Millions of problems plague the gaming industry. Scalping is one of these problems. It can lead to shortages, economic imbalance, and unfair prices. Gaming is already an expensive hobby, and scalping is making it even more costly.
This is a plague that needs to be stopped. But how can it be stopped when it works so well for those people who do it? In this article, we will be exploring the nature of scalping, its origins, and how it works in the gaming world. We will also be looking into ways we can solve such a problem in the industry.
The Nature of Scalping
The origins of scalping didn’t come from video games but in trade and business. Scalping is a trading strategy in which the trader would invest in many stocks to lessen the risk of their purchase. Eventually, they sell these small stocks to the point that they would have the same amount of profit from a considerable stock trade. It’s an excellent strategy for those who enjoy casual trading, but its short-term implication means that you could easily miss on big trades.
However, the definition of scalping in the world of video games is much different. Essentially, scalping means purchasing a large variety of goods to create a shortage in the market and sell your purchased goods at an inflated price. This is illegal in some states, but if you have a couple of people who can join you, you can bypass the law.
The nature of scalping in the gaming industry is considered criminal and unlawful, but it’s not well monitored. One of the recent scalping problems that the sector experienced is console scalping.
When the first set of next-gen consoles were released into the market, there were already shortage problems. The pandemic was already around when the release happened, and many manufacturers couldn’t keep up with the demand. Scalpers didn’t help with the situation.
During the first week of console releases, scalpers hit the stores, purchasing five to ten consoles at a time. They then sold the consoles they’ve purchased at a much higher price. So consoles that were supposed to sell between $400 to $500 were priced double or even triple that amount in the hands of scalpers.
Those who were desperate enough to purchase the consoles thinking that the shortages would last for much longer suffered. Some content creators reportedly spent thousands of dollars to get a console not to get left behind by others. This was a real problem for everybody.
Another recent problem with scalping in the industry is GPU scalping. With the current GPU shortage around, it’s not quite a surprise for many in the industry.
GPUs are an essential computer part for everybody. Many think that GPUs are necessary if you’re planning to build a custom gaming computer, but they are also crucial in the world of business as well. For example, animation and entertainment studios rely on GPUs so that their programs can run smoothly. Many students who attend online classes also require GPUs for their laptops and computers.
It’s reported that scalpers have sold thousands of GPUs in the market, profiting by over sixty million dollars from their sales. These sales came from gamers and desperate consumers who needed GPUs for their schools and businesses.
Video Game Scalping
The final form of scalping is video game scalping. Sometimes, video games are only produced by a small number in certain regions. In addition, some video game editions, such as the collector’s edition or special edition, are also produced in limited amounts. This makes it an attractive venture for many scalpers.
Many video game scalpers would purchase special and collector’s editions to create a shortage in the market and sell them at a high price. It’s important to remember that some of these video games can be an investment because they increase in value as time passes. Scalpers make it hard for these people who want to invest in such an item and anyone who wants it in general.
The problem with scalpers is that they can get away by purchasing thousands of gaming items such as consoles, GPUs, and video games without any repercussions. Sadly, it’s hard to track these scalpers when they do. One solution is to limit the number of items a specific person can purchase.
No one needs two to three of the same console in their home, which should already be a red flag to many sellers. This is what Sony did when they released their PS5 console. Although it doesn’t stop multiple scalpers from purchasing multiple consoles together, it does make it harder for them to procure the needed stocks to start a shortage.
Another solution is to screen potential buyers. Some retailers are now asking consumers to put their address and other personal information to ensure that repeat orders aren’t made. It’s a smart move because such information is already required for warranties.
Scalpers will always exist in the gaming industry. However, these solutions will help control the profits these scalpers can get. It can also be a step in the right direction when it comes to getting rid of scalpers.