One of the more reliable places to obtain a current-generation NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics card -- at MSRP -- has been Best Buy. From time to time, the U.S. retailer stocks these best graphics cards for gaming for anyone to purchase. And in months past, the company has even held in-store events where anyone lined up at a brick and mortar location could purchase one card at MSRP (if they were lucky enough to receive a ticket).
That is all changing now, and it's because of Best Buy's Totaltech program (opens in new tab). The full GeForce RTX 30 range was available to purchase this afternoon (including the flagship GeForce RTX 3090) at Best Buy, but the retailer limited those sales to customers that paid an extra $199 for a Totaltech membership. The yearly membership fee entitles you to such perks as free Geek Squad tech support, free 2-day shipping, 60-day returns, and 24 months of product protection (among other benefits).
One other benefit is "Access to exclusive Totaltech member prices," which is apparently what went down with this most recent GeForce RTX 30 drop. Best Buy's shenanigans were first spotted by @CameronRitz, who tracks the in-stock status for various hot ticket items like GPUs and gaming consoles.
Four hours after Best Buy opened the floodgates for the GeForce RTX 30 cards, they're now all currently out of stock. Inventory usually evaporates very quickly during these drops, but we'd imagine that it lasted a bit longer today due to the new Totaltech prerequisite.
Okay it’s all GPUs are Total tech Lmao sheeshFebruary 10, 2022
We understand why Best Buy is trying to squeeze as much money as possible from customers with specialty programs like Totaltech. It's a business, after all, and Newegg similarly toys with gamers' emotions with its Newegg Shuffle promotion. But for enthusiasts that have been put through the wringer for well over a year with inflated GPU prices, Totaltech just pours more salt on the wounds.
Best Buy's confidence to extend the $200 Totaltech paywall to GPUs isn't surprising given that it has done the same with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X during past stock drops. In other words, buckle up folks; it's going to be a bumpy ride!