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British MPs want console scalping made illegal, call for more consumer protection

A number of British MPs have tabled an Early Day Motion that calls for a ban on the resale of gaming consoles and computer components purchased using automated bots.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

December 16, 2020

2 Min Read

A number of British MPs (Members of Parliament) have tabled an Early Day Motion that calls for a ban on the resale of gaming consoles and computer components purchased using automated bots. 

The motion was put forward by six members of the Scottish National Party, and at the time of writing has been backed by 24 MPs -- including two Labour MPs, one independent, and another from the Democratic Unionist Party. 

Early Day Motions are motions that call for a topic to be debated in the House of Commons without a fixed date, and are generally used to draw attention to specific events or issues. As a result, there's no guarantee it will result in any legislative changes or even be discussed at all.

Still, it's notable to see sitting MPs call for a debate on scalping, which has left some consumers unable to get their hands on next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, and resulted in others paying well above the market price on sites like eBay. 

To combat the issue, MPs are asking the Government to bring forward legisaltive proposals similar to those that prohibit the resale and scalping of tickets for concerts, gigs, and other events -- making scalping illegal and giving consumers a form of meaningful protection.

"That this House believes that new releases of gaming consoles and computer components should be available to all customers at no more than the Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price, and not be bought in bulk by the use of automated bots which often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by the retailer," reads the motion.

"[This House] calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals similar to those introduced for the secondary selling of tickets, thereby prohibiting the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price and furthermore this House; and further calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals making the resale of goods purchased using an automated bot an illegal activity, thereby denying unscrupulous vendors the chance to make themselves vast profits at the expense of genuine gamers and computer users, while also deterring fraudulent cybercriminal activity."

According to the UK Parliament website, Early Day Motions generally attract one or two signatures on average, so it seems the Resale motion has already exceeded expectations.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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