Potential UK Console Scalping Ban Gathers Momentum


Politicians are stepping up plans to ask the UK government to consider a console scalping ban (or introducing other protective legislation) to prevent the high levels of reselling seen for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.In late 2020, a group of UK MPs tabled an Early Day Motion to discuss the banning of scalping, and the use of automated bots for “gaming consoles and computer components”. The motion, led by Douglas Chapman MP, has now garnered 32 signatures from MPs across multiple parties.

In a statement to IGN, Chapman indicated that he now intends to take the issue further: “Given that experts in the cyber industry now predict the issue of scalping to grow across other important goods and services this year, we are looking at presenting a Bill in Parliament so that we can further explore legislative options to protect consumers from this unfair practice.”Early Day Motions are regularly used to highlight current issues, but rarely reach a true House of Commons debate. Presenting a Bill, as Chapman is now considering, would be considered an escalation of the process, and an attempt to put pressure on the government to consider formal legislation.

Asked why Chapman began this process, he explained that the impetus to begin the debate in parliament came directly from his constituents in Dunfermline and West Fife:

“The issue of scalping first came up with constituents contacting me to explain their frustration about being unable to get hold of certain games consoles or computer components pre-Christmas. On investigation we uncovered more details of the unscrupulous practice of ‘scalping’ by automated bots to bulk buy these goods and sell them on at inflated prices.”The issue of scalping has reached new levels of recognition after the release of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, as well as new graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. In the US, at least 10% of PS5s are estimated to have been resold, averaging around double the recommended retailer price on eBay. Part-and-parcel of that phenomenon has been the use of bots to secure units before regular consumers can do so, a tactic popularised by sneaker culture.

The UK has seen huge demand for new-gen consoles, and scalping has become a recurring story amid that demand. Scalping chains have been claiming large numbers of consoles, even using loopholes to buy stock before it’s officially available. Alongside supply shortages, it’s a trend that’s led to repeated disappointment for normal consumers, and even potentially spurred criminal activity.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].




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