(Cindy Proaño / Daily Titan)
Given the current lack of entertainment in our pandemic world, a popular hobby that emerged last year is gaming. Although gaming has always been popular for all ages, it has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic.
With that, reselling video games has seen a growth in popularity as well. It’s a creative way to get money while times have been tough. But as reselling has gained traction, a more aggressive strategy called scalping is growing in the gaming community as well.
The Cambridge Dictionary states that scalping is buying items at their normal price and selling them to others for much higher when the items are in scarce supply. Unlike reselling, scalping forces gamers to pay ridiculous prices for games, while those selling them make a pretty penny.
Scalping is an unethical way to make money, and it can have a dangerous effect on the way we buy things in the future. It’s scamming people out of a lot of money, hidden behind the excuse of supply and demand. The immense profits made from scalping provides a strong incentive for this behavior to continue. We’ll be forced to pay twice as much for no good reason other than scalpers’ greed.
Now more than ever, people are actively buying things with the goal of removing stock from shelves and selling them at a ridiculous upcharge. For gamers, this means that people are strategically taking away consoles that would otherwise go to those who actually want to use them. Gone are the days when we could just go into our local GameStop to buy a new console to play with our friends for too many hours.
Scalpers have ruined the fabric of gaming, as money has been prioritized over personal enjoyment.
Every couple of years when the newest and best game systems are released to consumers, they sell incredibly fast. With the reduced output, or in some cases total shutdown of factories, video games and consoles are more scarce, and people are left competing with scalpers and robots that are trying to buy them all up before anyone else.
To make matters worse, there is a major shortage of silicone chips, which are important components to game consoles, computers and many other types of technology. The demand for technology with these chips is incredibly high and even though companies have begun to increase production of these chips, it is almost impossible to meet the demand. This has further contributed to scarcity of next generation consoles as there aren’t enough parts to make them. This leaves a perfect storm for scalpers and resellers to take advantage of.
Gaming offers people a way to pass time and take their minds off the scary and serious world we have been living in. But scalpers are taking that opportunity away from people who seriously need a small escape.
Looking online at Best Buy, GameStop and Target shows that there are no Playstation or Xbox consoles available for purchase. Stores rarely gain new stock and when they do, people camp out overnight just for a chance to buy one.
But when one moves their search to sites such as Ebay or StockX, which are meant for people to sell their own items, they find numerous listings for the consoles ranging anywhere from $600 to even $1499. Just to put those prices in context, the cheapest Playstation 5, which uses digital copies of games instead of discs, is $399 and the standard system is $499. Similarly, the regular Xbox Series X is $499 and the disc free Xbox Series S sells for $299. This means that scalpers are making almost double or more by strategically buying them all before others can.
To end scalper’s reign of terror on the gaming community, gamers need to stop buying from them, no matter how badly they want the new games and consoles.
If consumers refuse to buy at inflated prices, scalpers can’t afford the heavy losses. When the gaming community stops rewarding scalper’s behavior with sales, it can eradicate the problem all together. Then gaming won’t be a headache anymore, and will once again become a fun hobby to be enjoyed alone or with friends.