Ordering and pre-ordering both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S has been an absolute mess. While this chaotic situation may be caused by many factors – limited supply, a surge in gaming popularity, and a holiday release – the increased use of bots by resellers may also share the blame.
In a report by Business Insider, groups managing bots were able to secure hundreds, if not thousands, of PlayStation 5 consoles before and on launch even as many individuals could not.
One reseller group, CrepChiefNotify, reportedly made off with around 1,000 PS5 pre-orders and almost 2,500 PS5 consoles on launch day!
Operations like CrepChiefNotify are well oiled and systematic. CrepChiefNotify in particular is a subscription-based service that allows its members to get access to its suite of tools and experience.
The company is run only by a handful of staff members, but it says it does the heavy lifting of the resale process.
As both their website and Business Insider note, CrepChiefNotify works by monitoring trends across markets, ranging from shoes to consoles.
Their bots run in order to more quickly work through some of the time-consuming aspects of buying and pre-ordering, namely loading, queueing, and even getting through the order pages themselves.
These bots have been integral to the scalping market that have seen PlayStation 5 consoles marked up more than 100% its MSRP. While some wealthy patrons can afford to pay this price for the convenience of getting a PlayStation 5 immediately, many cannot.
With the limited stock and little recourse to beat the bots, it is unclear when the general consumer will be able to secure a PlayStation 5 through retailers.
In the contemporary landscape of online shopping, bots were bound to happen. Yet they don’t need to be inevitable.
It may take time, but it may have to come down to collective action from publishers finding more selling options, retailers securing websites, and consumers not buying from scalpers.