PlayStation 5 scalpers which are continuing to make it near impossible for average customers to get their hands on a console say they are not happy with their “bad press”.
Since launching back in November Sony says it has sold more than 4.5 million PS5s, but the console’s launch has been plagued by scalper groups which use automated bots to buy up and hoard the limited stock before regular shoppers get a chance.
They then list the consoles on platforms like Ebay and StockX for dramatically inflated prices, often selling for close to double their recommended retail price.
The phenomenon has understandably infuriated gamers, retailers and even MPs, who have begun drafting a new “Gaming Hardware (Automated Purchase and Resale) Bill”.
Despite the backlash, scalpers have defended their actions stating that they do not feel their continued bad press “is justified”.
Jordan, co-founder of leading scalper group The Lab, told Forbes’ Janhoi McGregor that he didn’t feel scalping was any different to what other businesses were doing.
“There seems to be A LOT of bad press on this incredibly valuable industry and I do not feel that it is justified, all we are acting as is a middleman for limited quantity items,” he said.
“Essentially every business resells their products. Tesco, for example, buys milk from farmers for 26p or so per litre and sells it on for upwards of 70p per litre. No one ever seems to complain to the extent as they are currently doing towards ourselves.”
Jordan’s scalper group charges other users to teach them how to use the bots and drastically improve their chances of bagging highly sought-after stock, not limited to PS5s.
Despite reportedly receiving death threats for his activities, Jordan said he is happy to be helping other people make money during lockdown.
“I mainly just try and help others now, that’s all that really matters to me,” he added.
“The whole group came about near the start of the first UK lockdown and it makes me so happy that I can help people make some extra money for themselves.
“We do a lot for charity as well. I myself or collectively as a group donate to charity almost monthly at this point. Most notably over the past month we donated a large portion of our membership fees to a foodbank local to me.”
Retailers like Game and Argos are ramping up their efforts to tackle scalper groups, but PS5 shortages are being exacerbated by manufacturing issues at Sony.
The global supply chain of microchips has been severely disrupted by both the pandemic and the trade war started by former President Donald Trump last year.
Alongside distribution issues also hampered by the pandemic, the continued roll out of consoles is due to continue slowly.