Walmart blocked 20 million PS5 scalper bots in 30 minutes

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It promises more next-gen consoles will be available “soon”

WTF?! Scalpers and the bots they use have been a scourge to all gamers hoping to grab a PS5/Xbox Series X/new PC hardware this season. But some retailers have succeeded in fighting back against the practice, including Walmart, which claims it blocked tens of millions of bots attempting to grab the PlayStation 5.

Jerry Geisler, Walmart Global Tech’s Chief Information Security Officer, writes that one of the preventative actions the company implemented just hours before the PlayStation 5 event on November 25 blocked more than 20 million bot attempts within the first 30 minutes alone.

Geisler also notes that any making it through then faced audits, with all orders confirmed to have been bought by bots canceled by the firm. “As a result, the vast majority of our next-gen consoles have been purchased by legitimate customers, which is exactly what we want,” the post reads.

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There’s also a recommendation that lawmakers do more to prevent bots from swarming retail sites. In the UK, 26 politicians have signed a motion that could eventually lead to a ban on the resale of items purchased using automated bots.

To highlight just how bad scalping has been this season, Bloomberg notes that the usual ratio of new consoles sold to games purchased for that machine is one to one. In Japan, where Sony sold around 213,000 PlayStation 5 consoles, the top three titles sold fewer than 63,000 units, not counting digital downloads. That’s about three consoles for every one game, illustrating just how many people have bought PS5s for the sole purpose of reselling them.

Despite Walmart’s apparent success, getting hold of a PS5 remains a near-impossible task, though the company says it will have more next-gen consoles arriving online soon.

Earlier this month, a scalper company that secured almost 3,500 PS5 units for its members said it had “no regrets.” We’ve also heard that scalpers have generated nearly $40 million in profit from the holidays’ top tech products.

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