Ever since the release of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, a large scale conversation about scalpers has been going on in and around the gaming community. Many think it's a scam, while others call it business. However, we're all in agreement that it makes consoles less accessible to people who just want to buy them at ordinary prices.
The BBC gave us an unusual look into the lives of two young people who are scalpers, both of which don't see their 'business' as an issue. 18-year-old Jake, though that's not his real name, claims he has made around £10,000 from scalping consoles since November when talking to Radio 1 Newsbeat. PlayStation 5 stock has been sparse since the console's release, making his work all that more profitable, "At the start when stock was limited, you could easily sell a PS5 for £800" says Jake.
And he's not wrong, PlayStation 5's have been sold way above the recommended retail price since launch, even by highstreet shops like CEX. The scalper goes on to say, "I don't sound like a very nice person but it's business, isn't it? Why should I be sitting in my bedroom playing video games like every other 18-year-old, not doing anything with their life? It's easy money, it's pocket money."
The other scalper the BBC talked to was 17-year-old Sam who claims she's not a scammer, she's "an entrepreneur of sorts." She says she's not like other people her age, breaking Covid lockdown rules, using social media, and instead she's running a business that's making her over £2,000 a month. "The reality is we buy stock, we own it, we can set the price. Some of the people in these groups do this to feed their families."
Though you may disagree with the practice, it's not yet illegal. The UK government cracked down on the ticket scalping issue back in 2018 and there is a possibility that they're going to turn their attention to other similar practices too. SNP MP Douglas Chapman has made this issue one of his focuses so it's already within government concerns.
Both scalpers the BBC talked to reported threats of violence when doing their business online. Sam has had rape threats and witnessed people saying she "should be stabbed and left to bleed in the street". Jake also received threats from "grown men in their 30s and 40s".
The issue continues to plague gamers who want to purchase next-gen tech. Right now stock is limited, in part, due to coronavirus interferences, and also because of a critical lack of semiconductors that all tech is facing.
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