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Retailer Blocks 20 Million Bots Attempting To Nab PlayStation 5 Stock

Retailer Blocks 20 Million Bots Attempting To Nab PlayStation 5 Stock

Stocks will return soon, according to Sony.

Imogen Donovan

Imogen Donovan

Walmart has explained how it prevented 20 million bots from pilfering consoles and ensured that legitimate consumers make up the majority of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X orders this season.

"Grinch bots," which is their new nickname, are able to complete orders for consoles much more quickly than humans could ever hope to, due to the software that these scalpers are using. Virtual servers that are faster than their home networks, hiding their IP address, providing slightly different shipping addresses; these are all strategies that are in the scalper's toolbox to get the upper hand over the average Joe. In doing so, they're able to successfully snag PlayStation 5s within seconds of the stock going live, and you'd be forgiven for thinking there's nothing that could stop them in their tracks.

However, Walmart rose to the challenge. That's a funny sentence. Anyway. "Bot scripts are constantly evolving and being re-written, so we've built, deployed and are continuously updating our own bot detection tools allowing us to successfully block the vast majority of bots we see," said Jerry Geisler, chief information security officer for the retailer. On November 25th, more than a week after the console's launch, its tech blocked more than 20 million bot attempts within the initial 30 minutes of PlayStation 5 stock going live.

Other retailers and second-hand sites have taken action against bots and scalpers. UK retailer Very shut down more than a thousand orders for the new consoles, and eBay has denounced the use of its marketplace for scammers to secure a profit. "As an additional step, we also audit and quickly cancel any orders confirmed to be purchased by bots that may have slipped through," continued Geisler. "As a result, the vast majority of our next-gen consoles have been purchased by legitimate customers, which is exactly what we want."

"We have more next-gen consoles coming online soon, and we're continuing to work hard to get them into the hands of as many customers as possible. We hope others across the retail industry will join us by asking lawmakers to do more to prevent these unwanted bots on retail sites, so customers have equal access to the products they want," concluded Geisler. Sony is aiming to release more stocks before the end of the year, yet lots of retailers have confirmed that they won't be receiving another shipment for a while. These include Argos and Smyths Toys, and even Amazon hasn't issued an update on the state of stocks. The silver lining is that you can take a small yet smug satisfaction knowing that scalpers' lives are getting a whole lot harder with these new protections in place.

Featured Image Credit: Federico Orlandi, Sony

Topics: News, PlayStation