Sony fans encountered a shockingly similar issue when pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 went live—all of a sudden—a day before they were supposed to.
Almost immediately after the showcase, several retailers made their online PS5 pre-orders available. It resulted in utter chaos, as PlayStation fans raced to their computers only to be told that the PS5 was no longer in stock. It hasn’t even been released yet, and it is no longer in stock. That is incredible.
The same thing happened with Nvidia. Nvidia opened pre-orders for the new RTX 3080 on Thursday and the graphics card sold out instantly.
As reported by Online retailer Newegg, the limited supply sold out in five minutes. The retailer also claimed that the orders were all human rather than bot:
But bots did play a significant role in the shortages. As PCMag reported, resellers made use of bots to snatch up dozens and dozens of RTX 3080 units each. These cards are now on sale on eBay for hundreds or thousands of dollars more than MSRP.
According to Vice.com, Resellers or collectors of sneakers as well as ticket brokers sometimes use automated bots for identifying whether an item is back in stock, adding it to their cart, and completing the checkout process as quickly as possible in order to beat other buyers (in the case of ticket brokers, they use bots when tickets go on sale). Websites will often try to block automated buyers like these, but the bot designers and users will then route their traffic through various other computers before ordering the item or use other tricks to avoid the website’s mitigations.
Here we give you an example of how bots work:
A reseller’s aim, as always, is to buy something for its retail price (let’s say, a sneaker that costs $200) and then flip it for what the market is willing to pay (sometimes that’s $250, other times it can be in the thousands).
While these bots, and the groups using them, got their start with sneakers and streetwear, I’ve noticed lately—particularly thanks to the pressures of the pandemic—they’ve been branching out into video games as well.
Forbes requests to all its readers:
we, dear readers, must not capitulate. Resellers wouldn’t be in this business if people like you and I didn’t buy from them. As with the shortage of Nintendo Switch units, the best way to respond to this nonsense is by not opening your wallet and exercising patience. At the very least, resellers would be forced to sell for MSRP or get stuck with a bunch of expensive hardware they can’t offload instead of making a bunch of money by doing literally nothing.