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GameStop's View of the Gaming World 61

Posted by Zonk
from the looking-pretty-good-out-those-windows dept.
Gamasutra has up a massive interview with some of the executives at Gamestop, the largest games-specific retailer here in the US. Speaking with folks like senior merchandising VP Bob McKenzie and marketing VP Tom DeNapoli, the site explores the retailer's unique position within the gaming world, their views on the three consoles, and even the possibility that they might someday stock AO titles. "Gamasutra: There was a point where Manhunt 2 was considered an AO game. Is an AO game something that you would consider selling if it came out? Is it something that you would consider carrying in your stores? Bob McKenzie: I think that it is an opportunity that we would have to look at on a case-by-case. In this situation, I'm glad that they went back, reworked it, and it will be M rated. I can't say that we would have supported it at AO, and I can't say that we won't. In the past, when there was an AO game such as Leisure Suit Larry from a couple of years ago, GameStop wouldn't support that game in our retail stores. However, that was before the merger with Electronics Boutique, and EB did take the title into their retail stores. So, again, it is a situation that we have to take on a case-by-case. But I have to say that we prefer that the AO games are not anything that we are out there in the market looking for."
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GameStop's View of the Gaming World

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  • by amrust (686727) <marcrust@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:07PM (#20703223) Homepage
    Nobody buys new games from GameStop, anyway.

    • by snsr (917423)

      I do, when I have games to trade in exchange.

      There are TWO GameStop stores closer to my home than any big box stores (WalMart and Target included). When instant gratification is the name of the game..

    • by Applekid (993327)

      Nobody buys new games from GameStop, anyway.
      Perhaps they will if it's the only brick-and-mortar store carrying the games you want to play.
      • Not to mention they're making a lot of exclusive deals on special pre-order bonuses. Like the Bioshock LE.
    • well, anybody with a brain. those that do shop there don't realize that used game sales are as big a threat to the video game industry as piracy. for example, when gamestop runs their annual "trade in this year's ncaa football game towards madden and get $30 credit instead of $25" and that traded in copy of ncaa sells for $5 less than the new copy, EA sees none of it. any wonder why gamestop is able to keep raking in cash during quarters when publishers and developers lose money?
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        Gee, maybe they wouldn't push used game sales so hard if they could make enough money on new games to stay in business.

        Besides, it's like the old piracy debate: If they couldn't get it free, they'd buy it! -- Yeah, sure they would. If they couldn't get it used, they'd pay full price? How are they supposed to get the extra money that the didn't get from selling games back and the extra cost for the full game? People that can afford new games buy new games. Those who can't buy used games.

        But let's look
        • Hardly months later. I can buy a used copy of BioShock right now. In a week, I could buy a used copy of Halo3 if I looked hard enough. I don't do this because a) I work in the industry and I like to think that some of my money would support the developer, and b) saving $4 on a $60 title doesn't feel like a big win to me.

          I'm not saying they shouldn't sell used games, I don't think brick-and-mortar stores can survive on new game sales alone. But used game sales do not help developers (which is one reason why

          • by Aladrin (926209)
            Then Bioshock should have bothered to make the game have some replay value. I beat it in less than 20 hours ($3/hour, for those that are counting!) and started a new game to play again. I think realized I had done -everything- I cared to do the first time. There was nothing left except playing Pokemon with audio clips and plasmids. (Collect them all!) 'Non-linear' my ass.

            Again, used games sales do help developers, but only indirectly. They keep the market alive and gamers interested. If I couldn't ge
            • I'm not sure how long I played Bioshock. I think its a sign of a good game if you don't feel the need to time it. It could of been 10, 20, 40 or so hours, but I enjoyed all of them. Yes, it was almost totally linear. But I'm okay with that. It was like a great movie or book. To me, it was well worth the time and money.

              If you wanted a game that lasted forever (or at least felt like it did) you should of bought one of the epic RPGs or an MMO. You could spend 100's of hours in EQ2 killing rats. If all you wan

              • by Aladrin (926209)
                Actually, I've done the MMO thing and I can't stand it any more. There's no substance.

                And I've done the 'epic RPG' thing, too. Even Oblivion. (Which I played around 120 hours... First game to last me that long in -years-.)

                I expected more from Bioshock. It doesn't matter that there are other games out there that last longer, when I pay $60 for a game, I expect to get more than 20 hours of fun out of it. At the very least, I expect a very memorable experience. Bioshock was fun, and mildly interesting,
      • well, anybody with a brain. those that do shop there don't realize that used game sales are as big a threat to the video game industry as piracy.

        I guess piracy must not have been much of a threat, then...unless I'm mistaken, I don't think that Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft are on the verge of folding due to buying used games. Saying that is just preposterous - not everybody can afford $50 for a game the day it comes out, and games only have limited shelf life. Let's say I want a copy of Mario Tennis for my
        • "..became one when my sister got a new copy of Elite Beat Agents and was crushed to find that everything had already been unlocked.."

          Most likely they sold her a returned (used) copy as new. 100% pure profit for the store.

          This probably wasn't a company policy but just a bored underpaid employee who didn't care to check. Either case, I hope you returned the title and demanded the new version you paid for.

          • Most likely they sold her a returned (used) copy as new. 100% pure profit for the store. This probably wasn't a company policy but just a bored underpaid employee who didn't care to check. Either case, I hope you returned the title and demanded the new version you paid for.

            Actually, what is company policy (and most likely what happened) is to open games so that they have "display boxes" that they can put out on the floor so that if someone swips the box they don't get the game. Of course, if someone swips the box, that means they have a "new" game to sell without a box. That also often leads to scratched discs, missing books, and other problems. Like the gp poster's problem. They probably let the employees or customers try the game, or even some stores actually have poli

            • We're all just guessing here, and that causes problems.

              I doubt GameStop, or any major game store, has any policy that allows employees to play games and then re-sell them as new. Not saying it doesn't happen, just that it isn't an official policy.

              • We're all just guessing here, and that causes problems. I doubt GameStop, or any major game store, has any policy that allows employees to play games and then re-sell them as new. Not saying it doesn't happen, just that it isn't an official policy.

                No, I used to work at Gamestop. I'm not guessing. The policies require one of every new game to be opened so an empty box can be put on the shelf. The opened games can then be used by customers to try the game, or some stores will, depending on the manager, allow the employees to borrow the game, at least that was the case a couple of years ago. I don't know if it was official policy to allow employees to borrow games, but the district managers and probably corporate knew about it and allowed it as lon

                • Thanks for the inside information.

                  Like you said, there probably isn't an "official policy" to play the open games but everybody does it. And since they have to sell it "as new", that's going to bite them in the ass.

                  The first "new" game I buy from GameStop that comes with everything unlocked will also be the last game I buy from them.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        well, anybody with a brain. those that do shop there don't realize that used game sales are as big a threat to the video game industry as piracy.

        Yeah. But do you know what really thrates an industry ? Ebay. It allows people to get old stuff cheap, instead of doing their consumerist duty and buying everything brand new.

        Yes, buying used stuff is equivalent to stealing from the manufacturer ! Please write to your Congressperson immediately so that we may end this horrible, unfiar practice. I shall write

  • Re: Censorship (Score:4, Insightful)

    by g_adams27 (581237) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:14PM (#20703397)

    > The refusal of all the major retailers to sell AO games amounts to nothing more than censorship.

    Do you understand what censorship is? Here are three examples:

    • When the US government tells you that you are not allowed to play a certain video game, that's censorship.
    • When a retailer decides not to stock a certain video game, that's censorship (of a kind).
    • When parents tell their child that they are not allowed to play a certain video game, that's censorship.

    Only one of those is illegal. Do you know which one it is?

    Frankly, I'm not sure what you'd propose as an alternative. Do you want the government to require that retailers who sell any video games must sell all video games out there, regardless of their rating, sexual content, violence level, or even based on whether it's any fun or not? And you think that's an improvement over the free market where a company decides on its own which products to sell? While you're at it, maybe you should get the government to force all video retailers to carry all NC-17 videos. And maybe they should also require all booksellers to sell all X-rated books and magazines that exist.

    > We should get rid of the "sex is bad" crowd

    Right! We need to censor those guys! Er... hang on...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ZerMongo (1129583)
      Yes, only one of the types of censorship you wrote about is illegal. However, just because it's not illegal doesn't mean it's right.

      > Frankly, I'm not sure what you'd propose as an alternative. Do you want the government to require that retailers who sell any video games must sell all video games out there, regardless of their rating, sexual content, violence level, or even based on whether it's any fun or not? And you think that's an improvement over the free market where a company decides on its own wh
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
        AO games don't sell well. That's a pretty solid fact. Retailers don't like to carry games that don't sell well, and especially don't like to carry games that don't sell well AND give them bad PR, which AO games do (even M rated is started to acquire bad publicity now, back when I was a kid an AO game was treated much as M rated is now, it's something that you sell knowing that people will complain that you do sell it).

        Now the interesting point here is that AO games sell bad because few retailers will carry
        • by Jthon (595383)
          Sure the local bookstore won't carry a flop but usually they are willing to order one for me from the publisher. All I need to do is ask. It might take awhile but I'll still be able to get a copy.

          I can't do this with video games from a place like Gamestop. If Gamestop won't stock it they aren't willing to contact the publisher and order a single copy. This leaves someone with the only option of trying to buy from the publisher directly. In some cases you might be able to buy something from their website, bu
        • by grumbel (592662)
          The basic problem here is that retailers base their decision on what to carry and what not on the ESRB rating, which however has *nothing* to do with how good or bad a game sells. Just for the record, GTA:SA is among the top ten best selling games in video game history and quite a few of those copies have a AO rating, due to the AO rating being given out a while after the game was already on the market. So "AO ratings don't sell" is quite simply bullshit, because the rating has nothing to do with how popula
        • . . . and there's usually a big drop in box office receipts between a PG-13 movie and an R movie. Why? Audience. If you have to ID people to get them in the door, then you're gonna have fewer people coming through the door. Cutting out anyone 18 is a huge part of the market to slice off. The same is true for games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Censorship is removing content from something in order to deny people access to it. Not stocking a book isn't censorship, removing parts of the book is censorship.

      Please learn what the word means, because claiming everything is censorship when it isn't is doing us more harm than good.
      • Precisely... Amazingly, you're the only one who has it right. Further, censorship is denying access to something to which there is no alternative to get it. (i.e. the Government pressuring the censoring comics in the 1950's.)

        A retailer is free to stock or not to stock games that the retailer feels is not their priority to stock. It's their store. If you want to stock it, start your own store...

        It's a shame you haven't been modded insightful yet, because of all the censorship related chatter... you're the
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Grim Beefer (946632)
      You are misunderstanding the issue of censorship.

      It's not that some business, government entity, or individual is withholding certain information, it's that a controlling entity is withholding said information. Censorship matters directly in proportion with how much of the population receives their information from said group. Considering that most major retailers refuse to carry AO titles, and that most consumers purchase their games from major retails, there is a direct correlation between their poli
  • They bought up all the FuncoLands and stopped selling practically all previous generation used games... which is all it was good for. THeir used games go for a mere pittance under what the new retail would cost... making it practically pointless.
    • by grahamd0 (1129971)
      Plus you can't buy new games there without pre-ordering them. They act like you *need* to pre-order and can't just go over the local Best Buy, which will happily sell you one of the dozens of unreserved copies they've got on the shelf.
      • by EtoilePB (1087031)
        Plus you can't buy new games there without pre-ordering them. They act like you *need* to pre-order and can't just go over the local Best Buy, which will happily sell you one of the dozens of unreserved copies they've got on the shelf.

        It's because of the way they work internally. Unreserved copies of a new game go to the stores that have had the most pre-orders. So no pre-orders = barely any off-the-shelf copies to sell. So you plug the pre-orders not only to get the game-reserving customers their cop
      • Brick and Mortar game stores are worse than auto repair shops in terms of general grossness of the motives the employees have to sell things to customers. Back around July I was getting ready to go on infant care leave. At that time the new Harry Potter (for the wife I swear), Overlord and The Darkness were released. I walked into the local GameStop and inquired about Overlord. The employee made a big fuss when told that I had not pre-ordered a copy. I then asked about the second and third title on m
    • by Schmapdi (840038)
      Yes, I love seeing a used game go for $45 at Gamestop instead of 50 new anyplace else. Then they offer you a nickel if you want to sell them anything back. It's pretty insulting. Plus a few months ago I went to my local gamestop to get Super Paper Mario the day it was released (I didn't feel like driving all the way to Best Buy) where they told me that the quoted day was the "ship date" and the release date was actually the next day. So I left and went across the parking lot to Walmart (a place I hate g
  • If you look at movies, there is a lot of variety when it comes to subject matter. You have your movies that go from the movies for the kids(G rated), to movies with some nudity, to violence of different levels of gore, and then to the seriously adult oriented movies with a LOT of sex. Note that there are very few movies rated X for violence when it comes to movies.

    In almost all movies, there is an ARTISTIC element to the material though. With the exception of your typical porn film, nudity and even vi
    • by grumbel (592662)
      ### So, looking at the game market, what game titles have been out there that have any level of nudity that can be considered an artistic addition to the story, rather than as a very poor way to try to sell more copies to the young male audience?

      Dreamfall and Fahrenheit come to mind, both of them have been censored. Fahrenheit actually managed to come out as originally planed in Europe and only get censored for the US market. Other examples would be GTA:SA and Singles.

      ### This is why the game market doesn't
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ultranova (717540)

      So, looking at the game market, what game titles have been out there that have any level of nudity that can be considered an artistic addition to the story, rather than as a very poor way to try to sell more copies to the young male audience?

      Ying Yan! X-Change Alternative [wikipedia.org], which, ironically, is a porn game. The sex scenes and sexual elements in it are absolutely vital to the plot.

      Of course a case may be made that it doesn't really count, being a choose-your-own-adventure rather than what's usually co

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