Nvidia Sorry That Bots Bought A Ton Of RTX 3080s

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Nvidia Sorry That Bots Bought A Ton Of RTX 3080s
Image: Nvidia

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.

PS5 Preorders Were A Complete Clusterfuck

Yesterday, right after Sony’s big PS5 event, the company announced that preorders for the next-gen PlayStation console would “be available starting as early as tomorrow at select retailers.”. And then, they weren’t.

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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 apologise 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 simply being an ever-growing awareness among folks 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 v 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 $US1700 ($2,332) for a $US700 ($960) graphics card.

Comments

  • The cynic in me says “do they really care that bots bought a LOT of these cards?” After all NVIDIA are still making money. But no surely NVIDIA has our best interests at heart? Surely 🙂

    • I don’t actually believe it’s intentional, but you couldn’t BUY the sort of marketing coverage Nvidia’s getting at the moment. Sure a lot of it is negative, but at the end of the day the message that this hot new product is overwhelmingly popular has gone mainstream.

    • Without going into specifics I spend a lot of time working with retailers to stop this happening within the sneaker space.

      The brands do not like it as it robs them of control of their value for money proposition of their brand. Granted, the damage is likely less significant in this space because (as Luke rightly points out) supply will meet demand as these aren’t limited edition products. But scalpers take control away from the brand of a key element of their marketing strategy and no brand likes that.

      I suspect AMD and Microsoft will be watching the 3080 and PS5 sales hiccoughs with great interest and going into overdrive to stop a similar thing happening to them.

  • “so long as that price v value gap remains, and customers are increasingly aware of it, the early weeks of a release will still be dominated by resale”

    I mean, you’re not wrong… But the obvious solution there is to either up the RRP or lower the value proposition of your product…which is a MUCH worse proposition for consumers.

    At the end of the day, scalpers (and by extension bots) are here to stay and it’s still less bad than just straight up higher prices. The only thing you can do as a consumer, is beat them at their own game or refuse to buy from scalpers.

  • While it sucks, It has been hilarious watching people take out their anger on these scum by screwing over their ebay listings with fake bids.

    Fight on! Scalpers are the scum of the earth.

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