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The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles have now been out for over a year, but they're not still not that easy to pick up. One of the main reasons for this, as you probably know, is the well-documented semiconductor shortage that has effectively prevented Sony and Microsoft from building as many consoles as they would actually like to sell.
This scarcity of supply has been further compounded by scalpers who have spent the last year or so buying up what little stock there is so they can sell it on for inflated prices and make a profit from desperate customers. These people see themselves as wide-eyed entrepreneurs. Others... do not.
Sky News recently spoke with Aftermarket Arbitrage, a group that uses software to track retail stock and alert members when new items are available. For just £30 a month, members can make use of this software to identify and pick up hot items like the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Scalping is typically supported by businesses like Aftermarket Arbitrage, who give resellers the advantage they need to get a head start on stick before selling it on for a profit.
While the UK Government continues to debate such practices, Aftermarket Arbitrage owner Jack Bayliss believes there's nothing wrong with what they're doing. The 24 year old started his business by reselling in-demand sneakers, but soon broadened his horizons. Aftermarket Arbitrage Instagram posts show boxes and boxes of PlayStation 5 consoles and other hot items stacked from floor to ceiling.
"We basically just adapt when we see a shortage in like a supply chain, a supply and demand issue. We can then capitalise on that," Bayliss explained.
"If you look at the stock market, and the moment you see an arbitrage opportunity, where someone thinks an asset is undervalued, traders are gonna jump on it and arbitrage that profit away. That's exactly what we're doing."
Bayliss added that he's not entirely bothered by the idea of families who haven't been able to pick up a PS5 for their kids because of businesses like his.
"To me, owning the PS5 or an Xbox isn't a necessity, it's a luxury, okay? If you can afford to spend £450, spending the extra £100 should be pretty marginal, if you've got cash ready to splash on that," he said.
"Yes, some families are gonna have to pay another £100, but what you don't think about is our members, they've got 30 consoles, they're making £100 on each one. And then they're making a good month's salary in a couple of days."
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