But there is some good news, with Walmart promising better ways to identify scalpers who are using bots and prevent them from buying more next-gen consoles to resell at outrageous prices.
This news comes from a post from chief information security officer Jerry Geisler on Walmart’s corporate website. In it, Geisler outlines how Walmart has been working to ensure people, not bots, get the “hottest gifts they want this season.” Including the PS5 and Xbox Series X, more of which are “coming online soon.”
While it’s probably too late to get a console delivered before Christmas Day, assuming Walmart gets new stock to sell, it could be possible to order online and pick it up in your local store. After all, you don’t need to wait for the console to be dispatched and delivered if you pick it up yourself.
In-person pick up would also be a helpful tool in the fight against scalpers as well. Walmart says it managed to thwart 20 million bots during the first 30 minutes of its November 25 restock, but it’s been clear that more measures are needed. The retailer may be using technology to proactively prevent bots from buying stock, but every time a new measure successfully thwarts their efforts, scalpers get started on a workaround in a never ending battle to decide who gets all the PS5s.
By making people pick up consoles in person, scalpers are far less likely to be able to purchase multiple consoles quite so easily. This is especially true if Walmart stores are strict with the “one per customer policy” that’s designed to stop people hoarding in-demand products.
Scalpers could still visit multiple Walmart stores to collect their ill-gotten purchases, but the harder it is for them to buy multiple consoles the less likely they are to bother.
Of course the only real way to stop scalpers is to avoid buying consoles from them. As frustrating as it may be to not be able to pick up a PS5 or Xbox Series X from a legitimate retailer, the more people who resort to overpriced scalper consoles the more likely those scalpers are to carry on. But if nobody buys, it stops being economical to keep stockpiling consoles the way they’ve been doing.
In the meantime your best tactic is be patient and try your luck next time a retailer has next-gen consoles in stock. Be sure to check our guide on how to beat the bots and buy an Xbox Series X. We’ve also been keeping tabs on who has stock and when, so make sure to check out our guides on where to buy a PS5 and where to buy an Xbox Series X. And be ready to jump at any time, because those consoles never stay in stock for very long.