Very bad bots

Bots are buying up Nintendo Switches so you can't

But Nintendo is ramping up production of the console as demand remains high thanks to the coronavirus.

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The Nintendo Switch has been nearly impossible to find on store shelves in recent weeks as the coronavirus slowed production while ramping up demand for the console as consumers increasingly turn to video games to pass the time indoors. The situation has gotten so bad that opportunistic sellers on Amazon have exploited the scarcity to jack up the price of a Nintendo Switch to as much as $500, or $200 above its retail price.

Now even when new consoles do come in stock, there's a bot ready to grab up the available inventory before you can.

Have you no mercy? — Called Bird Bot, Vice reports the open-source program routinely checks websites that sell products like the Nintendo Switch and buys them up the moment they come back in stock. These types of tools are pretty common for buying up concert tickets to flip on Stubhub, but the live entertainment industry has gotten better about detecting bot-like behavior and blocking it.

It's pretty cruel for someone to inflate Switch prices like this during such a trying time, but humans do have a propensity for sucking, crisis or not. Thankfully, since the bot is available to anyone, you can use it yourself to try and get a Switch. Just don't go buying all available stock by mistake, or you could be in for a nasty bill.

More Switches are coming — Business Insider reported on Monday that Nintendo plans to replenish the stock by June with 22 million more units. So, if you haven't been able to get in on the Animal Crossing sartorial fun yet, you should be able to soon. Until then, don't let the cretins win, yeah?

The Switch has been a wildly successful console for Nintendo, selling more than 52 million units since it launched in 2017. For context, Nintendo's previous console, the Wii U, managed to sell only 13.5 million over 5 years. If the coronavirus hangs around for a few more months it'll be horrific for the global economy, but could do wonderful things for Nintendo's revenue. Every cloud...