The current ongoing chip shortage is affecting tech from all walks of life. Electronics all over the world have become a bit harder to get, with gaming hardware hit especially hard when coupled with crypto mining demand. Getting a shiny new graphics card or console, or in some cases even RAM is already a heroic level challenge without adding scalpers into the mix.
Sky News talked to Jack Bayliss (via TechSpot) who runs a sort of aggregate service for people looking to make others pay too much for things like tech and shoes. The interview is around the idea of legislation to prevent scalpers and bots' mass buying of products. Bayliss makes some pretty inflammatory comments on the subject that seem designed to generate attention so I’ve decided not to list the name of his service.
As for what it does, users can sign up for £30 a month to be notified when retailers have stock of hot products, which of course is a great tool for local scalpers. According to Bayliss, he makes $61,000 USD from those who’ve signed up, many of whom he describes as very young, so it’s no surprise he’s keen to defend the practice.
"To me, owning the PS5 or an Xbox isn't a necessity, it's a luxury, okay? If you can afford to spend £450, spending the extra £100 should be pretty marginal, if you've got cash ready to splash on that." said Bayliss.
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Bayliss argues that the benefit to the people involved in the scheme far outweighs the cost to those who are wanting to buy a new console.
"Yes, some families are gonna have to pay another £100, but what you don’t think about is our members, they’ve got 30 consoles, they’re making £100 on each one. And then they’re making a good month’s salary in a couple of days."
He goes on to talk about how those participating in his scalping program are thriving on the profits, including people who are young or weren’t doing so well before, justifying the process.
"What they're doing is they're being entrepreneurs, they're going out, creating a side income, and they're doing something that 90% of the population can't be bothered to do," said Bayliss.
Bayliss also goes on to compare his service to the stock market. Simply buying up a popular stock that seems profitable and selling it to make money. Then to the manufacturing process, just another overhead for a new line of retailers. The 24-year old also stated he was "very in tune with my moral compass, as a person."
It’s impossible to not be frustrated by such cherry picked arguments. It’s easy to see that it’s still artificially inflating the price of an item for personal gain. Putting something out of reach of others just because you can afford it. It’s also likely that this is all just another play in the self proclaimed entrepreneurs’ efforts to get more subscriptions. Much like many NFT and crypto schemes going around, Bayliss relies on others buying into his service to turn a profit.
These kinds of schemes out there in the world where people who claim to be young entrepreneurs, but are really just adding an unnecessary step to a real service are fairly common. Like this service which calls the IRS and then charges you for their spot in line, artificially inflating the queue in the process. There’s the mistake in seeing value there when you have an immediate need, but these services don’t ever provide value, instead they just make consumers pay more. Every time.
If you can afford to spend thousands of dollars buying extra consoles in the hope that they sell to someone at a greatly inflated price, maybe you should just not do that and provide some actual service or value to the world.
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Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.
No, she’s not kidding.