In the context: While we PC gamers have been dealing with speculators, GPU shortages, and overpriced hardware in general for years now, console gamers aren’t much better. PS5 and Xbox Series X devices are constantly being bought by bots and resold in droves at double the price, if not significantly more. Retailers in the US have tried to tackle this problem with CAPTCHAs, queues, and purchase restrictions, but some Japanese companies are getting more creative.
According to the VGC report, Japanese retailers Nojima Denki and GEO have implemented a policy combat scalping… The former reportedly uses a simple marker to write the name of the console buyer on the side of any PS5 box, and also “destroys the packaging for the controller.”
GEO, on the other hand, supposedly marks the inside of the box of each console. Apparently, this means that the controller has a “big cross” painted on the packaging to indicate that this is a used console and not new from the shelf.
These strategies are certainly interesting, but how effective they will be in dealing with scalpers is difficult to say. They are smart and will almost certainly find a way around the dilemma, or perhaps just ignore it if it doesn’t hurt their bottom line too much.
With that said, Nojima Denkin’s solution does seem a little more practical than GEO’s solution. As far as we can tell, the theory is that it can be difficult for a scalper to sell a device at an exorbitant price if his name is flaunt on the side.
Perhaps a wary shopper might think it was stolen and demand a return or refund, or maybe they just prefer a clean box. Of course, since this rule applies to everyone, not just scalpers, the latter group would still not be satisfied with buying directly from Nojima Denkin.
It’s a tough question after all, but these companies perhaps deserve credit for thinking outside the box (literally) here. Online queues clearly don’t work as bots can easily bypass them and legitimate customers are regularly loaded at the end of the queue. CAPTCHAs are also not impossible for complex programs, so some retailers obviously feel like they have no choice but to try something new.