Best Buy’s Totaltech subscription is making waves again. First, the company put the purchase of PS5s behind its subscription paywall, and now the company is requiring users to get a subscription to purchase GPUs, too.
The internet went crazy with excitement when Best Buy released a stock of highly sought-after RTX 3000 graphics cards. That excitement turned to rage quickly when everyone realized they needed a $200 per year subscription to Best Buy Totaltech if they wanted to buy one. This even includes Nvidia’s Founders Edition products.
According to Twitter user @CameronRitz, who tracks GPU restocks, this is the first time Best Buy has put GPUs behind the paywall, though the company did hint that it would happen when it first announced the subscription service. It said the subscription would include “access to some of the season’s hardest-to-find products,” which would obviously include GPUs, as they’re nearly impossible to find.
While the rage is understandable, it’s also easy to see where Best Buy is coming from. Unlike some other retailers, it’s not jacking the prices up over MSRP (for this promotion, as the company has sold GPUs for well over MSRP in the past). Instead, it requires a subscription (which does offer some other benefits).
Additionally, putting the desirable cards behind a subscription makes it, so you don’t need to compete with as many bots and scalpers to buy the GPU you want. Instead, you have a much smaller pool of potential buyers since only those with the subscription can jump in and get one. Many of the GPUs took over an hour to sell out, which is far slower than with a normal restock.
On the other hand, forcing people to sign up for a rather pricey subscription just to buy things does seem like an abuse of Best Buy’s power. It’s hard to pick a side on this one. One thing’s for sure: if you want a GPU, you’re going to want to sign up for the subscription soon because they will still sell out quickly the next time they come in stock.