend a lot of your own money in order to purchase the PS5. Scalpers prey on enthusiasts who are so eager to purchase a PlayStation 5 console that they are willing to pay significantly more than the suggested retail price.
The money you could have used to purchase new games instead went to the scalpers, which is detrimental to game producers. Due to the additional money you spent to the scalper, you might decide to acquire just one or two AAA titles rather than four or five.
It can also be damaging to you as a consumer. You surrender your consumer’s rights when you purchase a console from a scalper on a website like Facebook or eBay. It becomes a second-hand exchange, which means you are foregoing your right to replace, return, or repair your console under warranty.
All the extra cash you spend doesn’t make it back to any of the teams responsible for making the console you love. Instead, it goes directly into lining the pockets of scalpers who do not have your best interests at heart, to say the least.
Making your purchases from well-known and reputable retailers like GameStop or the PlayStation store directly is the easiest method to avoid doing business with scalpers. Purchasing from a physical store or directly from the manufacturer ensures that your purchase is authentic and that your console will be covered by warranty in the event of any damage.
Be tolerant. When you find the console you desire being sold online by someone else and are unable to purchase it, it can be extremely aggravating. Avoid buying a PlayStation 5 or any other system if you find it being sold online for far more than it is actually worth. This is a sure clue that the vendor is trying to turn a profit and that the console has been scalped.
How Much is The PS5 Scalping?
Customers race to place preorders for new consoles every time they are announced. If they don’t, they know they’ll probably have to wait months for the consoles to be refilled after the holiday season. If the PS5 hadn’t been released during the pandemic, it might have been the case.
The two most important were that the pandemic forced Sony workers to work from home and that the global microprocessor scarcity constrained the number of PS5s that could be produced. A variety of circumstances combined to create the ideal storm for the PlayStation 5. Sony only produces a small quantity of consoles as a result of these two problems. The fact that PS5s were in such high demand made the issue worse.
Perhaps it’s because customers were stuck at home with nothing to do, but PlayStation 5 preorders quickly outnumbered PlayStation 4 preorders, sending the demand for the consoles through the roof.
And, if we learned anything from the sneaker bot situation (computer programs designed to purchase high-demand, collectible sneakers as soon as—or before—they’re released online), if a product is in high demand, scalpers will take advantage of it. And the PS5 is no exception.
Before we jump into a conversation about PS5 scalping, we should probably explain exactly what scalping is. A scalper is someone who buys large quantities of in-demand items, such as collectibles, event tickets, or in this case, PS5s. Their goal is to profit off of supply and demand—they’re betting on the fact that these items will sell quickly and will be hard to find so they can swoop in and sell them at a higher price than they’re worth.
You’d think that this type of con-artistry would be illegal, but in most cases, it’s not. Some states have specific event ticket scalping regulations, but for the most part, scalping is considered a consequence of the free-market system. As long as the products are being legally sold and purchased, there’s nothing stopping scalpers from selling an item at double or more than the price they paid.
It’s not new and it’s not illegal, so you may be wondering why this is even a problem. Improvements in technology have made it easier for scalpers and online sales have brought out more scammers looking to cash in on the high prices.
Jacked-Up Resale Prices
PS5 scalpers are using bots to purchase loads of consoles as soon as they become available online. Some PS5 scalpers have even been seen with carloads of consoles, infuriating those who have been trying to get their hands on one for years.
Read Also: How do You Get PUBG on PS5?
The scalpers are then selling them for double or more than the retail cost (that’s over $800, and in some cases, they sell for over $1,000). Consoles are already expensive as it is—the retail cost of a PlayStation 5 ranges from $399 to $499—so the price hikes from scalpers make the consoles even less accessible.
Scalpers Lead to Scammers
If you’ve decided to just bite the bullet and buy a PS5 from a scalper online, wouldn’t you buy the $550 one over the $880 one? That’s what a lot of people are choosing to do, and they’re suffering for it. PS5 scammers are taking advantage of the scalping situation in deplorable ways. Some are sending out boxes with other items in them (such as bricks), some are tricking buyers into buying photos of PS5s by hiding the details in the fine print, some are selling empty PS5 boxes on the street, and some are downright stealing the money and running.
Since scams have been a huge issue, largely thanks to PS5 scalpers, it’s safest to wait until you can purchase one directly from a retailer—even if it may take much longer.
What Websites do Scalpers Use?
Scalping is typically used to describe the act of reselling something that is in short supply in order to profit when it is discussed online. A scalper purchases products online at full price and resells them later for a profit. This profit could be modest, like a few additional dollars, or it could be far higher than the purchase price.
Scammers frequently buy scarce goods that are in high demand and with limited supply. Many people also take use of technology by using software meant to automate the scalping process.
Alternatively, the term “scalping” can be used to describe a method of trading financial assets that involves making quick purchases and sales in order to profit from fluctuations in price. This procedure is frequently employed in trading and financial circles and is generally unrelated to item scalping.
Scalping started with tickets to events, such as concerts and sports games. The practice of ticket scalping even predates the internet. Scalpers would stand outside event venues looking for people without entry tickets and attempt to sell the tickets at a high price at the last minute. With the digitization of ticket sales, this practice has largely moved online—although scalping is still extremely common in relation to events.
The tickets for popular events can sell out within minutes or even seconds. Scalpers will often buy as many tickets as they can and then upload them to popular ticket reselling markets or classified websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Depending on the event and ticket price, these entry passes can be sold for multiple times what they originally cost.
In recent times, scalping has also emerged in the electronics space. The chip shortage over the last year has led to a shrinking supply of computer hardware, particularly graphics cards and next-generation gaming consoles like the PS5 and Xbox One. During the initial release of the latest consoles, hundreds of scalped PlayStation and Xbox consoles flooded online marketplaces like eBay.
There are a few characteristics that apply to nearly every item that gets scalped. There is:
- a limited supply of the items.
- a simultaneous release or “drop” of the available stock.
- a high demand for the items, even on the resale market.
Rare sneakers are among the most frequently scalped items, as they are treated as valuable collector’s items. Shoe collectors, also called “sneakerheads,” often pay attention to the latest releases—especially special edition designs with limited runs. The website StockX has become one of the most popular online marketplaces almost entirely because of shoe trading. It provides current resale prices for different models, and most new models are immediately listed on StockX as soon as they’re released.
The most low-tech way of scalping is by simply acting as an average consumer and attempting to buy an item as soon as it’s available. This involves frequently refreshing a store page and immediately purchasing it right at the drop time. This has mixed success, as the item might sell out before the scalper buys one, but this method is less susceptible to anti-scalping measures by storefronts and sellers.
Another method is by using early releases. This involves leveraging personal relationships and insider information to purchase items before they come out on the market and then selling them when the item becomes publicly available. For example, if you have relationships with an electronics manufacturer, you might be able to obtain an item before its release and resell it soon after the initial drop.
However, most scalpers purchase items using scalping bots. These bots use targeted attacks to prevent regular customers from purchasing items and then snatch up large quantities of tickets as soon as they’re released. They then list them automatically at a third-party website and sell the tickets at a profit. This practice is prevalent in sneaker and ticket sales.
The Effect of Scalpers
Scalpers are bad for regular consumers. They cause prices to rise, sometimes to exorbitant levels that might be out of the price range of people who are saving up to buy the items in question. They also make it difficult for consumers to get the things that they want close to the release date. This is especially true of time-limited items like tickets.
They’re also bad for companies that initially sell the items. There have been incidents of events having large sections of a venue be empty because the tickets have been claimed entirely by scalpers. Gaming companies like Sony and Microsoft are losing out on potential game and subscription sales because consoles that should be getting played are sitting in the houses of resellers, waiting to be repurchased.
Fortunately, many companies are starting to implement anti-scalping measures on their storefronts. These solutions can range from better online security to allowing only one ticket to be sold per person and asking for identification. Some stores have even used randomized systems to allocate a limited drop of an item, raffling off the chance to buy a particular item to the winner.