NVIDIA apologizes for RTX 3080 launch mess, but it's not enough

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (Image credit: NVIDIA)

What you need to know

  • The RTX 3080 Founder's Edition was on sale for just a few seconds at NVIDIA, with scalpers picking up most of the orders.
  • The cards are now reselling for upwards of $2,000 on eBay, three times their retail price.
  • The RTX 3080 Founder's Edition and aftermarket options are sold out everywhere in the U.S.

NVIDIA kicked off sales of the RTX 3080 earlier today, with the RTX 3080 Founder's Edition up for sale on its website and over a dozen AIB (add-in board) cards with custom cooling and overclocked designs from the likes of ASUS, MSI, EVGA, Zotac and others hitting major retailers.

But just a few seconds after sales kicked off on NVIDIA's website (at 6am PT on September 17), the RTX 3080 went out of stock. That was the case over at Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy (opens in new tab), and Newegg (opens in new tab), with Newegg noting that it saw more traffic than the morning of Black Friday.

Predictably, a lot of users took to Twitter to vent their frustration regarding the limited availability and the fact that the RTX 3080 sold out barely a few seconds after it went for sale on NVIDIA's website:

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Immediately thereafter, hundreds of listings for the RTX 3080 started showing up on eBay (opens in new tab) (as of writing, there are over 600 listings), selling for $2,000 (opens in new tab) — three times the $699 asking price of the RTX 3080 Founder's Edition.

There was limited availability of the RTX 3080 to begin with, and NVIDIA didn't make matters easier by failing to add bot protection on its site. As a result, scalpers were able to use tools like BounceAlerts — an automated bot that allowed resellers to pick up hundreds of RTX 3080 cards ahead of regular customers — to pick up hundreds of cards. As spotted by PCMag, resellers posted screenshots of over a dozen confirmed orders:

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RTX 3080 bot orders

Source: Twitter (Image credit: Source: Twitter)

NVIDIA took to the GeForce forums to apologize (opens in new tab) for the low availability of the RTX 3080, stating that it will now manually review orders to ensure legitimate customers get their orders:

This morning we saw unprecedented demand for the GeForce RTX 3080 at global retailers, including the NVIDIA online store. At 6 a.m. pacific we attempted to push the NVIDIA store live. Despite preparation, the NVIDIA store was inundated with traffic and encountered an error. We were able to resolve the issues and sales began registering normally.To stop bots and scalpers on the NVIDIA store, we're doing everything humanly possible, including manually reviewing orders, to get these cards in the hands of legitimate customers.Over 50 major global retailers had inventory at 6 a.m. pacific. Our NVIDIA team and partners are shipping more RTX 3080 cards every day to retailers.We apologize to our customers for this morning's experience.

NVIDIA is now limiting the purchase of RTX 3080 to one unit per customer and is adding bot protection to the site, but an admin of BounceAlerts revealed to PCMag that the tool has measures to "circumvent the protections." So even if the RTX 3080 goes back on stock at NVIDIA's site, it is likely to be snatched up by resellers.

An easy step would be to add CAPTCHA for its online orders — NVIDIA does the same on its forums to prevent spam, so it's unclear why it did not have the same safeguards for its online store. The RTX 3080 is on its way to becoming the best graphics card of this generation for its balance of performance and pricing, but that becomes a moot point if potential customers can't get their hands on the card without paying a huge markup.

There is a thriving underground reseller market for video cards, and NVIDIA was undoubtedly aware of the same before kicking off orders of the RTX 3080. By not adding measures to prevent bots and limiting the number of orders from a single account, NVIDIA failed to thwart resellers from getting the initial batch of RTX 3080 cards. It now needs to work with retailers and add more safeguards to its site to ensure this isn't the case once the cards go back on sale.

  • This was worse than a paper launch. Thanks to social media, Nvidia wasn't able to claim sold out on launch day thereby artificially inflating their stock price again.
  • They should cancel orders with multiple cards for the same delivery address
  • They should cancel orders with multiple cards for the same delivery address
  • We as the general consumers, we must boycott it until AMD shows of their offerings.
  • Boycott the resellers, yes. Nvidia needs to get it together with the store and the bots but it's like shooting yourself in the foot to boycott the item you really want.
  • This was all part of the plan. There was never the intent to have enough stock from the beginning.
    All of these impatient idiots are just validating what Nvidia is doing.
  • Just refuse to pay the scalpers and the price will come down and the supply will increase.
    Most of the excitement around these graphics cards is because of the price.
  • Aye. It was heresy!
  • Don't expect anything. At the end of the day, Nvidia has their money and has no reason to adjust their policy. It's up to eBay and resellers to punish the scalpers, which they won't because they also get a cut of the sales. Solution is easy, don't buy.
  • They should've cancelled ALL orders and relaunched a well from 17th.... Why not?
  • What a bunch of WHINERS.
    Nvidia creates a fantastic Video Card, prices it PERFECTELY, and it sells out immediately.
    What did you THINK would happen? That they would have tens of thousands in stock for you to buy on day one? Nvidia is in the business of selling product, not limiting who can purchase them so you can brag to your friends about how you "got one!" on day "1". Just wait until the Xbox Series X goes up for RETAIL SALE (not pre-orders.) This will happen again, and again, and again. People will wait in line for DAYS to get one (just like with every other retail launch.) Get over yourselves babies. Cards will be available in a few weeks after the resellers can't sell what they have on the Grey-Market and the OEMs get their product into the stores, and that IS on YOU to make sure the Grey-Market sellers FAIL. Don't EVER buy from the Gray-Market. You just make it worse for everybody. Talk about 1st World "issues". It's a case of people with too much money and not enough to do. Get over yourselves.
  • Are you OK?
  • It's pretty simple really. Wait and don't buy the card on ebay etc for more than the actual price of the card or even at all. Then scalpers will have excess cards that no one buys. Its not like all the games coming out are going to be bad because you don't have the latest gpu. Honestly, it really is a non issue.