Gaming Buying Bots are Scooping Up PS5 and XBoxes Before You Can

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More than a year on, it’s still hard to buy a new PlayStation or Xbox without some help. Flippers have become notorious for snatching up the fresh restocks offered online with the help of ultra-fast buying bots, forcing everyone else to buy units off the secondary market for egregious, 100-dollar markups. But after delving into the console reselling underworld, I was shocked to learn that resellers aren’t the primary problem. Instead, they’re merely the pawns of the true powerbrokers of the industry: the enterprising developers selling these bots to aspiring flippers in the first place.

Dozens of what are known as “AIO resale bots” have popped up in recent years, offering prospective flippers an “all-in-one” service that can snatch up tons of sneakers, graphic cards, and consoles in order to power their own black market businesses. They offer a suite of tools that allow users to pass through the digital checkout infrastructure of retailers like Walmart and Best Buy in an instant with a heavy load of plunder in tow. Most of these bots are saddled with an upfront payment and a recurring usage fee, which means they’re simply the middlemen for the scalping industry writ large. The programmers all believe that they’re fighting the good fight; after all, what’s more American than supply and demand?

“Financial freedom is something the United States and all countries stand for. We’re all aiming for it in the end, not just resellers but consumers,” says Fuat, a German entrepreneur who is one of the partners behind the buying bot Dakoza, in a Discord call with The Verge. (He only shared his first name for the story.) “We have users DMing us saying, ‘Thank you so much for this opportunity. I was able to afford my wedding. I was able to buy clothing for my baby.’ The impact we have on people is not negative; it’s definitely positive. This software lets them change their lives.”

Dakoza’s pitch is simple. For an initial $300 fee and monthly $50 payments afterward, the bot lets its users morph their computers into an unparalleled price-gouging force of nature. In a demonstration of Dakoza’s UI plastered across its homepage, we see a trickle of receipts for Xbox Series X consoles, PS5s, and Nvidia graphics cards leak into a shark’s inventory like clockwork. The service is optimized for Target, Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart.

 
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