August 15, 2022

Why isn’t the sports industry doing more to tackle scalpers?

5 min read

This Week in Games is a weekly column where Vicky Blake separates the biggest stories in gaming each week. This week, she’s looking at scalpers’ impact on gamers and wondering why the industry doesn’t work harder to discourage them.

Tookset friday, God of War: RagnarokThe Collector’s Edition has gone up for pre-order. And last Friday, dozens God of War: Ragnarok Collector’s editions started arriving on eBay.

The fanciest version – the Jotnar Edition which can only be purchased through the game in the UK – costs £230. Well, more precisely, it cost £230, at least for the lucky few who got a copy when the pre-orders went live. For everyone else, we are now at the mercy of scalpers. Right now, best of all, you’re looking at a £200-ish mark-up and a sale price of around £450. At least, you can stick another £150 on it.

I know I’ve complained about the game here before, but only because it’s the only retailer in the UK that secures exclusive collector’s editions and I get it regularly from time to time, year after year. is abandoned by them. So even though I want to poke out my left eye with an ice cream scoop instead of voluntarily giving them money, I often have to voluntarily give them a lot of money because what I want is literally not available anywhere else.

God of War Ragnarok
Ragnarok, the god of war. credit: Sony Santa Monica

Sure, I couldn’t buy the collector’s edition, I guess. No, I didn’t need the life-size replica of Corvo’s mask that shipped 2Collector’s Edition, much like I didn’t need that pretty — and terribly pointless — fate 2 Collector’s Edition, either. My the last of us part 2 The statue is still in the box. I’ve always been a sucker for those things, though.

I don’t think any of us would have been surprised when God of War: RagnarokThe Jotnar Edition sold out in just five minutes, so we were surprised when the less fancy — but still expensive — Collector’s Edition was gone even half an hour later. I have no idea about the quantity available, but – as is often the case these days – demand clearly outweighs supply.

It’s quite annoying when publishers limit the amount of both their CE and the retailers you can buy them from; It’s another thing when you miss out in scrum not because of competition with other fans, but because of some dickchy scalpers and their bulk-buying bots.

God Of War Ragnarok Jotnar Edition Pre Order
Ragnarok, the god of war. Credits: Sony Santa Monica.

If this isn’t blatantly obvious already, it absolutely infuriates me. Like: Life isn’t hard enough already, you know? Everything is bullshit, constantly, all the time. It may lessen with the days and seasons and how calm your boss/partner/parent has become today, but we are living – well, existing – in times of perpetual crisis, lurking once in a while The event of a lifetime happened at a dizzying pace. Sure, we all have to earn a living. Sure, times are tough, and we’d all love a little extra cash this summer. But doing so at the cost of someone else’s happiness? Buying as much “limited” stock as possible so you can sell it for more than twice the original price? Fuck you, bud. What you call capitalism, I call it a selfish prick.

Sometimes, a scalar will blow his head out of style for raving about the differences between luxuries and necessities – oh, wouldn’t one think of the poor scalar! – But nothing they say will never compensate for the misery they intentionally inflict on gamers. I’m not saying that blowing up 230 quid on digital codes and a handful of plastic collectibles is the smartest way to spend your money, but like I said: life is crap. If paying a little extra for your favorite video game and getting a bonus tart (like someone typing this out of a room bursting with tarts like that, I say that with love) will make you temporarily happy. If so, go for it, my friend.

The most disappointing part of this is that there are no surprises in it. It is not inevitable either. Valve — after seeing firsthand how “smoothly” PS5 and Xbox Series X pre-orders went six months ago — took some basic steps to try and stop it when its delicious little handheld, Steam Deck came out. Pre-orders went on sale last year this time around. You must already have a Steam account to be eligible and while no, it wasn’t flawless and lessons can still be learned, at least Valve tried. At least an attempt was made to stop this mess from happening.

steam deck
Steam Deck. credit: valve

It seems that here only we are suffering: gamers. Publishers sell their pre-orders — perhaps even generating some delicious headlines about their super-popular CEs along the way — auction sites get their commission, and scalpers — selling pre-orders before they even own the game. There are, by the way – overcharge fans. Sure, we can’t collectively agree and pay the odds, but my disappointment isn’t with the fans who reluctantly overpay, but with the publishers making these “limited editions” in the first place. sell.

Valve has shown that with a little foresight, hobbling scalpers can be done. So why aren’t other companies and publishers trying to do the same?

what else?

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