Nintendo Switch Scalpers Are Using Bots to Drive Up Prices

Published: April 17, 2020 3:36 PM /


Nintendo Switch scalpers cover

Nintendo Switch scalpers are pretty broadly disliked nowadays. As the console has suffered a shortage in recent weeks due to the impact of the coronavirus, some people have taken this as an opportunity to profit. Now, we may have more insight into how they're doing it.

Vice's Motherboard has investigated the issue and discovered that hundreds (if not over a thousand) of people are making use of something called "Bird Bot." Simply put, this bot allows you to grab up dozens of a particular item. What may be worse is that the bot can be acquired completely for free, making it terribly easy for the Nintendo Switch scalpers out there.

How bad is the Nintendo Switch Shortage?

If you don't yet own a Nintendo Switch and you're looking to buy one, it's one of the worst times to get it right now.

A cursory search of Amazon US shows prices for used and new Switches hovering between $450–$500. That's a tad bit better than the highs of $600 I saw a week ago, but it's an undeniable increase in price.

eBay is similarly bad. A standard Nintendo Switch is going for the same rough price range of $450–$500 and the price of a Nintendo Switch Lite has been inflated by $100 in some cases.

If you are looking to get a Nintendo Switch, your best bet is going to get one from a local retailer — but only if these Nintendo Switch scalpers don't snap it up first.

Nintendo Switch scalpers birdbot slice

Nintendo Switch Scalpers Anxious to Cash In on Stimulus Checks

These scalpers are well aware of an important financial event that's happening all across America: the federal stimulus checks of $1200 or more.

"Yeah [my Nintendo Switch orders] are taking so long to deliver I want them to hurry up while everyone [still] has some money," stated one such apparent scalper.

The competition for Switches is intense even within the reselling community; a moderator warned users of a Discord centered on Bird Bot that some of them may be unable to actually get a Switch when the restock hits.

Perhaps worst of all, Bird Bot isn't some specialized tool designed to snap up Nintendo Switches. It's a bot that can be used to purchase pretty much anything from an online shopping cart, so we may well see this problem repeat itself with other highly-desired products in the future.

This problem may sound bad, but Nintendo says that a restock is coming. If you want to be sure to acquire one yourself when it does, you might want to consider fighting fire with fire, and using the bot (or one of the similar ones) yourself. For now, you could always try to build your own Nintendo Switch instead.

Read more about how the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is affecting the gaming world at our Coronavirus Gaming Convention Cancellations and Game Delays Hub.

What do you think of Nintendo Switch scalpers using bots to quickly purchase multiple consoles? Do you think retailers should limit sales in some fashion? Let us know in the comments below!

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
| Senior Writer

One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N