The UK parliament is considering a ban that could prevent reselling and using automated bots on consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Last year, Douglas Chapman MP introduced an Early Day Motion "prohibiting the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price." Thus far, that motion has received backing from 32 other MPs from different political parties. Now, Chapman wants to take it a step further with a Bill so that legislative options can possibly be pursued. In a statement to IGN, Chapman discussed the rationale behind the new Bill.
"Given that experts in the cyber industry now predict the issue of scalping to grow across other important goods and services this year, we are looking at presenting a Bill in Parliament so that we can further explore legislative options to protect consumers from this unfair practice."
For those less familiar with UK politics, Early Day Motions essentially introduce topics, while actual Bills make it more likely that legislation will be considered. Chapman's Bill will still need to find support and go through the legislative process before it gets approved, but this shows how seriously the UK government is taking the problem. Chapman's comment to IGN also highlights how the problem could expand beyond video game consoles and into other goods and services.
Resell groups in the UK have been causing issues for consumers since PS5 and Xbox Series X launched last November. Users pay to join, and can access different bots based on their subscription tier. While the problem is particularly frustrating for fans, it also makes it more difficult for Sony and Microsoft to meet the demands of customers. Chapman says he introduced the Bill based on requests from his constituents.
“The issue of scalping first came up with constituents contacting me to explain their frustration about being unable to get hold of certain games consoles or computer components pre-Christmas," Chapman told IGN. "On investigation we uncovered more details of the unscrupulous practice of ‘scalping’ by automated bots to bulk buy these goods and sell them on at inflated prices."
It remains to be seen whether or not the legislation will gain steam, but it's clear that the issue is being taken quite seriously.
Have you had a difficult time purchasing a next-gen console? What do you think of the idea of legislation preventing reselling? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!