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UK MPs call for government ban on next-gen console scalping

The practice of scalping has seen thousands of next-gen consoles flipped on resale sites for huge profits

A group of UK Members of Parliament, led by Douglas Chapman MP, has put forward a bill calling for the criminalisation of console scalping. The news follows a previous motion put forward in the House of Commons – the democratically-elected part of the British government – calling for anti-scalping legislation to be implemented back in December.

The scalping of consoles, especially Sony’s PlayStation 5, continues to leave consumers frustrated as COVID continues to impact the supply chain. The sparse number of units currently available tend to get snapped up by bots before many can get a look in, though companies like GAME have put measures in place to help mitigate the issue. With that said, a UK-based scalping group claimed to have secured 2,000 PS5s from GAME during a recent restock. Most of these consoles will find their way onto sites like eBay to eventually be flipped on for a sizable profit.

Speaking to Sky News, Chapman describes the practice as “profiteering,” stating that “it seems to me a total scam.” As a result of this, a private member’s bill titled the ‘Gaming Hardware (Automated Purchase and Resale) Bill 2019-21’ has been put to the House. While it is unlikely that the bill will pass, it is a crucial step in bringing greater attention to scalping.

The UK previously saw ticket touting for live events outlawed a few years ago, which inspires further optimism that such measures may be applied elsewhere in the future.

The issue of scalping is not isolated to the UK, either. In the United States, for example, over 60,000 consoles – both PS5s and Xbox Series consoles – had been sold on eBay by the beginning of December, with resellers pocketing nearly $30 million in profit.