Hatred for the video game retailer GameStop, Inc. seems to be a pretty hot topic in the gaming circuit these days. Complaints about customer service aside, the companies biggest apparent flaw is the high pricing of their second hand games. Whereas games can be found on Amazon at prices up to 50% off, GameStop usually marks their used titles at a mere 10% less. The biggest difference, though? Ease of returns, especially if you just don’t like the game.
Though there seems to be genuine and slightly reasonable disdain for the retailer’s used game practices amongst both the public and game publishers alike, it still managed to bring in well over $2.62 billion for fiscal year 2011 in second hand titles. In an effort to further enhance is second-hand sales and potentially increase that number quite a bit, the corporation has started to look into tacking on the sale of second-hand downloadable goods to its stores.
The hot button issue of the second-hand sale of software has lead many within the industry to speculate on specifics of the Playstation 4 and next Xbox, stating that both Microsoft and Sony are looking to limit their systems to brand new titles only. Could the sale of second-hand downloadable titles be just another log on the fire?
In an interview with on-line gaming site GameSpot, GameStop CEO Paul Raines explains the retailer’s current position regarding the concept of reselling DLC. “There are some technologies out there in Europe, and we’ve looked at a couple that are involved. We’re interested[,]” Raines states. In the same breath, the GameStop CEO goes on to say, “[I]t’s not a meaningful business yet. Right now we’re not seeing that as a huge market, but I think we’re on the leading edge.”
Are there potential hiccups with the sale of second-hand downloadable goods? Of course. First, how would it be done? While Raines was unable and unwilling to describe any potential methods, he did let on that the retailer has been discussing the process with companies that currently remain unnamed. “We wouldn’t want to disclose [the name of those companies] and have our competitors rushing in,” Raines closes.
Should gamer’s be wary of GameStop’s cross-over into selling second-hand downloadable goods? Since it’s clearly in the planning stages at this point, this gives those uneasy with the companies operation’s plenty of time to find issue with this potential addition to their stores.
Back in 2010, GameStop faced lawsuits over their used game sales with customers complaining that used game boxes would advertise certain downloadable content that wasn’t available. In 2012, another lawsuit against the retailer ended in a ruling that would force the entirety of its California based stores to label its used games with DLC warnings, stating that second-hand titles cannot be guaranteed to come with the labeled downloadable content. To gamers, the lawsuit may sound ridiculous, but it raises the question of what legalities GameStop will have to face if it can get second-hand DLC off the ground.