UKIE, the Association for U.K. Interactive Entertainment, has responded to reports of proposed legislation in the U.S. that would ban scalper bots.
Earlier today, it was reported that a group of U.S. Democrats introduced the 'Stopping Grinch Bots Act.' Led by Representative Paul Tonko, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Ben Ray Luján, the act seeks to ban bots used by scalpers (per VGC).
In short, scalpers utilize bots to circumvent digital queues of customers, purchasing multiple units of a sought-after console, only to sell them on at exceedingly higher prices. This is nothing new, of course, but scalpers have particularly been in the spotlight over the last 12 months, ever since the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S launched in November 2020.
In response to this proposed legislation, a UKIE spokesperson spoke to GamesRadar+ about the state of scalping in general: "The industry has worked hard to increase the number of consoles coming into the market and make sure they get into the hands of as many players as possible. But unprecedented demand combined to supply chain issues has, unfortunately, meant that not everyone has been able to get a hold of a console.
"For now, our top tip is to stay patient, follow trusted retailers on social media for stock updates and to continue to try to buy from them. Holding out to buy a console at the recommended price will discourage the small number of scalpers, save you money, and protect your consumer rights in the long run."
We've seen a number of measures, from both inside and outside of the games industry, take aim at scalpers over the past year. After scalpers reportedly sold north of 60,000 PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles over November 2020, a group of U.K. politicians called for action against scalper bots, with legislation sponsored by 10 Members of Parliament in total.
Even retailers have taken matters into their own hands in some cases, with one retailer cancelling over 1,000 new-gen console orders placed by a scalper late last year. The situation surrounding the use of scalper bots online is far from resolved however, and and this new legislation from U.S. lawmakers is well worth keeping an eye on over the coming months.
You can head over to our new games 2021 guide for a full look at all the games coming to new-gen platforms over the next year.