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Are Exclusive Games GameStop's Secret Weapon? 102

Posted by Zonk
from the fully-operational-battle-station dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's one thing to try to muscle out the competition, but when you start to lock down the sales of certain games, consumers lose. This is how GameStop hopes to compete against the big box retailers. With sales of games predominantly happening at stores like Walmart or Best Buy, they must feel that extreme measures are required. 'Chulip--an offbeat game involving kissing--has been released in the US to the cheers of fans of quirky games. The only problem is that EBGameStop is going to be the only place to buy it. Strategy gamers will be annoyed to hear that The Settlers for the DS will also be an EBGameStop exclusive. The game has been getting some favorable early buzz, but if you'd like to buy it on the 28th of next month... well, you know where you'll have to go.'"
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Are Exclusive Games GameStop's Secret Weapon?

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  • Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoelMartinez (916445) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:04PM (#18153686) Homepage
    if they want to cripple their sales by only selling in one place be my guest. And if gamestop has the business chops to land such a deal, also, be my guest.
    • by beckerist (985855)
      So long as:
      A) The games they sell AREN'T (and they never will be) big-sellers (highly anticipated games) -or-
      B) They open this to their website as well (for those of us without access to GameStops) -or-
      C) They reduce the prices immensely to make me WANT to drive all the way there (which they won't do)
      ...I'm ok with it. Otherwise, Gamestop might make out just fine but the company they signed exclusivity deals with had better have a "Plan B"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SethraLavode (910814)

      The big-box stores aren't going to be carrying most of the quirky or non-mainstream titles in the first place, unless they become a surprise break-out hit like Katamari Damacy. If I'm going to go look for, say, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, I'm going to skip Best Buy and Wal-Mart and go straight to EB already.

      It makes sense for GameStop to advertise this de facto exclusivity and work out whatever deal they need to make it reality, since in probably makes no functional difference to the publish

      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I do pretty much the opposite, with Gamestop's small shelves for unused games and tendency to put games on shelves later than others I'd rather look into another store first, never mind that those tend to be cheaper and less annoying in general (Gamestop pricetags are placed conveniently so that you have to crouch to see them on the lower rows as the shelf will block your view of them, games tend to be unwrapped with the employees pulling the disc out of a drawer when you buy them, cramped stores and I stil
    • by chrpai (806494)
      I'm too cheap to buy games new. I'll find it at the local Planet Replay in due time regardless of who originally sold it.
    • I agree. Another aspect is that one will never see Gamestop getting exclusive rights on truly mainstream big sellers such as Final Fantasy, GTA, Zelda, Mario, Halo etc. so why does it bring up such a furor that they have exclusive rights on games that will not be blockbusters?
  • I don't mind, I know it costs a lot to run a GameStop/EB Games, and I also know that they don't make very much money on each sale...I like konwing that I can go buy a MASSIVE library of Xbox games for under 20 dollars each (many under 10) and it's only a coupl eminute drive away.

    Sure, of course I prefer the mom-and-pop game stores, but those are nearly non-existant nowadays. While I am aware that Gamestop is one of the reasons WHY they went away, there are still some great deals there
    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Travoltus (110240)
      I'd rather deal with the very worst of EB/Gamestop's staff and policies, than let them sink in favor of centralizing distribution around Best Buy, much less around Wal Mart. Wal Mart actually censors games by refusing to carry certain titles; imagine if they're the only game store in town, then you'd really be screwed.

      And to the screeching Wal Mart apologists: if online sales trumped Wal Mart's "decency" controls, why is Wal Mart still such a dominating factor in game sales? Hmm?
      • by chromatic (9471)

        Wal Mart actually censors games by refusing to carry certain titles...

        If I owned a store, it wouldn't carry certain items that are legal to sell in my jurisdiction. Is that censorship or a matter of principle?

        • by Travoltus (110240)
          Censorship is always censorship, regardless of principles issues. It doesn't depend on standards of Politically correct or not PC. Let's just get that out of the way ahead of time.

          But when you're the only distributor in town, the effects of your principled refusal to carry certain legal items, means your will is invariably imposed on the entire affected region.

          Now imagine that this region is all of the United States.

          This is not in any way saying that you cannot engage in censorship. But it is in every way s
  • I vaguely recall that GameStop has been doing this for a while now - it was just that none of the games were really worth caring about. From what I can tell of the Ars article, the writer is mostly sound and fury - there still aren't any blockbuster games that are GameStop only. He seems more pissed off that it's GameStop, which he apparently does not like very much.

    I'm not a big fan of this trend, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, either.
  • Resales (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cannelbrae (157237) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:12PM (#18153772)
    No, their secret weapon is game resales. They buy games back for a few dollars and resell them for just under full price. They actively push used copies, putting them at the front of the store and offering used copies to people buying new.

    It is hitting certain game styles enough (primarily single player, plot driven games) that fewer are being made. Offline games pushed to build in 'contact the server before you play' model, requiring an internet connection to play single player games. Or publisher based online distrobution, where transfering ownership costs money if it is possible at all.
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      I've heard the same about the used game sales. I've also seen articles showing the cost breakdown of the game leaving the profit margin for the retail store pretty slim, like $1-5 dollars per game. Gamestop will pay something like 15-25 bucks for a used game, and then sell it back out for 5-10 dollars less than retail. They're making far more money selling the used games rather than the new ones apparently.

      This doesn't particularly bother me, so long as I get the games I want, at the prices I'm agreeable wi
      • I'm not arguing that used games are bad buisness for GameStop. Its definitely lucrative. Long term though, I don't know if it is good for anyone.

        Publishers will figure out how to break the model (via DRM, contact-the-server, strong arming, etc). This will EB/GameStop who depend on this as a major income stream. If Gamefly gets much bigger, they could potentially become a target as well.

        Gamers will be hurt as stores close and they have to deal with worsening anti-resale measures. They are already getting hit
        • by Kelbear (870538)
          I'm entirely in agreement with you. I think what's happening is that there are weaknesses in the current industry model popping up. The $60 dollar price tag is still not that bad considering the massive cost of development. The margins are getting strained to the edge and so businesses are looking for alternatives to make their money. The resale market, gamefly's rental/try-before-buy system, and Steam's electronic distribution/self-publishing.

          The funny thing is that though development costs have skyrockete
    • by sirstar (789206)
      And they're real secret weapon is reselling used copies of games as new copies. This has happened to me a couple of times at different EB/Gamestops in my area.... So, buy that used copy off someone for a few dollars, and turn around and sell it to the next person as a new copy.... Check you boxes before you leave! If they don't have the seals on them, Complain right away! =)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ElleyKitten (715519)

        And they're real secret weapon is reselling used copies of games as new copies. This has happened to me a couple of times at different EB/Gamestops in my area.... So, buy that used copy off someone for a few dollars, and turn around and sell it to the next person as a new copy.... Check you boxes before you leave! If they don't have the seals on them, Complain right away! =)

        I used to work at Gamestop, and actually what they do is so they can display new games without having anti-theft devices is they open

      • by dlZ (798734)
        I used to work for EB Games before Gamestop purchased the company, and we didn't sell used games as new ever. But what we did have to do was open a ton of copies of the new/hit title and put them on the shelf for display, so the discs would be put into a baggy with the manual. On average (at my location at least) we took great care of them, so they didn't get damaged. But I saw other EB's just toss everything into a box, where the discs were scratched up, manuals damaged, or whatever mayhem could happen
        • by blincoln (592401)
          I used to work for EB Games before Gamestop purchased the company, and we didn't sell used games as new ever.

          Yours may not have, but others did. The last time I bought games from EB was when both of them (which I bought "new") had clearly been used. One of them even had spots on the bottom of the disc where liquid (hopefully a drink) had been spilled.

          Some of them also still allow the "checkout" of new games by employees, which is essentially the same thing.

          I don't buy games in brick and mortar stores at all
          • by dlZ (798734)
            We did at one point have the borrow policy, but we only did it when there were enough games to sacrifice one or two to the defective bin afterwards. We ran a really tight ship, though, and the staff was a bunch of hardcore gamers (and collectors) so we tended to be a bit anal about how we took care of things.

            The biggest problem, even before Gamestop bought EB, was that we had to really push things down people's throats and meet our quotas. At first it was easy, a $10 discount card on used games that came
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        Employees can "borrow" a game for a few days, it still gets sold as new after that. The dimwits didn't even bother to wipe the save file (I got a GBA cart like that) and the idiot at the counter even said "look, still in it's original packaging" when a blind man with a crutch could tell that the game was rewrapped. The game worked fine but they're not making any friends like that.
    • by merreborn (853723)
      For games that have been out for a couple years, I found that gamestop is actually competitive with the online used market.

      I just picked up some gamecube games to play on my new Wii.

      Pikmin was $10. Amazon's lowest used price is $15.
      Animal Crossing was $16, Amazon's lowest used price is $14. Factor in the fact I got it the same day, and that I didn't pay shipping, and that's a win too.
      Lego Starwars was $17, and it's $16.50 on amazon. Another win.

      All in all, I don't regret buying any of those games there.
      • by dave1g (680091)
        what about craigslist? - 100% goes to the person selling.

        Of course I live in Austin with a very active craigslist.
      • Doesn't always work out that way. Last month, or the month before (who can remember time when one's trying to figure out how the hell finite state machines work), I was in my local EBGamestop trying to find a copy of Final Fantasy IV Advance. They had a used copy for $24.99 (pre-tax) and insisted that was below retail. I went down the road to ToysRUs and grabbed it brand new for $19.99, then brought the receipt back, just to screw with them[0].

        [0]This was before the company apparently fired all of the gamer
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:15PM (#18153822) Homepage Journal
    I used to run a brick and mortar chain of stores (skateboarding, paintball, etc) that went bankrupt due to tax incompetency on our part. But we learned some important lessons along with our suppliers -- even with the Internet quickly dismantling brick and mortar operations, we were a VERY important arm of the manufacturer's life because of our direct end-user support. As our local competitors fell to the online pricing, we were growing because we supported our customers (even for online purchases). In the video game world, it isn't as big of a deal, but the gaming industry still needs brick and mortar stores for more than just sales.

    Our most important items were those that we had received to sell before the online merchants did -- at a decent margin (50-60% profit). It took about 2 years for the manufacturers to offer these "brick and mortar-only" products, but they helped us so much that it gave us reason to open additional stores.

    I don't think you'll see tons of games go local-only, but those that do will help to keep the local stores open, and for the manufacturers this is a very important area to keep alive. I can't see the negatives, except that the more local-oriented family stores won't have that competitive edge, which is definitely a loss.
  • Niche marketing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:16PM (#18153844) Homepage
    It's difficult for anyone to compete with Wally World on price alone -- but where Gamestop et al could do well is on service and convenience. My local Wal-Mart's game selection is absolutely horrible. They probably still aren't aware that there are two versions of Flight Simulator X, let alone add-ons.

    What smaller stores can offer is a store by gamers, for gamers -- with employees who understand what the games are about (c'mon, finding gamer employees can't be that hard). Just like comic book/game stores can stay in business by providing niche services and products (where else are you gonna find a blue pearlescent D30 for your collection?), Gamestop and similar stores can attract customers by just providing better service.

    Some things they might try are:
    * Guaranteed availability of games on launch day (I believe they already do this; I don't think Wal-Mart bothers.)
    * Try-before-you-buy, with a bunch of really cool peripherals set up (to encourage sales of these, too),
    * Courier service, for lazy geeks who want their games now but don't want to drive to the mall (maybe work with a pizza-delivery joint?),
    * Web delivery of games (I just downloaded Ship Simulator, which is 300+ meg; it got here in just a few minutes. Much easier for everyone involved than buying a CD from a store or using FedEx.)

    Bottom line -- they shouldn't need strong-arm tactics like this. Can't really fault them much, though; it seems like it's becoming more and more common. 8-(
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ZorbaTHut (126196)
      * Guaranteed availability of games on launch day (I believe they already do this; I don't think Wal-Mart bothers.)

      Ahahahahah. That's funny.

      I think the last four or five times I went to hunt out a game on release day every single EBGamestop in the area was sold out. In each case I ended up finding it in Best Buy or CompUSA. "Did you pre-order?" "No." "Well, then we don't have any." Fuck you too, EBGamestop.

      This happened with Ratchet: Deadlocked, Shadow of the Colossus, and Civ4. I can't remember others offha
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by p0tat03 (985078)

        This is very true. While I find that Wal Mart's selection is poor, and stock levels even worse, places like Best Buy and Future Shop (its Canadian brother) treat me quite kindly. Where the local EB's have the whole "did you preorder? no? then sod off" mentality for games on launch day, there's no such issue with the big box stores.

        I walked into a Future Shop and got Crackdown (for $10 cheaper than EB, no mail-in or anything required, just a markdown) on launch day. Try that at EB and get the evil "did you p

        • I went looking for Crackdown last night. I went to two Gamestops and got the same response "If you didn't pre-order it, we are sold out. You should have pre-ordered" Way to lose a sale guys. Went to Circuit City and they had stacks of the game available.

          Perhaps GameStop could start turning a profit and making money if they actually stock games.
      • Not to nitpick, but with the exception of hardware (which can shoot from 'impossible to find' to '20 copies available' within a week) generally speaking, the less known and/or more niche a game is, the less people are going to try and buy the game on launch day. Shadow of the Colossus was an unexpected hit given the fact that nearly no one had heard of the game previously (remember the Katamari Damacy shortages?) and Civilization 4 was a PC game which has more or less been resigned to a niche market in comp
    • I think there are a few other factors that can set Gamestop apart from the big box competitors. It is becoming common practice for game publishers to "tone down" content in their games in order to get a Teen rating as opposed to a Mature one. Teen-rated games get more shelf space (aka can be stocked at walmart), and sell to a larger potential audience. I am a gamer who started on the good ol' NES in the 80's, and there are many people in their late 20's and older who still enjoy video games. However, w
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gothic_Walrus (692125)
      Try-before-you-buy, with a bunch of really cool peripherals set up (to encourage sales of these, too)

      You know, they used to do that back when FuncoLand was more than just a memory of days gone by. You'd ask an employee for help, they'd unlock the drawer the console was kept in, they'd pop in your game, and you'd be playing it. You knew the game worked, you could tell if you were going to like the game or not, and the system generally worked well.

      Now, if the game's not on the manufacturer-issued demo disc,
      • Used games have a 30 day warranty against defects, and 7 days return policy if you just don't like them. The latter is especially good for parents w/ finicky kids. As someone else also mentioned, prices for older used games are great. As a whole, I was a bigger fan of EB before the merger. REally, it's a matter of finding one of the stores that has a good staff.
        • by PKFC (580410)
          quoting your GP: What smaller stores can offer is a store by gamers, for gamers -- with employees who understand what the games are about (c'mon, finding gamer employees can't be that hard). Gamestop and similar stores can attract customers by just providing better service.

          and you: REally, it's a matter of finding one of the stores that has a good staff.

          The problem isn't finding people to work there. I work at an EB Games in Calgary and went through some random papers up by the till that were left to rot...
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#18153886)
    Exclusives give me a reason to visit a store that's not based off price and convenience. For instance, if I want a copy of Half-Life 2, I have no reason to visit a nearby GameStop if I can get it cheaper at a nearby Target. If Target is the only one who has it, though, I have to go there- and I will probably end up paying more too, since there is no competition for that title.

    While this does shaft the consumer slightly, we only notice because games are normally sold by resellers, not the original manufacturer. (McDonald's, for instance, doesn't allow resellers to sell Big Macs). Lots of things we buy are only availible from one store, while things like grocery stores ususally have a mix of exclusive and non-exclusive items. It looks like Game stores want to emulate the grocery store model.
  • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:25PM (#18153942)
    ....then they wouldn't have to pull this crap.

    The chains that GameStop absorbed (Funcoland, EB, etc...) never had the anti-customer practices that Gamestop has, and the remaining vidoe game specialty stores don't do the little things that make GameStop so terrible. I don't know what they're thinking, but perhaps they'd be better served to stop doing the things that chase the customers away rather than tring to force customers to shop there when they don't want to. I know that with me only one of those things is likely to work.

    What types of things am I talking about? Imposing draconian quotas on their employees, which causes the sales associates to bully the customer into sales to prevent losing their job; Forcing pre-orders for items which are not in short supply; Paying pathetic trade-in values while charging outrageous prices for used titles; Maintaining a poor back catalog; Accepting vendor promotions that encourage their sales associates to favor one vendor over others at no real gain to the company; Cramming so much marketing material into the store that you can't find anything you're looking for; Locking PC games in huge plastic security boxes; Selling non-guaranteed pre-orders; Selling not-for-resale demo copies as "used"; etc.

    Fix some of those things. It can't be that hard, and it can't cost that much. Then, maybe, I'll consider shopping at GameStop again. Until then I'll take a page out of their book and buy the games they "lock up as exclusives" used from somebody else.
    • by cavefrog (1015175)
      Boy, you're right about the quotas. I'm not much of a gamer, but I go into Gamestop occasionally to buy used DVDs. Every time I'm in there one of the employees is always pleading with the boss about one thing or another. Usually it's about not meeting his quota, but sometimes it's about working hours, etc. It makes for a distasteful shopping environment, and I always purchase my DVDs and get the hell out of there before the urge to throttle the manager gets too great.
    • Paying pathetic trade-in values

      What B&M offers higher prices? If GS didn't offer the highest prices why would people trade their games there?

       

      while charging outrageous prices for used titles

      What B&M sells used games for less? If GS didn't have the lowest prices why would people buy used games there?

      • by ivan256 (17499)
        That depends on where you live. There are regional chains that offer much better prices/rates. I've never heard of any other store that offers a flat rate for trade-ins, but then prices them for resale based on demand for the particular title. That's just plain wrong. If you're going to charge a premium at resale, at least some of that should get passed on to the original owner at trade in time.

        If GS didn't offer the (highest|lowest) prices why would people (trade|buy) their games there?

        Name recognition. Th
      • by tepples (727027)

        What B&M offers higher prices?
        Online has taken a BM all over B&M.
    • The chains that GameStop absorbed (Funcoland, EB, etc...) never had the anti-customer practices that Gamestop has

      Uhhh, how many times did you ever shop at a Funcoland or an Electronics Boutique? In my opinion EB has always been the absolute worst of all the specialty games retailers I've ever encountered. Bar none. Bad policies, run their employees ragged on purpose to encourage turnover (every kid wants to work in a game store, and they'll work cheaper too) Software Etc? Please, I stopped going to the
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        Oooh, looks like I struck a nerve.

        Uhhh, how many times did you ever shop at a Funcoland or an Electronics Boutique? In my opinion EB has always been the absolute worst of all the specialty games retailers I've ever encountered.

        Constantly since I was old enough to see over the counter. EB started to go downhill right before the GameStop buyout, which wasn't until 2005. Funcoland had a huge array of used products for every platform you could think of, and had the best trade-in policies *ever* (Can't say I eve
        • Funcoland had a huge array of used products for every platform you could think of

          Funcoland also existed in a much different landscape before it got bought. Back then there were a lot more functioning SNES, NES, Genesis, and N64 systems out there than there are now. The Dreamcast and N64 selection lasted quite a long time in most Gamestops before the lack of anyone buying them forced them to put that space to more profitable use. Not to mention the lack of re-release software collections, and it was far m
          • by ivan256 (17499)
            Funcoland also existed in a much different landscape before it got bought. Back then there were a lot more functioning SNES, NES, Genesis, and N64 systems out there than there are now. The Dreamcast and N64 selection lasted quite a long time in most Gamestops before the lack of anyone buying them forced them to put that space to more profitable use. Not to mention the lack of re-release software collections, and it was far more difficult to access, and play reasonable, ROM images of those games.

            What, then,
            • If I ran my own store I'd be hard pressed to display PS1 games, but some of them still do. Last I looked the store I mentioned in Saugus did carry PS1 games, and even some N64 games still, and until at least a year ago they were selling PS1 games in the Beverly store as well, where I picked up a few gems.

              Why would I not?

              First and foremost, the vast majority of PS1 games you get as a trade-in are in barely saleable condition. Scratched to hell and back by god knows what.

              Second, that era of games is startin
              • by ivan256 (17499)
                These games don't need first class treatment. Give them a catalog on the counter and a drawer in the back room.

                It doesn't matter how many PS1s are still functional, since PS2s and PS3s are fully capable of playing the games.
  • I'm ok with EB/Gamestop getting things that Best Buy/Walmart/etc doesn't. It makes sense that by going into a dedicated gamestore that you'll find a better selection than going somewhere that isn't. But EB/Gamestop isn't the only gamestore. My friend manages a GameCrazy, and I'm at his store all the time for game tournaments and stuff, but when I want say, the collector's edition of FF12, I can't just buy it from his store. There's also a few locally owned stores in my neighborhood that get left out by
  • Toys R Us does that every so often, just not with software only. I remember they used to get exclusive versions of Nintendo hardware. There was an exclusive N64 package that included Pokemon Stadium as I recall. More recently (and more fresh in my memory) they had an exclusive color of the GameBoy Advance, before the SP came out.

    How'd it work out for them? These exclusives are few and far between so seems like not so well.

    Unless the games are actually published by Gamestop/EB or a subsidiary, the only way t
  • GameStop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:34PM (#18154100) Homepage Journal
    The problem is we're seeing the death of Gamestop.

    Before anyone cheer or wails, let me explain.

    In America convenience sells. Yes, there are people who will go out of their way to make sure what they're getting is a quality product. However, the majority of consumers won't seek out that small, family run business no matter how good it is. Whatever's closest to home or on the way back from work is what gets their business.

    Now a lot of people buy groceries, clothes, and other things at Walmart and similar stores. A lot of people go to Best Buy for music and movies. A lot of people have multiple errands to do on a Saturday morning when they'd rather be relaxing at home. Why go to 8 individual stores for specific task X when you can go to one or two which cover all of them?

    It all boils down to Hardcore versus Casual again. Before Walmart and others caught on that video games were good sellers, everyone had to go to places like Funcoland, Babbages, EBX etc. to get games. It was a good time to be a specialty store. However, once the giants entered the scene they took away a large portion of casual gamers. The casual gamers aren't likely to have enough motivation to seek out a GameStop if there's a closer Walmart or Best Buy.

    Meanwhile, hardcore gamers still know that Gamestop is the best bet for finding game X, used or new. Best Buy and Walmart will only rarely have a game over a year old, and that's only if it was either really popular or really bad. The only better option is the internet, but that requires shipping. Sadly, in the very near future it may be the only recourse for titles marketed but little.

    What we see here is GameStop's desperate attempt to remain relevant. With Best Buy thinking about reselling used games, the niche Gamestop fills is shrinking. They need a tangible edge over the giants in order to compete, and the giants have been eating away those for some time. The better selection isn't tangible to most casual gamers, so that isn't enough. Gamestop needs something obvious.

    Hence, exclusive titles.

    As people have already pointed out, this is akin to suicide for developers. When the purchasing power of the casual gamer is becoming paramount, why would you restrict your title to a single store more known for its hardcore crowd. Unless A) your game sucks, B) your game is specifically directed at the hardcore crowd, C) your game is an AAA title that will sell bajillions anyway or D) you've been offered more money than you could ever make on the title, I just don't see the incentive.

    So we're left with a fangless GameStop, fighting off bigger predators in a desperate bid for survival. Personally, I'm sad. Gamestop may not be the best thing ever, but losing it will leave a gap in gamer culture. We're no longer special enough to warrant our own store.

    Eventually, whether or not GameStop survives, games will finally be recognized as mass media and will receive the attention they deserve. At which point specialty stores will return to viability (ala Suncoast Video). Until then, it'll be a struggle for GameStop to compete.
    • by Kimos (859729)
      Very insightful. I have been long trying to boycott EB here in Canada for lots of the above mentioned reasons. Gouging on used buy/sell prices. Inflexibility in customer service. Refusal to sell things that are in stock because of pre-orders. Standard fare...

      Yet I've still found myself in EB because I didn't really have any other choice. Big box stores focus on mostly the top 20%. I want Katamari-like games. I want early release GC games to play on my Wii. Future Shop and Best Buy just don't have that ki
      • by Creepy (93888)
        I've had a similar issue - the only places I can find anything new that isn't a "top tier" game is either Gamestop or CompUSA. Sometimes Best Buy and Target have some odd titles at Christmas, but they have reduced shelf space most of the rest of the year. I also like both Gamestop and CompUSA for carrying older titles and good games that didn't sell well for some reason. My local Best Buy has 4 shelves dedicated to PC games (8 at Christmas), but with 2 dedicated entirely to the Sims and World of Warcraft
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      I have yet to see a hypermarket with a games selection that can compete even with the most pathetic department stores. That alone prevents hypermarkets like Wal-Mart already from destroying other stores that sell games.
  • I suppose if you trade games in for store credit, there might be some reason to go there. However, I don't trade games. I only buy games that I'm pretty sure I will want, so I keep the games I buy.

    I got a gift certificate from gamestop for my birthday in september and every time I go to the mall (admittedly only once every couple of months) I check out the gamestop looking to use the gift card. Everything there is so overpriced. Even with the $5 on the gift card any decent used games are still more than
  • Good luck GameStop, because your customer service SUCKS.

    My local store has 5 employees, yet there's always a line. Why is this? Well, yesterday it was because 4 of the employees were busy talking about their girlfriends and sorting thru a box of games instead of taking care of the customers.

    Maybe it's because the PC games consist of 3 racks, most of them in random order. Console games are not in much better shape.

    Maybe it's because they never have anything new in stock.

    Got the Command and Conquer 3 pre-orde
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      The 2 EB Games stores (owned by GameStop) are the opposite. They usually have about 3 people in the store, and 2 are usually talking to customers while the third checks people out.

      The game racks are generally in alpha order. (How they manage this, I can't imagine... It must be a nightmare.) The near one usually only gets pre-orders on release day, but the one at the mall generally has extras. (Larger customer base.)

      And they generally have all the pre-order materials, like the bonus discs and such.

      In ad
    • Being an employee of GameStop, I can definitely see where a lot of that comes from... I work in one of the top 20 stores nationwide, and I can tell you I've been to other GameStops that absolutely SUCK. I do my BEST at my store to keep everything in order, and to make sure my customers are taken care of. I assume I take more pride in my work than those mentioned above...

      Got the Command and Conquer 3 pre-order disc in? No. Want to reserve it anyway? Um, no, I actually wanted the disc, I'll go somewhere that actually keeps a stock.

      The problem with that is that we only get what the warehouse sees fit to distribute, I'll tell you right away that my store would be MUCH

  • I'm about fifty miles from the nearest EB or GameStop or whatever the hell they call themselves this week. :(
  • EBGameStop is going to be the only place to buy it.
    Does EB stand for ebay, because if the games are any good it'll be hard to keep people from buying it there. Of course they probably don't care a bit how much of what they sell ends up on ebay.
  • Step 1: Spend millions developing game.
    Step 2: Only release said game in one chain.
    Step 3: ?
    Step 4: Profit??

    From the game publiser's point of view, how exactly does only releasing into one store help revenues? Considering that some publishers are claiming game development costs are nearing $30mil for a single game, why would you seemingly shoot yourself in the foot by only releasing the game into one chain?

    I don't know about you, but I have much better things to do with my time than drive around town goin
  • Well, the exclusive games have been horrible up until this point such as... Tenchu for the DS, that game got horrid reviews. Yesterday I was shopping at gamestop, and while I HAVE moved 90% of my video game shopping online, i decided to buy some stuff, the store was VERY crowded and there was barely enough room for one person to stand at the register and pay and one person to browse the ps2 games lined up on the wall. I was extremely dissastisfied with the products sold to me. I purchased a copy of Dr Ma
  • The one thing that I despise about EB/Gamestop is there is no way to ensure that you're getting a new game. I recently purchased a new copy of Naruto:CoN2 and they pulled it out of a paper sleeve. When I questioned them on it, the response was "Oh, we do have some sealed copies if that's what you're looking for." Is this standard procedure? I personally think they were trying to pass a used copy as new.
    • by Xian97 (714198)
      I refuse to buy from them for that very reason. I bought a new DS game for my daughter a while back and when she opened it Christmas Day there were saved games on it from months before. I do not think they should be allowed to open their software if they sell the same thing used.
    • by Murrdox (601048)
      Recently, I purchased a game at a local Gamestop.

      I ran into the situation where I asked for the game, and the person behind the counter grabbed a box, got the game from a paper sleeve, and put it in the box for me. I was a bit dismayed, but figured it was just something to prevent shoplifting.

      When I got home, I noticed that all he gave me was the game DVD. No manual, no anything else.

      If this had been a game that required a CD-Key to play, I would have been completely out of luck.

      However, after
    • It was possibly "new." Standard policy at GameStop/EBGames is to open one copy of each game so they can keep an empty case out on the floor. Chances are though that the "new" game you were buying had been played before, by the employees. GameStop/EBGames employees are allowed to checkout new games and play them to gain product knowledge. I used to manage one of their stores and all the employees there, including myself, took games home all the time. I would play a game for a couple of days and then bri
      • If that is the case, then that copy should be sold as used. I still stop in EB occasionally, but I will not purchase any new game that isn't sealed.
  • My experiences at Gamestop and the like have been less than stellar. The stores are always really small and packed to occupancy with overweight 12 year olds manhandling their mothers pocketbooks out of her hands to they can buy the latest version of superkillerbloodfestwithdrugsalcaholnuditysexande v erythingelse 9000! Sure its rated mature but the parents have trained their kids that if they scream loud enough they will get it. The clerks think that they are absolutely the most awesome think since *insert v
  • i will say, at least in my area, that the gamestop stores are *way* nicer than bestbuy, circut city, fry's, target, etc. things they do right? no tvs blaring music, no loud music, no ultra bright lights, glass store front with actual daylight - in short: a quiet and relaxing shopping experience. all the electronic sections of the big box stores make me feel like i've been through battle. two things i'd like to see: let you play the games before you buy, and have kiosks to read internet reviews on the gam
  • Already if you want quirky and offbeat games, you have to go to a game shop. Walmarts and Best Buys Seldom carry something as obscure as that. Heck, I was surprised to see Valkyrie Profile 2 there.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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