A Scottish National Party MP (Member of Parliament) has tabled a motion in the House of Commons for legislation that would essentially ban automated bots from buying up PS5 consoles in bulk.
The motion, tabled by MP for Dunfermline and West Fife Douglas Chapman, calls on the UK Government to prohibit the resale of gaming consoles and similar products at prices vastly higher than the manufacturers recommended retail price. The MP also calls on the government to make the re-selling of items (like PS5 consoles) purchased using automated bots to be an illegal activity.
The Dunfermline and West Fife MP also asked a written question to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding this issue. The Secretary of State responded:
“Officials are discussing this issue with the trade association for the video games industry, Ukie. We know that bulk purchasing through automated bots is a concern for some of their members who we understand are currently looking at any further actions they can take to prevent these behaviours, and are working with their retailers to improve experiences for customers.”
From the answer to the question, it seems that the onus may be put with the retailers themselves to take action against the bots and scalpers who are snapping up all the PS5’s from under the noses of genuine customers.
The UK already has legislation in place that prevents the resale of things like concert tickets. It would therefore make sense for the legislation to extend to things like gaming consoles, which are very high demand items.
Bots and Inflated Prices – Not fair to the ordinary consumer
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the SNP MP says that the PS5’s being bought en masse by automated bots and then resold at inflated prices “doesn’t give the ordinary consumer fair access to the market.” The MP explains that although his motion may not actually make it into legislation, he says that this will remind the Government that there is a problem and that the problem will only get worse over time.
Automated bots and scalpers reselling PS5 consoles are vastly inflated prices on sites like eBay are causing headaches for retailers and genuine customers. The bots can force retail sites offline and put genuine customers in massively long queues as they wait for a chance to get themselves a PlayStation 5.
Ultimately though, it seems the bots almost always manage to buy them up before real people can. As there are many stories about people managing to add a PS5 to their online cart only for a sold-out message to appear when they attempt to make payment.
The scalpers who are using these automated bots are making millions in profits and forcing people to either wait an indefinite length of time to buy a PS5 at retail price or spend double (or often more) to buy a PS5 through eBay.
You just have to take a look at the eBay listing for PS5’s to see how much the scalpers are making.
In the two screenshots above, there is a digital console being sold for over £4000 with 5 bids and a disc PS5 being sole for over £2000 with 11 bids. Hopefully, this is people messing with the scalpers and not a real person actually willing to pay this kind of silly money for a PS5.
For now, it seems that retailers will have to take action against these bots and scalpers that are stopping genuine gamers from getting their hands on a PS5. Sony also needs to step up and start making more consoles available to the UK market.