back to article Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 debut derailed by website glitches, bots, lack of supply

Nvidia launched its GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards on Thursday and promptly sold out from its online store, to the annoyance of more than a few would-be customers who were left empty-handed. Part of the problem was inadequate technical infrastructure, which failed under heavy load. Bots also played a role, snatching up …

  1. RM Myers Silver badge
    FAIL

    "...open the eyes of individuals to a unique workplace where you can make money outside of the norm"

    Sounds like a good description of a group building malware, which this software certainly is close to being. Oh well, scumbags will be scumbags.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: "...a unique workplace where you can make money outside of the norm"

      That or a company whose advert you respond to only to end up faking orgasms down a phone...

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      free market

      I don't see what's wrong with automatic buying. it's just a market for some tech tat where demand outstripped supply. This is the free market in action.

      Many markets are automated and provide their function. HFT with Java Script and eBay.

      Pricing necessities needs control only if the market is less efficient, but these things were toys. No more useful than tulips.

      People should be happy entrepreneurs made margins of MegaCorp.

  2. Robert Grant Silver badge

    But efforts to pass federal legislation to ban bot-based buying, such as the Stopping Grinch Bots Act of 2018, have yet to be approved.

    The problem is getting them to define what the wrongdoing actually is. A web browser is software acting on your behalf to purchase things, for example.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >The problem is getting them to define what the wrongdoing actually is

      Oh Oh please sir,I know this one sir

      It will ban blind screen readers and password managers that paste stored password - while doing nothing about high frequency traders front running pension fund stock buys

  3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    "I've spent $2,000-plus on a specific pair of shoes that retailed $170."

    That's because you're an idiot.

    "It sucks paying over retail..."

    Yes it does.

    "...but sometimes we all have to spend a little extra to get what we love."

    No, we don't. We could just not get caught up in the hype of believing we "love" something because of its marketing. Or of course we could also simply wait a little while.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      You made exactly the same point I was about to: the value of any object is and always will be exactly what it can be sold for. If the admin in question is willing to pay a couple of thousand dollars for a product retailing at at under a tenth of that, then to him they are worth it... doesn't matter whether it's a pair of shoes or a sports or music event ticket.

      If people stop buying from scalpers, scalping will stop. But because they're trained to want the new shiny *now* then there will continue to be instant profits to be made, and people will continue to find ways to make them...

      1. MatthewSt Bronze badge

        Unlike concert tickets, which are a limited and finite resource for an event, I'm assuming NVidia (as a business) are going to want to carry on making cards while there are people to buy them, so waiting is literally all these people need to do, and then the scalers will be out of pocket.

        Businesses used to do this themselves in the past. You'd pay a premium to get the initial batch and then the price would drop. I'm surprised they've outsourced the profiteering!

        1. Blank Reg Silver badge

          And what makes it all the more stupid is that there are no games that will really take full advantage of the new hardware yet, so they might as well have waited.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You're ignoring "golf club syndrome" where the individual thinks that their game will improve with more expensive clubs/video cards.

            Where as the reality is that said clubs)video card make no difference and end up either collecting dust in the garage or being used to play minesweeper.

      2. RM Myers Silver badge
        Unhappy

        The bigger concern, in this case, was that some scalpers bought large number of cards (300 in one case), and helped create the shortage themselves. They also essentially DDOS'ed several of the online retailer websites (e.g., Newegg and Best Buy), , knocking them offline for a time.This reminds me of the shortage of toilet paper earlier this year, which was completely artificial. I'm not saying the cards wouldn't have sold out anyways, but they wouldn't have sold out nearly as fast.

  4. The Dogs Meevonks

    Several Problems Caused This

    There were several reasons this happened

    1: There wasn't enough supply, this was deliberate to create more demand and is a common tactic used by companies when releasing new products

    2: There was no attempt made to stop the automated bot scraping of inventory, not just on nvidias site but pretty much everywhere.

    3: Fanboi behaviour... those so desperate to have the latest piece of 'shiny' it has to be now because it's the best card ever made... at least until the 3090 comes along and who knows what AMD have... I just know that nvidia have concerns about it.

    To see so many complaints from desperate people sulking and ranting because they couldn't get one... was rather amusing... I think these people have far more pressing problems in their lives if not getting a graphics card makes them so angry/upset.

    I was also very amused to read about the guy who got a little salty at the bot scraping of inventory, that were then immediately posted on ebay at vastly inflated prices... So he wrote a bot himself that created ebay accounts and placed ridiculously high bids on all of the 3080 auctions... I gave every one watching this debacle with a nice degree of amusement, even more of a chuckle. Cards going for close to 100k because of the bot... and sellers who will have to relist and deal with ebay to get the bids cancelled for non payment and so forth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Several Problems Caused This

      Trying for the "scarcity sells" tactic can be hit-or-miss, as there's a distinct chance, by the time more cards come out to actually meet that demand, some sulking buyers head elsewhere. You can only be confident of this strategy if you can be sure there can't be alternatives, and nVidia has to know that AMD will be releasing its RDNA2 line pretty soon; furthermore, that chipset will be going into the next generation of gaming consoles.

      As for the eBay angle, whoever made the bidding bot could find himself in hot water, too, since T&Cs DO state a bid is considered a commitment to buy. What if the sellers instead take to lawyers and demand the botmaker actually pay up?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Several Problems Caused This

        If the bot-builder also creates a fake ID for the bot... absolutely nothing will happen unless the sellers spend a _lot_ of money to track the builder down. And if the builder just uses a cut out, in, say, Panama, good luck tracking him.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Several Problems Caused This

          But with the stakes as high as they are, it may actually be worth the lawyers this time. Not to mention eBay may be interested in investing in their reputation.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Several Problems Caused This

        >Trying for the "scarcity sells" tactic

        You can accuse Nvidia of a lot of things but I don't think artificially restricting the number of GPUs to create a buzz is one of them.

        One good reason for not buying just now is that somebody is going to be leaning on the QC dept at TSMC and anything that comes out of the fab the right way up is going to get packaged and sold.

        1. Remy Redert

          Re: Several Problems Caused This

          This was a problem with the Radeon 6990s when I got one on release. I went through 3 cards before I had a functioning one. The first one I could swap at the retailer I bought it from, when the second one also turned out to be a dud it had to be shipped back to AMD, took a few weeks before I got a replacement that did actually work.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Several Problems Caused This

          "You can accuse Nvidia of a lot of things but I don't think artificially restricting the number of GPUs to create a buzz is one of them."

          While nVidia may not be restricting supply, they also appear to have made no effort to build up stock in the supply chain. And part of the reason will be that AMD is launching competing products in less than a month. Although AMD may do something very similar (launching without any real inventory)...

          There's no game imminent game launch or existing title that can't be handled by a 2080Ti at only £1000...

          So the question becomes "what would make you buy a card at an inflated price now when (likely) game changing parts a(AMD 5xxx CPUs and competing GPUs) are coming within the next month?"

          is one month of bragging really worth it or would your time and money perhaps be better invested in getting a life?

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    I got excited and hoped that it was a horde of bots requesting that Nvidia provides an open-source Linux driver like every other desktop GPU manufacturer.

    But no :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and hoped that it was a horde of bots

      Linux users have their issues just like anyone else, but calling them a horde of bots is a little harsh... :)

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Spend some time on the likes of alt.os.linux.advocacy and you may change your mind about that.

  6. FlippingGerman

    Feeding

    "I’ve spent $2,000-plus on a specific pair of shoes that retailed $170" - and *that* is why scalpers exist, because people like you will spend that money and make it worth their time. Stop feeding the bastards, stop buying cards for twice the price on ebay, and this won't happen.

    And, as Tech Jesus (Steve Burke of Gamers Nexus) says, don't buy because it's new and shiny, buy because you actually need to (or rather, can justify) upgrade.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Feeding

      That’s it exactly. There will be more of the cards tomorrow, or next week, or next month. I can wait. Anyone who not only can’t wait, but is willing to pay an order of magnitude over retail is an idiot. I don’t stand in line to get the latest iPhone. I don’t pay extra at fleaBay for the latest super video card. I don’t camp outside the theater or the stadium or the ticket office to get tickets for the very first showing of the new (insert franchise name here) movie or the game I can see on tv and in greater comfort, or whatever. But that’s me.

  7. TheProf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Zoinks!

    I can't see nVidia being too worried about this. They sold all their cards in a few seconds. Isn't that the business they're in?

    As for 'fans' wanting to pay £40,000+ for one. Write out 40,000 times 'I must learn to be patient'.

    (Yes, there are 21 bids for a graphics card that costs more than a new Jaguar F-Pace.)

    1. Giles C Bronze badge

      Re: Zoinks!

      I don’t want one but that card on eBay is now up to £50300 with 7 hours to go.....

      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gigabyte-Rtx-3080-Gaming-OC-10G/143742164926?hash=item2177b35fbe:g:XooAAOSwDNxfY3OD

      Utter madness

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Zoinks!

        £65 000 now......

        2hrs 50 left...

        get those bids in ...

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Re: Zoinks!

          "get those bids in ..."

          I think what's happening here is a public reaction to the scalpers selling their wares. This was mentioned (my memory of the last week is a bit hazy...) I think on a LTT youtube video; Bidders bounce up the price to absolutely staggering amounts and then pull out of the sale when the auction finishes. Scalper is left with admin fees, relisting fees, out of pocket just in time for the next batch of cards to be released, which means the scalper can only sell the cards they have at the normal retail price.

          Anecdotal, of course.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    Subheading

    Subheading:

    "Every news website falls for it and promotes the "scarcity" of our "rare" cards, hyping our products for us for free, because we just couldn't be bothered to make enough to satisfy demand or wait until we had stock enough, but wanted money NOW."

    Citation: Nintendo, Apple, just about every major supplier of goods.

  9. David Pearce

    Why?

    There was a time in the early iPhone days when having the latest model might get attention and attract girls.

    A new graphics card will do exactly what?

    1. cosmodrome

      Re: Why?

      Attract gamer girls. And unicorns, flying horses and sugary soft drinks that make you smart, rich and attractive. I've seen in on the internet! It must be true!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      "A new graphics card will do exactly what?"

      The cooling fans on this card are so powerful that, used correctly, they can result in an actual increase in the size of one's physical attributes.

      Used incorrectly and it will blow them internally, never to be seen again...

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Nvidia clearly were not bothered about bots and scalpers making purchases as they have made their money. It isn't that difficult to spot when an order form is completed in 2 seconds by a bot when it would take a real human at least 10x that to fill it in.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      I dont know, a decent web form will use standard autocomplete field names and be done and dusted in a trifle.

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Indeed; it's hard to believe this isn't their preferred outcome. At first glance, they have the strongest of incentives to stop it: margin going to botnet-equipped scalpers is not going to Nvidia('s shareholders). If they wanted to avoid this situation, they'd auction the cards themselves, or set the price at an insanely high level that gradually reduces until inventory shifts.

      This is just complicated marketing.

  11. Sparkus

    Here are a few sales filtering rules for Nvidia to try. Probably about 15 lines of SQL or Python or VisualBasic or whatever they are using this week........

    One device per credit card per week

    One device per delivery address per week

    One device per customer email per week

    Change the rules up a bit from week to week to frustrate the script kiddies and their bots.

    Not everything has to be be AI-enabled to be effective.

    But the ease of which this manufactured 'problem' could have been avoided belies Nvidias sole motive which is to shift as much kit as they can at the highest price.

    Nvidia doesn't care if the cards are being used to game, mine coin, fold protein, or collect dust. They really don't........

  12. Old Used Programmer

    The real lesson is....

    ...don't buy for over list. If the scalpers can't move product, and they get burned often enough, they'll quit.

  13. goldcd

    If I had to guess

    The purpose of this release wasn't to sell cards - it was ensure the world knows nVidia make the 'best graphics cards'

    Now normally, it would all have been about selling - but this time, they're both a significant leap beyond the current gen and priced relatively sensibly (which doesn't make much sense from a business perspective, when you don't have many to sell and are only really competing with yourself).

    My reasonable guess is that this is all because AMD are announcing their new cards next month, and rumour-mill suggests they're competitive with nvidia's upper-end for the first time in many, many years. nVidia *does not* wish to be sandbagged by AMD, in the way AMD are currently thrashing Intel.

    AMD might launch next month with an amazing card, it might be priced to be amazing value - but those of us with deep enough pockets, might hang on for a few extra months for nVidia to sort out their supply chain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I had to guess

      Think you're on to something there.

      As an old, crusty gamer who liked ATI Radeon , I think AMD had hinted at really good performance for the £200-£300 type price mark (just like the old days!). My Nvidia cards feel more like Apple. Incremental increase and increased cost. Hopefully the AMD announcement will change mid-market priced cards.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, they underpriced them?

    There's a simple fix to all this.

    nVidia should just radically increase the price until more stocks arrive.

    They're clearly leaving money on the table, or rather handing it to third-parties.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GeForce RTX 3080

    I read an article that said it can't run Crysis Remastered on the Can It Run Crysis settings.

    https://gizmodo.com/nvidias-new-rtx-3080-can-barely-run-crysis-remastered-1845110781

    I'm surprised it's sold out considering it costs as much as a PC build.

    1. Horridbloke
      Gimp

      Re: GeForce RTX 3080

      I think Crytek themselves have said nothing should be capable of running it well in "can it run crysis" mode for the time-being. That's kind of the point.

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