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John Carmack Proposes a Way to Fight GPU & Console Shortages

John Carmack, a legendary game developer, has proposed a way to fight shortages of graphics cards and game consoles that are to some degree caused by miners and scalpers. The founder of id Software believes that manufacturer-led auctions could help gamers to get their hands on their desired hardware, but at a price. 

“Given shortages and speculators on things like [the GeForce RTX] 3090 GPUs and new consoles, it seems like we really would be better off with a transparent auction system directly from the manufacturers and a more efficient market,” Carmack wrote in a Twitter post. “The world of sales channels prevented that in the past, but we may be moving past that for a lot of products. There would be much indignation at reported prices out of the gate, but removing intermediaries should net out better for consumers in the end.”

Scalping and Mining: The Gamer’s Main Enemies?

High PC demand because of remote working and education have recently caused massive shortages across the whole PC supply chain. Since people now spend more time at home, they naturally buy more devices to entertain themselves, droving demand for gaming PCs, discrete graphics cards, and game consoles to levels that are impossible to meet quickly.  

(Image credit: MSI)

As usually happens when demand exceeds supply, there is a time factor involved (such as tickets to big shows or rare fashionable accessories), and GPU and console scalping quickly began to thrive last year. Scalpers buy products using automated software or by plotting a conspiracy with certain parties within a supply chain so they could lay their hands on items much faster than any normal buyer and then make a quick profit. In addition, rapidly growing prices of cryptocurrency revived interest in GPU mining, which increased demand even further, leaving gamers without their desired hardware.  

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