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Update 19/01/2021 14:30: GAME responded to my request for comment, explaining that all orders are subject to checks. A spokesperson for the company said: "At the present time these orders are still pre-orders and as such no payments have yet been taken from customers. Payments will commence once our order checks have been completed."
Update 19/01/2021 13:22: Since publishing this story, Carnage has set its Twitter account to private, hiding the tweet in question. Thankfully we still have a screenshot, which you can see below.
Original story follows:
We're nearly three months on from the PlayStation 5's launch, but would-be customers are still finding it next to impossible to get their hands on the next-gen console.
While many of the challenges involved in manufacturing and distributing enough PS5s to meet immense demand can be attributed to the ongoing global pandemic, much of the blame lies at the feet of scalpers. Many of these groups work together, often using bots and other software to determine the most in-demand items of the moment before finding ways to jump online queues, buy up what little stock is available, and sell it on for massively inflated prices.
This is an issue that has plagued the next-gen launch, seemingly with no end in sight. Scalper groups have boasted of making millions in profit since November last year, with one UK-based group claimed to have secured at least 3,500 PlayStation 5 consoles alone.
While many retailers have vowed to try and find ways around this, it seems as if scalpers will always be just a few steps ahead. Earlier today, UK retailer GAME finally had a limited supply of PlayStation 5 units back in stock - a supply that sold out within minutes. Carnage, a "UK/EU dedicated toy and miscellaneous collectibles bot" claims to have successfully logged 2,000 checkouts from GAME's restock alone, making thousands in profit in the process. To make matters worse? They bragged that it just keeps getting easier.
Over 2,000 Checkouts successfully logged for today's GAME restock on the PS5.. :flushed:
Just keeps getting easier every time :smiling_imp:
- Carnage (@Carnagebot) January 19, 2021
A number of Twitter users immediately called Carnage out for claiming to have taken so many consoles in this morning's restock, with many tagging GAME's customer support services. it's unclear what, if anything, GAME would be able to do about this, or even if the retailer would be able to recognise which orders came through via Carnage. I've reached out to GAME for comment.
Bots such as Carnage, which are seemingly capable of jumping queues and nabbing orders long before actual humans get a chance to reach the checkout, are a growing problem - especially thanks to a console launch that was primarily done online. Late last year the UK Government took the first steps for action against scalpers, with dozens of MPs calling for outright bans on bots just like Carnage.
It's very early days for this process unfortunately, and there's every chance nothing will ever come of it. For now, it seems, scalpers will be able to continue doing what they do, and all with the confidence to brag about their success while doing so.
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