Members of Parliament have urged the government to take steps to make illegal the use of online bots to buy sought-after games consoles to sell on for profit.
Shortages of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles are due to a combination of a myriad of production issues and the success of scalpers in snapping up supplies and offering them for double the retail price on the secondary market.
Douglas Chapman MP, of the SNP, told Sky News that the practice “seems to me a total scam” and said that the practice reeked of “profiteering”.
A letter inviting the government to bring forth legislative proposals that would see to the ban of using automated bots, in a similar way that the resale of concert and sports tickets are illegal, has been posted on the government website. The text of the motion has been signed by 32 MPs thus far, from right across the political spectrum, and reads:
“That this House believes that new releases of gaming consoles and computer components should be available to all customers at no more than the Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price, and not be bought in bulk by the use of automated bots which often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by the retailer; calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals similar to those introduced for the secondary selling of tickets, thereby prohibiting the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price and furthermore this House; and further calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals making the resale of goods purchased using an automated bot an illegal activity, thereby denying unscrupulous vendors the chance to make themselves vast profits at the expense of genuine gamers and computer users, while also deterring fraudulent cybercriminal activity.”
The motion still has to be brought to the floor by the government and even then it would require a majority of the House of Commons to vote for it in order to become law.