PS5 fans are fighting back against scalpers by placing fake bids on eBay.
Demand for the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles has vastly outstripped supply, with outlets across the world, including Game and Amazon, currently out of stock. Sony this week joined Microsoft in warning that shortages could last for months.
The lack of available consoles has led to a surge in price gouging, with unscrupulous companies buying any available consoles, ramping up the prices and selling them on at a profit through sites including eBay.
One UK-based company, which uses bots to snap up consoles as soon as they are listed for sale, claims to have resold almost 2,500 PS5 consoles for profit.
This has led internet users to fight back by placing absurdly high bids for the machines to ruin the auction. One such user, Lance McDonald, has been placing bids for AU$25,000 for each PS5 listed on the site.
He discovered he wasn’t the only one with the idea when his winning bid was revealed to have trumped a bid of AU$10,100.
He tweeted: “Having fun just placing $25,000 bids on every scalper’s PS5 auction on eBay. Worth getting my account suspended over when I don’t pay for any of them in the end. Also lol someone else seriously bid $10k before me.”
McDonald is known for his YouTube videos delving into the code of popular From Software titles including Dark Souls and Bloodborne to reveal secrets left out of the finished game by the developer.
It is thought that ongoing disruption to global supply chains caused by Covid, plus bumper demand from people across the world being confined to their homes has led to the shortages.
Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 should cost £449, with Microsoft also offering a lower-spec Series S for £249. But resold consoles have been fetching prices of more than £1,500 as fans battle to secure one before Christmas.
Sony says it is on track to top the launch of the PS4, which ended the last generation as the second highest-selling home console of all time, second only to the PlayStation 2, which sold 155m units.
Analysts expect this generation to be a far closer affair, with Microsoft claiming to have created the world’s fastest console, while Sony’s machine may have slightly faster loading times.