If you haven't been able to get your hands on a PS5 since the console's launch in November last year, then you'll know all too well the effectiveness of online bots. Scalpers have been using bots to secure Sony's system as soon as new stock is made available, effectively denying normal consumers any chance of snapping up a PS5 for themselves.
It's a sorry state of affairs. Just this week, UK retailer GAME was reportedly hit by a scalper group who made off with over 2000 PS5 orders. And of course, most of these consoles are then being sold off at an inflated price.
The ongoing situation first hit mainstream news around the release of the PS5, but things are yet to improve. As such, UK politicians are now starting to investigate, with Scottish National Party MP Douglas Chapman leading the charge.
Chapman told BBC Radio 4: "It's simply not in the consumer's interests to have lots of stock for in demand, very exciting new products just being bought up en masse. It doesn't give the ordinary consumer fair access to the market... It's just so unfair for the ordinary person who just wants to play their game or give a gift to their child for Christmas. This situation's just going to get worse and worse."
Chapman then says that he's planning to propose a bill in parliament which should help highlight the issue, after he was left disappointed by the government's current response. As he sees it, it could only be a matter of time until bots become more and more of a problem — and not just when shopping for luxury items.
Radio 4 host Winifred Robinson brings up the point that use of bots has indeed been banned here in the UK before — for the buying of concert tickets. Meanwhile, in the same show, Thomas Platt — of cyber security firm Netacea — believes that some kind of legislation has to be brought forward in order to "curve the trend" of bots becoming increasingly accessible.
What do you make of all this? Have you struggled to find a PS5? Do you think that online bots needs to be looked at more seriously by governments and other organisations? Check for stock in the comments section below.