Consumers are fighting on the losing end of a battle to successfully obtain the latest gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X have been extremely difficult for customers to buy. Some people are running into extreme shortages in retail locations while others are constantly striking out online. Despite COVID causing manufacturing issues for both gaming giants, there are other more complex reasons systems are particularly hard to find.
As more of the systems are released, most of them hit the online marketplace as it is safer for retailers and consumers. The problem here is that many “resellers” will hold a massive buying advantage over the average consumer thanks to a special software called a “bot.” Bots are not free, and they definitely aren’t cheap, but when used properly they give their owners an insane leg up when it comes to online shopping. What they do is simple in theory and genius in execution. They allow people to appear in multiple online marketplaces all at once and provide a ridiculously fast checkout experience.
So while you may have multiple windows open on your computer, hoping to score big, a bot user can set up their software to search multiple storefronts at once, and checkout with ease once inventory becomes available. Some bots are sophisticated enough to actually be able to purchase multiple systems from the same retailer. Greatly reducing your chances of getting one in the process.
So why don’t retailers step in and stop this from happening? Well, some are, but most don’t and won’t, simply because as of right now, “botters” aren’t really doing anything illegal. The payment methods they’re using are legit, and at the end of the day, the product is still getting sold. Profit isn’t being lost. The only crime here is the consistent negative customer experience because after the resellers(scalpers) get ahold of so many systems they’ll likely resell them for twice the original price.
Are there steps you can take to make sure that you can get a system online still? Yes, there certainly are, and I detail them all right here:
In the end, it’s going to come down to pure luck, and patience as there’s no exact science to winning against a bot. Eventually, the inventory shortages will end and systems will be more widely available. But for now, strap in and prepare for a fight if you’re still looking to get one.