What Is a Console Scalper and How Do You Avoid Them?

Not being able to get your hands on the latest gaming console as soon as it comes out can be frustrating. And when that wait becomes weeks or even months due to scalpers, the frustration only gets worse!

Scalpers buy massive numbers of products to sell online for astronomical prices to make insane profits. This hugely negatively affects both the consumer and the gaming industry. If you’re wondering how can scalping can affect you and how you can avoid it, keep reading.

What Does Console Scalping Mean?

Scalpers can infiltrate any industry, not just gaming. However, it is particularly bad in the gaming industry, especially when it comes to hardware. This has been seen time and time again, but the most notable case so far is the PlayStation 5.

The PlayStation 5 already suffered from limited numbers upon launch due to real-world circumstances and component shortages. But when the PS5 hit the market, scalpers scooped up most of these consoles before many real fans could.

Suddenly, getting your hands on a PS5 from legitimate stores was tough, but you could find ample quantities of them on eBay or other buy-and-sell websites. These devices are even being sold twice or thrice the amount Sony was charging.

Scalping usually occurs within organized networks that set up people, or even bots, to buy large quantities of products upon launch. The main goal is to purchase most of what’s on the market so none is left for anyone else. This forces gamers to buy their consoles from scalpers for inflated prices as a last resort.

Sony is the first to combat this, testing out a new tactic to combat scalpers by having customers register for preorders for their latest system, the PS VR2. Check out our guide on how to preorder the PS VR2 if you want to learn more about how that process works.

How Does Console Scalping Affect You?

Giving in to scalpers and purchasing a console at inflated prices from them is damaging in many ways. For starters, you’re losing large quantities of your own money just to get your hands on the PS5. Scalpers prey on fans desperate enough to get a PlayStation 5 console, so much so that they’re willing to pay far more than the retail price.

It’s also damaging to game developers since the money you could’ve spent on new titles went instead to the scalpers. Instead of buying four or five games, you might just settle for one or two AAA games because of the extra money you paid to the scalper.

It can also be damaging to you as a consumer. You surrender your consumer’s rights when you purchase a console from a scalper on a website like Facebook or eBay. It becomes a second-hand exchange, which means you are foregoing your right to replace, return, or repair your console under warranty.

All the extra cash you spend doesn’t make it back to any of the teams responsible for making the console you love. Instead, it goes directly into lining the pockets of scalpers who do not have your best interests at heart, to say the least.

How Can You Avoid Console Scalpers?

The best way to avoid purchasing from a scalper is to make your purchases from known and trusted stores like GameStop or the PlayStation store itself. Buying from a physical store or straight from the source guarantees that your purchase is legitimate and that your console is covered under warranty if anything happens to it.

Be patient. It can be incredibly frustrating seeing someone selling the console you want online and not being able to get it. But if you see a PlayStation 5 or any other console being sold online for far more than it is worth, stay away from it. This is a sure sign that the console has been scalped and the seller is trying to make a profit.

PS5 console beside two DualSense controllers

The easiest way to combat scalpers is to boycott them. Buying a console from a scalper only adds fuel to the fire and encourages them to perpetuate their cycle. If you are considering purchasing a new gaming console, read our guide to ensure you are not buying your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X from a scalper.

Don’t Fuel the Fire by Paying Ridiculous Prices for Your Console

Next-gen gaming consoles are already expensive. So the last thing you need to do is spend even more money on them and encourage scalpers to continue doing dodgy business in the process.

Avoiding scalpers helps you and the gaming industry in the long run, so make sure you purchase your console from a trusted source.

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