Bots and scalpers swarmed the living hell out of Nvidia’s RTX 3080 inventory last week, forcing the $US300 billion company to apologise. The lack of supply led some to question whether the RTX 3080 was a paper launch. But the company has responded with a full FAQ, saying the demand for the RTX 3080 cards was 10 times greater than the original RTX launch in 2018.
The company has responded to a series of common questions, including why the Nvidia store didn’t employ any CAPTCHA measures to guard against automated bots, concerns around supply, and what changes will be made going forward to ensure resellers and scalpers don’t end up with all the GPUs.
It’s unlikely that a great deal can be done about cooking groups and scalping — that’s sadly a fact of life with supply, demand and the internet — but the one thing Nvidia can control is supply. According to the company, it wasn’t the lack of RTX 3080 GPUs.
People just badly wanted their upgrades:
Last week’s GeForce RTX 3080 launch was simultaneously the best GPU launch ever and the most frustrating.
The reception to our NVIDIA Ampere architecture GPUs has been off the charts and driven interest to heights we’ve never previously experienced. A few examples compared to our previous launch – 4 times the unique visitors to our website, 10 times the peak web requests per second, and more than 15 times the out clicks to partner pages.
At 6 a.m. pacific we attempted to push the NVIDIA store live. Instantly, the NVIDIA store was inundated with over 10 times the traffic of our previous generation launch, which took our internal systems to a crawl and encountered an error preventing sales from starting properly at 6:00am pacific. We were able to resolve the issues and process orders later than planned.
In a surprising note, Nvidia says the interest was bigger than Black Friday in some instances — which is enormous when you think about how big that sales period is, especially in America and increasingly around the world.
Over 50 major global retailers had inventory on the day of launch. Our retail partners reported record traffic to their sites, in many cases exceeding Black Friday.
Nvidia says they “cancelled hundreds of orders” manually in response to the flood of orders from bots, and that supply on Nvidia’s side and with partners (that is, companies like ASUS, Zotac, eVGA, MSI and so on) is “increasing weekly”. Nvidia also revealed CEO Jensen Huang’s personal email “has been flooded with requests to help”.
It’s understood within the industry that the next major resupply is due sometime in October, something some Australian retailers have alluded to in their own RTX listings. Smaller stock shipments are arriving more frequently, thankfully.
On Nvidia’s front, they’ve announced they’ll be updating their store site with CAPTCHA and manually monitoring more purchases going forward. That’s not going to mean a lot for Australians, since Nvidia isn’t selling Founders Edition cards directly to Australia this time around. It also means Nvidia can’t really take responsibility for what happens in Australia on the scalping front — that responsibility, and managing server load and access, is on individual retailers.
Fortunately, the range of AIB cards in Australia is pretty decent even if the amount of actual stock isn’t. A lot of retailers also don’t have exact dates on when existing RTX 3080 preorders will be fulfilled, or when new stock will arrive precisely.
It’s not necessarily all bad, however. As high as demand is, it’s better that consumers are forced to wait rather than arbitrary markups of hundreds of dollars or, in some cases, almost double the price. And the delays also buy time for AMD’s Big Navi announcement in late October. More competition will help stop prices from getting too out of hand, and if we’re lucky this time around, consumers will also have a genuine choice on their hands.