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Sony’s and Microsoft’s next-generation gaming consoles launch earlier this month and have been difficult, if not impossible, for most consumers to find. Allotments of both systems have sold out as fast as they are stocked. While rumors of production shortfalls, at least for Sony, might be part of the problem, a more significant factor is turning out to be scalpers using bots to buy up units to sell way above MSRP.

On Sunday, one scalping ring said that its members had snagged more than 1,000 Xbox Series X consoles over the holiday weekend. CrepChiefNotify is a reselling outfit based in the UK that uses software to bypass the online queues of retail websites to automatically purchase high-demand products as soon as they come in stock.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 We’re happy to announce after making over £2M in profit for our EU based users we are now live in the USA. Expect the same and more… Buy. Sell. Profit.

Posted by CrepChiefnotify on Saturday, November 14, 2020
We reported last week that CrepChiefNotify bragged about obtaining more than 3,500 PlayStation 5 consoles at launch.

“Our total collective number is 2,472 PS5 consoles across all of our members,” said one of the ring leaders, speaking anonymously. That number was in addition to more than 1,000 pre-orders the group had grabbed in September.

CrepChiefNotify comprises thousands of paying members and has been so successful in the EU that it has recently branched out to the US. According to its Facebook page, the organization has made over £2M in profit for its EU-based users.

And CrepChiefNotify is only one group. Others are using similar methods, both individually and collectively, to buy up PS5 and XBSX stock. These efforts have reduced availability so much that scalpers can even buy from other scalpers and still turn a profit. For example, UK reseller CEX offers £650 for PS5 units (£200 over retail) and then flips them for £815. At least it is not using bots to obtain units.