03/07/2022

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US bill targets PS5, Xbox Series X, & further bot resellers

The Stopping Grinch Bot Act would make it unlawful to use bots to bypass website security measures and buy up products and services for resale.

It’s no secret that popular items such as new consoles and PC GPUs have been pretty much monopolized by aftermarket sellers buying up products in mass quantities. Getting a PS5, Xbox Series X, or NVIDIA RTX 3080 GPU is a roll of the dice when you compete with automated bots on behalf of scalpers that will gouge the price on third-party seller platforms. However, a group of US politicians is trying to combat the issue through a bill called the Stopping Grinch Bot Act.

The Stopping Grinch Bot Act was introduced by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and is supported by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). Its goal is to give both consumers and businesses a fair playing field by making use of bots to bypass website security and buy up products unlawful. Even though it seems focused on the holiday season, it’s a bill that could have implications for the market beyond simply shopping for gifts at the end of the year as PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles, as well as other popular goods, have been notoriously hard to obtain throughout the year.

Rep. Tonko's Stopping Grinch Bot Act would make it unlawful to use automated bots to bypass website security measures and buy up mass quantities of products and services for resale, such as PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.
Rep. Tonko’s Stopping Grinch Bot Act would make it unlawful to use automated bots to bypass website security measures and buy up mass quantities of products and services for resale, such as PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

According to Tonko, the bill was written to offer a fair playing field in the hunt of goods and services everyone seems to be searching for this year.

The Stopping Grinch Bots Act was first submitted in 2019, but has take on a far more relevant state in 2021, especially with a semiconductor famine and other factors making supplies scarce around the world. It remains to be seen if the bill can gain further traction, but – fingers crossed – it could make it harder for bots to completely overrun every sale of PS5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch consoles, as well as other popular items. That’s a playing field many would likely happily embrace.