Consumers sheltering in place at home who were hoping to order a Nintendo Switch to stave off cabin fever during the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly been thwarted by a newly introduced bot program designed to buy up consoles from e-retailers before ordinary humans can.

Dubbed Bird Bot, the open-source tool has been used by buyers looking for an edge over other consumers, as well as resellers who want to stock up on Switches in bulk and then sell them at sky-high prices for profit, Motherboard has reported. The program works in the same fashion as bots created to quickly snatch up in-demand sneakers from shoe retailers and event tickets for concerts and sporting events -- only in this case the targets are merchants such as Walmart and Best Buy.

Bird Bot has been made available via Discord, the digital distribution platform used by members of the video game community, and was initially created and introduced by a reseller who goes by Nate, the report continues.

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