The current shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles is being exploited and exacerbated by a number of resellers, who are using auto-buying bots to quickly buy up new stock and then sell it on for hundreds of dollars more than recommended retail prices.
Motherboard recently published an investigation into the situation, in which they discovered Bird Bot; an open source tool that is being used to target online stores that have had new Nintendo Switch stock, and quickly automatically purchase them before most other people have had a chance to notice new consoles are available.Due to the shortages, these people are then able to command high prices from customers looking for a console. Motherboard reports that prices of up to $500 are being demanded on eBay, with the Animal Crossing bundle selling for around $750.
The creator of Bird Bot, called Nate, spoke to Motherboard, saying: “Me and my friends were talking about reselling Nintendo Switches, and at one point my friend, nicknamed Bird, told me I should make a bot. And here we are today.”
Motherboard reports that a Discord channel used by people buying and reselling Switches using Bird Bot featured conversations about buying consoles in bulk, not just one-offs. In addition to online stores, people are also using tools like Brickseek, which identify local physical stores with Switch stock, which they then buy up to resell.
Nintendo has stated that more Switch stock is coming soon, but this report suggests that resellers will use that to their advantage, and so buying consoles from retail may not be as easy as it otherwise has been. “Honestly I can’t wait till the mass restock,” said one user in the Bird Bot Discord, reports Motherboard.
If you have managed to get a Switch, or already owned one before the coronavirus-induced shortages, then you may be pleased to hear that 2K are bringing BioShock, Borderlands, and XCOM 2 to Switch in May. There’s also rumours of many remastered Mario games arriving this year for Mario’s 35th anniversary.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.