Yesterday Nvidia‘s 3080 series went up for sale and was out of stock everywhere within a second. An estimated tens of thousands of users attempted to purchase a singular card and were foiled, once again, by consumers ignoring the ‘one card per customer’ in order to take the cards and sell them at exorbitant costs.
It’s the scalpers yet again; we’ve seen them with sneakers, with everything Nintendo releases, and GPU’s have been a target in the past as well.
With the 3080 offering a heft of power (stronger than the 2080 Ti) at a favorable price point (starting at $699, half a 2080 Ti) it was common knowledge that everything would sell out, but many were still desperate for the opportunity to upgrade their PC as early as possible.
— PCMR (@OfficialPCMR) September 17, 2020
The chance was squandered thanks to bots and scripts that ensured scalpers would receive the items (multiple Twitter users were crowing that they’ve been able to purchase dozens of the cards before anyone had a chance to see they were in stock) instead of people that wanted to use them in their PCs.
This, on top of Nvidia not thinking through the process and not adding in any form of bot detection like Captcha’s, ensuring that the vast majority of users were unable to purchase. Simultaneously, the cards have been going up on eBay with prices that reach well past $2,000.
And there it is Bounce Alerts was responsible for snagging a bunch of NVIDIA RTX 3080 cards this morning 😑
Resellers are the scum of the Earthhttps://t.co/m1Z7MPIetF
— Parris (@vicious696) September 17, 2020
So the PC community thought about it for a while, stewing in their frustration, and came up with a fantastic plan. Crafting scripts themselves, they are automating the bidding on 3080 cards to skyrocket the price to an obscene figure, and then not completing the purchase forcing the reseller to restart the bidding; hopefully binding the scalpers until more arrives in stock, leaving the scalpers with tons of product and no means to move them.
Others are finding the scalpers on Facebook Marketplace, and offering obscene sums for the seller to drive out of their way, and never meeting them there; using fake phone numbers with Burner App and SMS services that generate phone numbers on the fly.
Not only did these trash people cop 10s to 100s of cards INSTANTLY, they had the Audacity to post about it publicly and tag the service that provided the bots so I'm going to put them on blast so @nvidia can, I don't know, do something about it???
— corbin. (@poly_mathic) September 17, 2020
The apex of frustration has turned into a bizarre ‘users versus scalpers’ war that is likely to carry on well into the future for other products that are similarly contested.
Such as the PlayStation 5 pre-order launch which, as Kotaku described it, was an ‘absolute ‘clusterfrick” that similarly saw the pre-orders immediately flipped for a higher cost on eBay and reseller sites such as StockX where scalpers tend to frequent. Nvidia has stated that they’re doing ‘everything humanly possible’ to stop single users from purchasing the vast majority of the extremely limited stock available; what that will actually amount to in terms of tangible results is currently left for interpretation.
It’s becoming infinitely clearer that the manufacturers, from Nvidia to Nintendo, don’t really care much as to who gets their products as long as they’re selling, and that consistently leaves the market ripe for scalpers to swoop in and yoink the units from others, leaving consumers to wage their own wars against the resellers. A war that looks like it might be getting very interesting as bot scripts begin thwarting bot scripts.