What’s happening inside a GameStop?
This Monday I went to the local GameStop to see what was happening. I decided that it would be nice to take a few photos as well just to show the employees and happy customers in action.
…Unfortunately, I learned that you can’t take pictures of the inside of a GameStop unless you have consent from their marketing department. That makes it pretty impossible for an average Logan like myself to take pictures in that hallowed hall of gaming. Luckily, they informed me that I could take pictures of the outside of the store. After several minutes of making passerby’s nervous I ended up with the following photos:
This is a gallery of every advertisement on the front of the GameStop at Purdue. Notice the nearly complete lack of any new releases. The advertisements are for new DLC for Call of Duty and for cheaper DS’s. These are cool things to know, but are certainly not as exciting as the news of a new game would be to most people. And, wait… why would GameStop advertise DLC that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch to purchase. (You know how I hate getting up.)
Despite no new games coming out for the foreseeable future, the store was packed at 4 p.m. on a Monday. What was going on?!? Just in the several minutes that I was in the store (being politely chased away for having a camera) a man came in practically begging for a job there. The staff told him that they weren’t hiring at the time but that he could submit his resume. That was, until he realized that his resume was already on file from a year ago.
Even on a day and season that should be slow GameStop is getting business. I wanted to know why. Something was fishy and this is my blog so I get to pretend to be a detective.
WARNING: I realize that several games are going to be released within the next few months that will no doubt be blockbusters. Say for example, Mass Effect 3 (mmm… sweet, sweet Mass Effect 3) which I reserved a copy of at the said GameStop on Monday. Please don’t get angry and say that I bashed your favorite game series. But as you probably know, the majority of huge games are released in the holiday season to capitalize on Christmas shoppers. Just in case you don’t believe me, check out what had released in 2012 up to the date I visited the West Lafayette GameStop.
|4||Katawa Shoujo||Win, Lin, Mac|
|NFL Blitz||PSN, XBLA|
|12||Run Roo Run||iOS|
|25||Oil Rush||Win, Lin, Mac|
Oh yeah, Amy was awesome!
Why GameStop is Busy during a January with Few Releases.
Simply put: used game sales. It’s pretty crazy just how many used games GameStop sells. In the fiscal year ending in May 2010 48.1% of GameStop’s profits came from the sale of used video game products. Whoa!
No wonder there seemed to be nearly as many customers in the store on a day without any new big releases, half of the people shopping at a GameStop at any given time aren’t there for new games.
Okay, this might not be mind blowing news to you. You knew that a lot of people go to GameStop to buy used games. You’ve probably done it. I know I bought a used copy of Mass Effect 2 after I played my original copy enough to damage it. (Mmm… sweet, sweet Mass Effect 2). GameStop isn’t just selling nearly as many used games as new games; used game sales are growing much faster too. In the last fiscal year, GameStop’s used game sales rose by 18% compared to a 1% raise in new game sales.
Having the largest chain of video game outlet stores become a thrift shop naturally leads to some controversy. A large used game market is a pain for developers because they never see any money after the first sale of a copy of a game. All of the profits of used sales go to the company promoting used game sales. When used games are so readily available and cheaper, gamers are more and more likely to buy used over new. We’ve all tried it once to see if it made us feel dirty.
Personally, I’m no expert in Used Video Game Science, but I can show you some fun controversy articles that GameStop has spawned:
- Neutral blog post – Pros/Cons of GameStop. Too rational
- Destructiod on why GameStop is evil – It’s because of the telemarketing asking for you to trade in your games.
- Court ruling that could damage the used game market – Publishers may be able to force customers to sign contracts saying that they won’t resell a game
- Don’t Shop GameStop!!! – A fun little blog that offers customers ways to avoid shopping at GameStop without missing out.
I’m not against GameStop. Heck, I went there to take pictures. I’m not even against the used game industry. I could be convinced to be against either, but I haven’t been yet. It’s important to be aware of the controversy because it may change the face of video games in the near future.
The rumor mill is saying that the next Xbox system may being going out of its way to counter all of the money that developers are potentially losing to the used game market. Rumor has it that the new “Xbox 720” may make it so that you can only put the contents of a disc on one system.
This would make it so the next generation of Xbox games can’t even be part of the used games market. Of course it would also mean that you can’t play a game at your friend’s house or even on another Xbox that you own. Keep in mind that this is probably just a rumor with little base, but even if this is horrible slander, it means the issue popped up on someone’s radar.
So there you go.
- GameStop makes a huge portion of their profits from selling used games.
- Consoles and developers may soon strike back with some way to limit the used game market, whether it be by limiting resale or making it so playing the game on more than one console is impossible.
A post like this is always what happens when a ranting gamer like myself tries to quietly reserve a copy of Mass Effect (Mmm… wait for it…) 3. (Yes!!!)