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How Walmart Ensures Real People, Not 'Grinch Bots,' Buy PlayStation 5, Xbox

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Shivdeep Dhaliwal
·2 min read
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Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) is in a battle with what it calls “Grinch Bots” who are out to snag this year’s hottest items including the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox consoles.

What Happened: The retailer's Chief Information Security Officer Jerry Geisler on Tuesday listed the steps the company has taken to ensure the bots do not get to the items such as Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) and Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) latest consoles before they are purchased by real shoppers on its websites.

As per Geisler, Walmart implemented a bot preventative action hours before the PlayStation 5 event on Nov. 25, which blocked 20 million bot attempts within the first half-hour of the event’s commencement. 

The Arkansas-headquartered retail giant also audited and quickly canceled confirmed orders it deemed were purchased by bots.

“The vast majority of our next-gen consoles have been purchased by legitimate customers, which is exactly what we want,” claimed Walmart.

Geisler noted that more consoles are coming soon and they are working hard to “get them into the hands of as many customers as possible.”

The retail giant's executive called on lawmakers to “do more” to prevent bots from accessing retail sites so customers have equal access.

Why It Matters: Walmart and Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBY) websites were overwhelmed by the demand for the two new consoles on the day of their launch in November.

Resellers have taken to using so-called “Scalper bots” to grab the latest consoles from websites run by eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) as well, reported Reuters.

Techradar noted that Walmart restocked PS5 consoles nearly every ten minutes on Tuesday afternoon and the stock was getting sold out in that little of a time frame.

The stock, which was made available after 3 pm ET by Walmart would only be delivered at the end of the month and will arrive after Dec. 25, the Verge reported.

Price Action: Walmart shares closed mostly unchanged at $145.58 on Tuesday. On the same day, Microsoft also ended the regular session largely unchanged at $214.13. Sony shares closed 0.84% higher at $94.15 and fell 0.16% in the after-hours trading in New York.

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