A lottery for prized graphics cards and processors went up briefly on PC part seller Newegg’s site yesterday. It’s a testament to the ongoing shortage of all things gaming during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.
The “Newegg Shuffle Event,” screencaps of which were saved over on Imgur and first reported on by PCMag, invited customers to choose among several bundles of AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and 7 5800X GPUs and various AMD motherboards. If they were selected, they’d get an email notifying them and then a chance to buy the bundles from Newegg. The lottery system itself seems better than furiously trying to load an order page while new stock is nabbed by bots and scalpers, but the bundled add-ons meant PC shoppers were effectively entering a raffle for the shot of being upsold rather than actually getting only the specific hardware they were after.
“Exactly what the gpu struggle needed: RNG loot boxes,” wrote one commenter in a Reddit thread full of people dunking on the promotion. “The problem is, you aren’t understanding the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with winning the chance to pay a huge markup for a combo item you don’t want,” responded another.
Newegg did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for comment, but did tell PCMag that the Shuffle Event is currently only being beta-tested, and versions of it in the future will also include single purchase items rather than entire bundles.
Nvidia and AMD both announced new lines of high-end graphics cards last fall, and they’ve been almost impossible for most people to get their hands on ever since. That scarcity is likely due to a number of factors, from strained supply chains due to the pandemic to lots more people looking to beef up their gaming rigs while social distancing and working from home. Cryptocurrency miners are also a perpetual burden on the market for powerful PC parts. Last week, Nvidia announced graphics card supplies would “remain lean through Q1.”
There have been similar shortages for the next-gen gaming consoles — new PS5 stock on Amazon today sold out almost instantly — prompting many players to request some sort of sneaker-style lottery system for calling dibs on new stock as it becomes available. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards anytime soon. Hopefully if and when a system like that does roll out, it gets off to a better start than Newegg’s GPU lottery.