PlayStation 5 “scalper” groups used bots to buy up thousands of consoles seeing them amass more stock than most of the UK’s major retailers.
The launch of Sony’s next-gen console descended into chaos last week as it officially went on sale in the UK, seeing stock sell out in minutes and websites crash at nearly every leading retailer.
This chaos, according to a new report from Business Insider, was largely driven by “scalper” groups who competed to see how many units they could buy up before reselling the units for exorbitant prices.
One group called ‘CrepChiefNotify’ managed to secure nearly 3500 units after using bots to amass as much stock as possible both at pre-order and when the console officially launched last week.
The group is one of many which uses these bots to monitor retail sites to determine when stock will drop, then buy up as much stock as possible faster than any human would be able to.
Not only is the group able to resell the most sought after stock, including high-demand fashion items and limited edition ranges, but they also sell subscriptions to their service which offers “botting guidance and access to our in-house bot-slots”.
This fairly new phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to see the next batch of PS5 stock, due to be released in December, be largely inaccessible to those buying manually.
Some consoles have been re-sold from multiple thousands of pounds on websites like StockX, while numerous units can be found on Ebay for over £1000.
While scalpers have played a major role in limiting stock levels available to the general public, the console’s manufacturer is also partially to blame.
Sony Interactive Entertainment’s head Jim Ryan told Russian news agenecy TASS: “Everything is sold. Absolutely everything is sold.
“I’ve spent much of the last year trying to be sure that we can generate enough demand for the product.
“And now in terms of my executive bandwidth, I’m spending a lot more time on trying to increase supply to meet that demand.”