I have been pondering this for the past few days, so thought I’d share my thoughts more than anything. To start, I will just say in regards to scalpers, I feel it’s morally wrong to be buying something that has an RRP, only to sell it on at double, or triple, in some cases! That being said, I don’t think it’s ever been as bad as it is currently, specifically with the new console launches. It’s hard enough as it is to get an Xbox Series X/S or a PS5 and if they do come up, chances are some of them are on ebay or Facebook at £700+. Scalpers, however, are completely avoidable. As much as we hate them, they exist purely because of us. If we as a society didn’t keep handing them the money, they would simply go away. I can see the debate already brewing in your mind, as when I said this to my wife, her answer was “it’s the only way to get one”, which is simply not true. All any of us have to do is wait.
The other debatable point she gave was “if our son wanted one for Christmas, I’d pay”. I see this as two fold – I can see why any parent would feel this way, but I also feel at the same time, if your son or daughter is old enough to use one, it’s about having that discussion and saying it will just take longer to come. Scalpers have become such a huge problem that a petition was raised for the Government to look into it. I’m not for this, simply because they exist because of us. I mentioned retail at the beginning and I’m very surprised it hasn’t made news, but I feel they themselves have become worse than scalpers. Forgetting about the new consoles, let’s look at the new AMD 6800XT/6800 and Nvidia 3 series RTX cards. Just consider their actual MSRP, which is from AMD and Nvidia themselves:
Now bear in mind the Nvidia cards are founders edition, so I expect a card by Asus, Gigasbyte etc., to cost more (as all AIB cards do), but the costs we’re seeing now are insane. I keep hearing multiple reasons as to why this may be. It’s Brexit; it’s demand; it’s cost of purchasing; mining. That all may play a part, but I don’t expect to see the rises we’re seeing now. From a PC gaming perspective, it is now pricing a lot of people out of the market. These are a few costs below from retailers (whom I won’t name, but a quick Google will get you to them) who are essentially “cashing in” too much in my view.
- 6800XT PowerCooler MBA – £799
- 6800 PowerCooler – £689
- 3070 Asus Dual – £749
- 3080 Asus TUF – £899
- 6800XT Clearance, Open Box MSI Gaming Trio – £979
That’s just a very small example, and most retailers now don’t list the prices (which is convenient!). The difference I see here is that businesses can hide behind the potential costs we don’t see, whereas a scalper can’t, realistically. When a manufacturer puts out the retail costs and the item is being sold above it, to some degree, we may accept this, but we’re seeing in some cases £200 – £400 on top. The question then becomes, who do you feel is worse – retail or scalpers?