Given how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions under quarantine, it’s hard to get your hands on a Nintendo Switch these days. Demand has skyrocketed, while supply is struggling to catch up — and resellers who are buying the console and selling them at vastly higher prices are only exacerbating the problem. Many have achieved plenty of profit thanks to one bot in particular.
A Motherboard report has revealed that among the tools resellers have built to buy Switch consoles the moment they’re back in stock at retailers is a bot called Bird Bot. Bird Bot is an open-source tool that is quickly developing a community of people eager to use it and teach others to do so, as well.
Nate, the creator of Bird Bot, tells Motherboard that he, “decided to make it as a joke, but I quickly realized just how powerful it could be.”
Search on eBay and you’ll quickly see how difficult it can be to get a Nintendo Switch right now. A normal Nintendo Switch costs anywhere from $400 to $500. The Switch Lite is around $100 more expensive than its regular price, which is $199. This Animal Crossing: New Horizons edition of the console is selling at over $1000, with over 600 potential buyers viewing it per hour as of the writing of this article. On April 8, it was sold to a private buyer for $700; only 10 days later, the price has increased by $300. Searching on the websites of stores like Target and Walmart will result in only listings of consoles that are currently out of stock.
Bird Bot works with Walmart and Best Buy and can even be used to buy other items. While many bots can cost hundreds to use, Nate has made Bird Bot free for anyone and everyone who has the desire to learn how to use it. It is designed with both resellers and regular people who are struggling to get a console during this time in mind. The name “Bird Bot” came from Nate’s friend, whose nickname is Bird, who recommended making a bot to resell Nintendo Switches.
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People using Bird Bot are going up against many other people using different kinds of bots for reselling purposes, so using it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your hands on a Nintendo Switch quite so easily; however, it’s a more certain method than many people have at their disposal right now.
Nate has claimed to Motherboard that the bot has raised over $1000 for charity. Even so, there are naturally many people upset at the usage of bots to grab Nintendo Switch consoles before everyone else gets a proper chance only to resell them at vastly higher prices. Not everyone has the time, energy, skills, or desire to learn how to use a bot, even with a Discord community eager to help.
Nintendo has confirmed it is working on a mass restock. A U.S. representative has told GamesIndustry.biz, “more systems are on the way. We apologize for any inconvenience.” However, it’s not like the bots — some of which are identified in the Motherboard report as Scottbot, Swift, and Phantom — won’t be ready for that, too. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are yearning for the same console at the same time, for valid reasons ranging from obtaining a source of entertainment to making money for necessities after getting furloughed or becoming unemployed. If they want to get their hands on one, they’ll just have to be as fast, or faster, than the bots specifically programmed to buy them out before everyone else can.