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  1. Potential UK Console Scalping Ban Gathers Momentum [Updated] Update: Bill is unlikely to pass, but could help pressure the government into new legislation. Update 02/09/2021: Douglas Chapman MP has now formally brought forward a Bill to ban gaming hardware scalping in the UK. Titled the Gaming Hardware (Automated Purchase and Resale) Bill 2019-21, (as reported by Sky News), it aims to apply similar restrictions on console reselling to those insituted for ticket touting in the UK. Speaking to Sky News about the Bill's similarity to the previous ticket touting law, Chapman said, "We've proposed that a similar legislative process be brought forward to ensure that consumers can purchase gaming consoles and computer components at no more than the manufacturers' recommended price, and that resale of goods purchased by automated bots be made illegal." Chapman acknowledged that the Bill is unlikely to pass – MPs outside the ruling government party rarely see their Bills become law – but was using it as an action to force the government to "take responsibility" for the ongoing issue. Private Members' Bills such as this have previously affected legislation indirectly, which will be Chapman's hope. Politicians are stepping up plans to ask the UK government to consider a console scalping ban (or introducing other protective legislation) to prevent the high levels of reselling seen for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. In late 2020, a group of UK MPs tabled an Early Day Motion to discuss the banning of scalping, and the use of automated bots for "gaming consoles and computer components". The motion, led by Douglas Chapman MP, has now garnered 32 signatures from MPs across multiple parties. In a statement to IGN, Chapman indicated that he now intends to take the issue further: "Given that experts in the cyber industry now predict the issue of scalping to grow across other important goods and services this year, we are looking at presenting a Bill in Parliament so that we can further explore legislative options to protect consumers from this unfair practice." Early Day Motions are regularly used to highlight current issues, but rarely reach a true House of Commons debate. Presenting a Bill, as Chapman is now considering, would be considered an escalation of the process, and an attempt to put pressure on the government to consider formal legislation. Asked why Chapman began this process, he explained that the impetus to begin the debate in parliament came directly from his constituents in Dunfermline and West Fife: “The issue of scalping first came up with constituents contacting me to explain their frustration about being unable to get hold of certain games consoles or computer components pre-Christmas. On investigation we uncovered more details of the unscrupulous practice of ‘scalping’ by automated bots to bulk buy these goods and sell them on at inflated prices." The issue of scalping has reached new levels of recognition after the release of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, as well as new graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. In the US, at least 10% of PS5s are estimated to have been resold, averaging around double the recommended retailer price on eBay. Part-and-parcel of that phenomenon has been the use of bots to secure units before regular consumers can do so, a tactic popularised by sneaker culture. The UK has seen huge demand for new-gen consoles, and scalping has become a recurring story amid that demand. Scalping chains have been claiming large numbers of consoles, even using loopholes to buy stock before it's officially available. Alongside supply shortages, it's a trend that's led to repeated disappointment for normal consumers, and even potentially spurred criminal activity. Source: Potential UK Console Scalping Ban Gathers Momentum [Updated]
  2. Scalpers sold over 53,000 new Nvidia/AMD cards worth $65 million That's $16 million in profit A hot potato: Michael Driscoll's update on the state of eBay/StockX scalping continues with a look at the latest graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. Just over 53,000 Ampere/RDNA 2 products were sold on the platforms, bringing in $65.45 million in sales and just over $16 million in profit. Following on from his examination of Zen 3 scalping earlier this week, Driscoll looked at the turbulent graphics cards market. Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series and AMD’s RX 6000 line have been notoriously difficult to find unless you pay over the odds on reseller sites. Starting with team green, a total of 49,580 Ampere GPUs have sold on eBay/StockX, bringing in $61.5 million in sales. Scalpers made $15.2 million in profit, while eBay/PayPal/StockX took a hefty $6.8 million cut. Unlike Zen 3, most Ampere prices on eBay have been increasing recently—the only exception being the RTX 3090. They currently average between 140 and 200 percent of their MSRP. The RTX 3080 has consistently had the largest markup; its median price on eBay is currently $1,300, 85 percent higher than its MSRP. Even the arrival of the RTX 3060 Ti didn’t lower prices. “The 3060 went from 160 percent launch price 1/1/21 to now 210 percent launch price and has recently fallen down to 190 percent of launch price. The 3080 is a similar story, from 170 percent at Christmas to now 200 percent,” writes Driscoll. Founders Edition RTX 3000 cards were most popular, followed by those from EVGA and Asus. Additionally, RTX 20xx, RTX 16xx, GTX 1000, and GTX 900 series cards all increased 33 – 100 percent in price since the launch of Ampere There were fewer of AMD’s RDNA 2 cards being scalped: 3,461 appeared on eBay/StockX—just 7 percent of the RTX 30 series—bringing in $3.95 million in sales ($944K for scalpers, $615K for eBay/PayPal/StockX). The cards average between 160 percent and 220+ percent MSRP. The Radeon RX 6800 XT ($499 MSRP) appears the most profitable for scalpers, selling for around $1,229. It’s not only the shortages that are causing problems. The 25 percent tax on Chinese imports has seen some vendors increase graphics card prices, with scalpers bumping up their prices even more. Both Nvidia and AMD have warned that supply will remain tight throughout Q1, so don’t expect the situation to improve any time soon. Source: Scalpers sold over 53,000 new Nvidia/AMD cards worth $65 million
  3. It's 2021, and scalpers are still buying up PS5 inventory for huge profits Bots continue to be a headache for legitimate shoppers Editor's take: Experienced scalpers use software supplied from firms like Carnage to quickly buy up stock of in-demand items such as the PlayStation 5, then turn around and sell them for a profit on third-party marketplaces like eBay. Slowing them down has proven difficult, and really, do manufacturers and retailers even care? Sony promised to deliver additional PlayStation 5 stock late last year ahead of the holidays but ultimately, the console remained next to impossible to find at retail. More positive news came early this month when insiders claimed Sony was planning to boost production of its next-gen console to help cater to demand. And when UK retailer Game announced it had fresh stock of the PS5 this week, eager buyers were ready to do business. Unfortunately, so were scalpers. According to a Twitter post from one popular bot maker, their buying software completed over 2,000 PlayStation 5 checkouts from Game’s restock. “Just keeps getting easier every time,” the firm added. Carnage bots doing better than ever from @GAMEdigital's PS5 stop drop this morning. Really sad. I want a PS5 badly but refuse to fund scalpers so will just have to wait it seems. pic.twitter.com/BsvMOwSyQZ — Rachel Dacre (@Stingrach_) January 19, 2021 Carnage has since made its tweets private, no doubt in response to all of the negative feedback from disgruntled buyers. A spokesperson for Game told GamingBible that all orders are subject to checks. “At the present time these orders are still pre-orders and as such no payments have yet been taken from customers,” the retailer said. “Payments will commence once our order checks have been completed,” the spokesperson added. As of writing, PS5s are commanding anywhere between $750 and $850 over on eBay. A digital-only PS5 sells for $399 at retail while a model with a disc drive goes for $499. Source: It's 2021, and scalpers are still buying up PS5 inventory for huge profits
  4. AMD wants to avoid the launch day debacle rival Nvidia faced with its RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards, which scalpers have been purchasing using automated bots. As AMD prepares to sell new CPU chips and graphics cards, the company is apparently working to prevent scalpers from snatching up its products, according to a document leak. AMD recently sent a letter to vendor partners about setting up safeguards to stop scalpers from crashing the Ryzen 5000 and RX 6000 launch day sales, according to RedGamingTech and Moore’s Law Is Dead, which both obtained the document. AMD’s main concern is disappointing consumers on launch day should automated bots controlled by scalpers buy up all the inventory. “We expect that some purchasers (scalpers) may initially try to buy large quantities of our new graphics and processor cards and re-sell them at higher prices in the secondary market,” AMD wrote in the letter. “We also want to prevent site crashes or unresponsiveness due to the unexpected surges in traffic and any ambiguity about product availability and lead times,” the company added. In other words, AMD wants to avoid the launch day debacle rival Nvidia faced with its RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards, which immediately sold out when they went on sale last month. Scalpers are now hawking the cards on eBay for $1,000 or more over the normal pricing. In the letter, AMD calls on partners to implement “real-time bot detection mechanisms” to identify and block activity from suspected scalpers. Other safeguards include adding a CAPTCHA test to determine whether the user is a human, making sure purchases are limited to one per customer, and implementing an online queue-based system so users who miss out on the launch day sales can reserve a spot to buy the product once stock becomes available again. That all said, AMD is only “strongly” recommending its partners implement the safeguards. At the same time, the people who run and develop the bots for scalpers say they’re routinely coming up with ways to beat anti-bot detection mechanisms. So at best, AMD and its partners will likely only be able to slow down the scalping—not eliminate it entirely. Source
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