Gaming News Interview

Interview with a gaming console scalper

“We are living in a capitalist country, where these things are permitted"

Thousands of people around the world, hoping to secure themselves a new gaming console on launch, have been left to squabble in their own misery – the majority at no fault of their own. 

Many will just suck it up and wait, but what of those not bound by cash and lack of desire? Where do they turn? They’re the ones falling for it, they’re the ones playing right into the hands of the scalper. 

Preorders for the launch day Xbox Series X sold out in 14 minutes and the PlayStation 5 sold out within the hour. Now dozens of consoles are appearing online at exorbitant prices. 

RELATED: New Xbox preorders gone in 14 minutes as scalpers sell online for thousands

While it’s not illegal to sell consoles at double their retail value, there’s no easy defence of it either. The only reason to snap up a preorder is for financial gain at the expense of someone else.

Image: eBay listings are out of control, some with almost 30 bids. Source: Must Play AU

I went hunting to find out why (beside the obvious) people are doing this – and after contacting dozens of scalpers online, I finally got a bite.

Adam (not his real name) listed a PlayStation 5 on Facebook Marketplace, recently pre ordered from JB HIFI, for $600 more than the recommended retail price.

Image: Adam’s Facebook Marketplace listing (since removed). Source: Must Play AU

Adam claimed he was simply selling the console with a plan to use the money gained to buy his own PlayStation 5.

“For me to be able to afford to have one I needed to sell one online to be able to afford one for myself”, Adam told me.

Adam says he’s not the only one doing it, his friends have consoles up for sale too, with one selling on ebay for $1500. 

I asked Adam to put me in touch with his friends.

“You can look on eBay for yourself.” 

“They are well off with money, they just doing it because they want to make extra money. One is a banker and one is an engineer.” 

Adam admits he does feel guilt for scalping, but attempted to justify the sale by comparing it to the big retailers.

“We are living in a capitalist country, where these things are permitted,” said Adam

“Look at Bunnings, Myer, David Jones. They mark up the products up to 1000%”. 

Ironically, none of the retailers he mentioned sell any gaming consoles.

He blocked me from Facebook after our chat – further guilt?

After speaking to Adam, we challenged a few other scalpers online. 

One claimed she was “just selling for a friend.”

Another felt so guilty after chatting to me that they lowered their price (you’re welcome internet)! 

Scott (also not his real name), dropped the price in his Facebook listing from $1100 to $990 telling me he lowered his price to be “more reasonable and negotiable.”

Image: Scott was quick to change the price of his listing after I messaged him. Source: Must Play AU

The excuses roll on.

Hopefully supply will catch up with demand sooner than later. 

EB Games and JB HIFI have temporarily closed their preorders for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

We’ll look to keep you updated when preorders reopen.

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