One seller on amazon Japan has been spotted selling GPU mystery boxes (opens in new tab) for the equivalent of $100–$125. That's but a fraction of the cost of a graphics card in today's market, considering the state last year's silicon shortage left us in, so you won't be surprised to hear the listing sold out almost instantaneously.
The boxes apparently could contain anything from an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 (opens in new tab), or AMD RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab), down to a GeForce 900-series or RX 300, and come in four distinct tiers: GOOD BOX, High Quality, 100% Winning, and Box.
Although WCCFTech believes (opens in new tab) these mystery boxes are indeed "for real," there's something about this whole thing that makes me uncomfortable. The only two reviews for the product seem to be from people who never actually bought one, and equate to just three stars. That doesn't immediately fill me with confidence.
And yet, by the time I got there they were completely out of stock, so someone must have bought them up. At ¥14,000, or $100-$125, the boxes may make some sense as an investment, if you're lucky, and even graphics cards at the lower end have been selling for way over $200. Though if you pick up a 900-series card in 2022, you're not doing too well on your investment.
And there's a lot of options to choose from. GOOD BOX is top of the list, with its contents including "all series of NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards," used or brand new, although they confirm the current-gen cards are all brand new. Then there's the High Quality box, which it doesn't specify but is likely to contain older models. Although the seller assures, "all graphics cards are real and worth your money, so you don't have to worry about it."
I mean, if you have to say it...
Then there's the 100% Winning box in which you can "find your own surprise and get a random product of equal or super value." And of course, no mystery box listing would be complete without the very humble Box option, which includes a randomly selected item. It doesn't even mention whether it's tech-based, or if you'll be getting some obscure secret-santa-esque crap. But as they say, "this is a brave game."
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The probability of getting an older 900 series card equivalent is placed at 16%, while that drops to 8% for a 10 series, 4% for a 20 series, and just 2% for an RTX 30 series or equivalent. I'm not sure I like those odds; in fact, never tell me the odds.
Personally, I hate the concept of mystery boxes. Never saw the fascination with gambling, and this just feels wrong to me.
Still, I'll admit it's a whimsical hustle in today's silicon starved era. If a little bleak.