Best Buy mandates US$199 Totaltech subscription for a chance to buy Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards ↺
Although it is incredibly challenging, one can still get a graphics card at MSRP with some luck and lightning-quick fingers. However, those looking to snag one from Best Buy discovered that they have to shell out an extra US$199 for the privilege of buying one. Even then, a purchase isn't guaranteed, and most people will likely end up losing to bots/scalpers.
Several Reddit and Twitter users found out that the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 series restock was exclusive to Best Buy Totaltech subscribers. Initially, users speculated that only Founders Edition cards would be locked behind the paywall, but it later emerged that the restriction applied to all Nvidia graphics cards.
As expected, the GPUs were scooped up within minutes of going on sale. It turns out that a Best Buy Totaltech membership allows you to purchase multiple graphics cards at a time, as long as they're of a different make and model, as noted by another Reddit user.
A screenshot posted in the thread shows people buying three, four and even seven Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards at once. One Redditor even boasted about snagging 13 graphics cards, much to the dismay of everyone else.
Yet another user reached out to Best Buy's Totaltech support for some clarity on the matter. It seems that locking graphics cards behind a paywall was Best Buy's way of "keeping away the bots" because some bots had allegedly bypassed its anti-bot measures. It is also Best Buy's method of incentivizing people to buy TotalTech, given its otherwise lacklustre perks and significant asking price.
It is hard to tell if this was a one-off happening or if all future Best Buy graphics cards sales will be locked behind a Totaltech subscription. Many would argue that it is one of the better methods of keeping bots away and that one would end up paying a lot more than US$200 extra for a graphics card otherwise. One can only hope that Best Buy takes cognizance of all the flak it got and scraps the idea of paywalling hardware sales for all future products, even high-demand ones.