Microsoft is emailing ‘valued customers’ links to buy Xbox Series X bundles directly

The holidays are fast approaching, and gaming consoles will be harder to get ahold of than ever. Retailers continue to “struggle” finding clever ways to combat scalpers, even though going back to stocking brick-and-mortar stores seems the obvious solution. Sure, it’s easy to blame the chip shortage and scalpers, but the retailers are not blameless.

Microsoft is brushing of scalpers by offering Xbox Series X bundles to “valued customers.” Over the last week or so, it has been emailing customers links to purchase console packages directly.

The bundles contain an Xbox Series X (including controller), an extra controller, and one game. The Verge’s Tom Warren notes customers can choose Madden 22, GTA V, Rust, Far Cry 6, Hasbro Family Fun Pack, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Insurgency Sandstorm, or Diablo 2 Resurrected.

Units are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, so you are not guaranteed to land one. However, the purchasing links are connected to your store account, so someone else cannot use them. Microsoft is also limiting sales to one per order and no more than two orders in 30 days.

It is unclear exactly how Microsoft is choosing customers to email. Warren speculates that the links are going out to users who have recently shopped on the US Microsoft online store and purchased Xbox software or hardware. These seem like reasonable assumptions.

Microsoft’s idea for hindering scalpers seems better than that of Japan-based retailers Nojima Denki and GEO, which have begun writing customer names on console packaging, hoping it will dissuade scalpers from reselling them. Other’s like Walmart have developed complicated queues that attempt to weed out bots and repeat buyers.