Reseller bots are reportedly being used to target new Nintendo Switch stock. As soon as the consoles go on sale, the bots pick them up so that they can be listed by a third-party seller elsewhere to offer at a huge markup.
A recent feature from Motherboard explored the morally grey world of these resellers. The group uses an open-source piece of software to scan websites for new listings of Nintendo Switch consoles. Using the software, they’re able to locate Switches, add them to their basket, and checkout far quicker than any human.
Bird Bot, a free bot, seems to be the most prevalent bot being used. However, other bots also being used include Phantom, Swift, and Scottbot. A representative for Phantom actually explained to Motherboard that they saw their bot used to purchase 500 Switches in the first 24 hours of use.
Motherboard even managed to enter a Discord server that’s being used to communicate between the various resellers and the bots acquiring these Switches. There are a number of Discord servers that act as customer service between the resellers and the bots, but the one that Motherboard entered consisted of more than 1,000 people in recent weeks.
According to the numbers that Motherboard was able to gather, some resellers are charging $500 or more on eBay for the Switches they acquire. The recently released Animal Crossing: New Horizons Limited Edition Switch is going for even more, around $750 at least, if not more per console.
Bord Bot’s creator, who goes by the name of Nate, explained how they created the bot as a bit of a joke at first. However, they soon realised how powerful it could be for resellers. The bot was specifically designed to purchase Nintendo Switch consoles, but Nate says that it can be used to purchase other items as well.
The sites being targeted by these bots include GameStop, Walmart, and Best Buy. Generally these sites are pretty good at blocking bots, but now designers and users have found a way around the security measures put in place. One example of a method used is to route traffic through a number of computers before a purchase is completed.
Nintendo has been struggling just to keep up with the demand for Nintendo Switch stock. Recently they confirmed that the EU, US, and Japan will get some stock now that certain factories making the consoles and required components are operational.
Unfortunately this stock isn’t enough to meet the worldwide demand, and the company is struggling to keep up due to delays still being caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).