Ever since Nvidia announced the new RTX 3000 series graphics cards, the whole of the tech world has been anticipating the release of these next-generation GPUs and their incredible improvements over previous RTX counterparts. Now, after we have lived through the launch of the RTX 3080, we have to ask: has Nvidia failed consumers with extremely limited stock and being unable (or unwilling) to stop bot purchasing? Well, the short answer is yes, and a lot of people have something to say about it.
As soon as orders went live for the Nvidia RTX 3080 Founder’s Edition, everything went wrong. The new graphics cards went out of stock almost instantly thanks to scalpers and bots grabbing all of the units, leaving none for the real-world humans wanting to get their hands on them.
There seemed to be no real bot or scalper prevention strategies in place on Nvidia’s website, which is surprising seeing as though components of this nature naturally go out of stock quickly but hey, money is money to Nvidia right?
Naturally, there were a plethora of angry tech enthusiasts taking up their internet pitchforks against the tech giant in reply to the launch tweet:
The GeForce RTX 3080 is out, and the rave reviews are in!
— NVIDIA GeForce (@NVIDIAGeForce) September 17, 2020
While we’re on the subject of scalpers though, many have taken to eBay to list their RTX 3080 spoils for twice, or even three times the original cost in hope that desperate consumers will click that buy button and they’ll net a tidy profit. We even saw one listed and bought for over £4300 ($5500) which is an extraordinary markup.
Next up are the third-party retailers, who would be the saving grace for those who didn’t manage to grab a Founder’s Edition but, only more disappointment was to be found when stock levels around the world proved to be extremely low on launch – with some retailers implementing price hikes as soon as consumers put their desired RTX 3080 GPUs into the basket.
Take UK supplier Scan, for example, many RTX 3080 GPUs were available to be placed into baskets at $699 (£540) for example, and then as soon as the checkout process was completing, the card either went out of stock or the purchase price was between $50 (£38) and $100 (£78) higher. Many are calling for there to be new rules in place for retailers in regards to these price hikes, with a lot of consumers suggesting it should be illegal for them to do this, lying to purchasers about what items will cost as their giving them hard-earned cash.
Again, like Nvidia, there were thousands of angry customers demanding answers of why this was allowed to happen:
What a launch! We didn’t expect so many people all at once – we’re working on getting things back to normal soon. Massive apologies from Team Scan and thanks for waiting.
— Scan Computers (@ScanComputers) September 17, 2020
This isn’t the only fumble we’ve seen this week on releases with the PS5 preorders going live and, again, selling out within minutes across the world. This comes after the Sony PlayStation team offered a supportive message in that preorders would be well telegraphed, not launched at a moments notice, and advising after yesterdays conference that preorders would be made live the next day – yet many retailers jumped the gun, and didn’t actually wait for the clock to run out.
Still, even though some PS5 retailers did break the preorder embargo, there was still plenty of stock to go around. The same can’t be said of the 3080 release.
Yes, we are in unprecedented time thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and GPU stock levels are going to be low as a result, but with consumers depending on this tech to either rebuild their PC or even using it as a pick me up during a dark time, it’s certainly unfortunate that there aren’t more measures in place to prevent bots and scalpers from hoovering up the already limited amount of units.
Maybe there should be more communication between corporations/retailers and the public in relation to how many products are actually in stock to curb any expectations of everyone being able to buy these highly-anticipated products without any issues.
All we can say is this. If you are looking to buy an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU (or any of the new Ampere graphics cards), and you manage to see one for sale? You had best buy it sooner, rather than later, or else it could appear on a scalpers eBay page for a huge markup. Let’s hope we see a different story come the Nvidia RTX 3090 release on September 24th but, we’re not holding our breath…