It’s no secret that the PS5 is in short supply right now. Sony’s Jim Ryan has said that “absolutely everything is sold” in regards to the the console supply. That means that many eagerly waiting fans are trying to snag any stock that occasionally comes up as Sony tries to meet the high demand. Scalpers have made it difficult for legitimate buyers, however, with one PS5 scalper group claiming to have nearly 3500 consoles for resale at premiums much higher than the PS5 retail price.
Business Insider reported on the UK-based scalper group called CrepChiefNotify who managed to scoop up close to 3500 PS5s between the preorder period and the more recent stock availability around launch. The group uses a combination of Discord, retail-scraping bots, and insider information to have a significant advantage over the average consumer. CrepChiefNotify charges members a subscription fee for access to its tools, which has enabled them to get the absurd number of PS5s headed to sites like ebay at significant markup, sometimes up to double or more the retail value of the console.
The issue was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns pushing PS5 preorders online, with Sony not even offering stock for physical retail. This meant a treasure trove for bots and scalpers looking to pick up the new console with the sole intent of making a profit. These reseller groups and bots were reconfigured from ones intended to pick up limited sneakers, expanded to include other limited items and electronics. In this case, it was next-gen consoles that became scarce, with inventory selling out in minutes thanks to bots that ate up inventory and ordered consoles faster than most humans could.
And with demand for the PS5 so high, it doesn’t look like the issue is going away anytime soon. Sony is working hard to increase the supply chain, but not only are they up against consumer demand, but the resale bots and scalpers that keep inventory low for traditional consumers who just want to experience the next generation of gaming.