Tuesday, December 7, 2021

New Bill Could Ban Bots Used For Purchasing Consoles

A new bill submitted in Congress might make it illegal for resellers to employ bots to purchase consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.

The bill, named the "Stopping Grinch Bots Act," was introduced by Representative Paul Tonko, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senator Ben Ray Luj├ín, according to Video Games Chronicle. Tonko said that "Grinch bots" are pushing Americans to pay outrageous prices for gifts this holiday season in a statement regarding the freshly sponsored bill. 

Consoles are anticipated to be the most targeted by bots this season, coming in second only to sneakers, a market that has been extensively influenced by bots for years. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles still on the market, it's been more difficult than ever to get one of these new-gen consoles at a reasonable price. That's because as soon as these consoles go live, would-be buyers must compete with bots that place the consoles in someone's cart and check out instantly.

It's not that simple to defeat bots, and while some consumers have succeeded, the extent to which some would go in order to secure a console at MSRP can be absurd. Bots are the main source of contention, and if this new measure passes, bots will be prohibited from being used on online retail sites.

"At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital 'Grinch bots' are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy," Tonko said. "These bots don't just squeeze consumers, they pose a problem for small businesses, local retailers, and other entrepreneurs trying to ensure they have the best items in stock for the customers." "Our Grinch Bots Act works to level the playing field and prevent scalpers from sucking hardworking parents dry this holiday season. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation immediately to stop these Grinch bots from stealing the holidays."

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