Over the past 12 months, electronics retailers have come under increasing fire and scrutiny for misconceptions about how they sell brand-new consoles and high-end PC components. This week, online retailer Newegg has pushed ahead with a new, strange system to sell high-demand, low-supply electronics: Newegg Shuffle. (Or, as the site’s metadata calls it, the Newegg popular product lottery queue.)
If you catch this article early on the morning of Friday January 22, consider drop-everything to reach the site by 5 pm ET and make product-purchase requests. In fact: If you’re interested in recent AMD CPUs, Nvidia GPUs, or all-digital PlayStation 5, do so. It is free to try. well wait.
Okay, so, this process can get a bit messy. What’s up with the newag shuffle?
Shuffling into a forced bundle? Not necessary but likely
The Newegg Shuffle discussion occurred earlier this week when savvy shoppers noticed a limited-time lottery incident under the same name in messages sent to a limited pool of Newegg customers. It advertised a variety of CPUs and graphics cards, and the lead-in page included a sales pitch: choose the one you want to buy, sign in to your established Newegg customer profile, and submit a request. Do this for a certain time, and within a few hours, you will be notified if your account was chosen to purchase the products you choose. (Meaning, you can try to sign up for every listing, or change your odds of being selected at random, apparently without just one, options.)
Problems with the initial testing, however, came in the form of furious customers, sharing images of what the shopping interface actually looked like. After clicking on the shiny new AMD processor, or Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card, you’ll be shown Real Shopping option: a forced bundle. Each option requires buying a new motherboard, even if you don’t need any. This was particularly important in the case of Nvidia’s graphics cards, which are compatible with the general PCI-E 3.0 standard and thus do not require new motherboards for interested PC gamers.
When pressed by PC Mag about this anti-consumer, forced bundle promotion, Newegg clarified that its shuffle feature is still in “beta”. Once it is rolled out to all customers the promotion will cut into forced bundles. Friday’s Newegg shuffle launch confirms it — but some forced bundles remain.
Today’s available AMD CPUs, the Ryzen 5 5600X and Ryzen 7 5800X can both be purchased as standalone options. They are additionally listed with bundles, however, and this means that if you are willing to attach a motherboard purchase to the CPU, you will inevitably be better off purchasing them from NewGag. The same goes for one of the promotional GPUs, an ASUS flavor of the RTX 3070, which can be purchased either a la carte or with a bundled ASUS motherboard.
Three other GPUs appear in the promotion; Two of them can only be purchased a la carte, and one, the ASUS RTX 3080, can only be purchased with a bundled ASUS motherboard (for a combined price of $ 1179.98).
And all-digital PlayStation 5 on offer In college Can be purchased as part of a bundle, with an additional controller (sure), a 1080p webcam (meh), and a media remote (ugh) adding to its usual $ 399 price for $ 160. He has some serious GameStop vibes, and not in a good way.
Microsoft is taking the lead in space
The worst thing about Newegg Shuffle is that it is arguably the best system on the market for PC-shop aspiring shoppers. Otherwise, your best bet is following Twitter accounts and online-shopping guides to really learn that high-end computer components and consoles are in stock – since retailers seem completely indifferent to, you know, us Pre-order things and enter a purchase queue.
The only exception to this madness is the Xbox Series X / S. Microsoft has developed a somewhat scalar-proof purchasing system in the form of Xbox All Access. Combine a monthly subscription price with a dedicated Xbox account (and associated mailing address), and you can get your hands on a shiny new Xbox. Such systems are a pain for scalpers to transfer account ownership to. (As a bonus, buying Series X / S in this way can save you money compared to buying hardware and attached subscription rates at retail price.)
By the time we see more retailers embracing customer verification systems, purchase limits, and anti-scalar efforts, we’re going to see more funky “lottery” systems such as Newkeag with potentially predatory bundle-luring offers Huh.