Getting your hands on a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season is a major challenge. Not only are consumers competing against each other, they’re competing against bots and resellers who are hoping to profit from new console scarcity. One bot, which you can watch on Twitch, may offer some help. It’s checking stock at a variety of online retailers every second.
The Twitch channel is run by Cam Ritz, who used a publicly available program called Streetmerchant — billed as “the world’s easiest, most powerful stock checker” — to monitor PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, NewEgg, Walmart, and other retailers. Watching the stream is currently a big wall of disappointment; hundreds of updates every minute show “OUT OF STOCK” everywhere.
Ritz told Polygon that some of his viewers have snagged consoles by monitoring his stream. “I made this to help others out, to be honest,” Ritz said in a Twitter direct message. “[I] had luck last night though with one person getting one from [Sam’s Club], and yesterday had luck with a few people getting Xbox Series Xs from GameStop.”
Ritz said he already scored a console when pre-orders went live, and may add more retailers to his watch list. Amusingly, even Ritz is monitoring another source for stock: Twitter user Wario64, who is also frequently notifying his followers of PS5 and Xbox Series X at a variety of retailers.
Even if you don’t score a new console thanks to this bot — which, incidentally, you could run yourself — there’s some comfort in seeing a real-time feed that reinforces how difficult it is to find one right now.