It wasn’t just PS5 preorders last week that were a disaster, Nvidia’s release of its new RTX 3080 graphics card was also not great, again thanks to the actions of resellers using bots. With fans being pretty damn upset they missed out, Nvidia has apologised and promised to do better as the new cards continue to roll out.
In a short statement posted on the company’s forums, an Nvidia rep says:
This morning we saw unprecedented demand for the GeForce RTX 3080 at global retailers, including the NVIDIA online store. At 6 a.m. pacific we attempted to push the NVIDIA store live. Despite preparation, the NVIDIA store was inundated with traffic and encountered an error. We were able to resolve the issues and sales began registering normally.
To stop bots and scalpers on the NVIDIA store, we’re doing everything humanly possible, including manually reviewing orders, to get these cards in the hands of legitimate customers.
Over 50 major global retailers had inventory at 6 a.m. pacific. Our NVIDIA team and partners are shipping more RTX 3080 cards every day to retailers.
We apologize to our customers for this morning’s experience.
Here’s the thing though: you can’t stop this. The use of bots to buy up stock isn’t the issue, it’s a symptom, with the cause being an ever-growing awareness of the distance between an item’s retail price and the price the wealthy and lazy are willing to spend to get their hands on the latest thing.
Sure, manually reviewing orders might cut down slightly on bot usage, but so long as that price vs value gap remains, and customers are increasingly aware of it, the early weeks of a release will still be dominated by resale, only now it’ll be folks selling individual units instead of 10-20 at a time.
Like I said with the PS5 post, it’s very similar to the same problems sneaker and streetwear fans have faced for years. Only with video games, there’s a key exception: sneaker sales are driven by the rarity of the shoes on offer, which are often only made in a small volume then never sold again, guaranteeing their value.
These graphics cards, and the PlayStation 5, are not limited editions. They’ll keep on being made, and made, and made for years, and so the easiest way to avoid launch day heartbreak may well be to just reassess whether you need stuff like this on day one. Because if you hold out for a few months, supply will start to match demand and you’ll wonder why anyone ever paid $1700 for a $700 graphics card.