It’s no secret that there exists a rather large crowd of people who are waiting for the downfall of GameStop like it’ll be the second coming of Jesus. I’ve read dozens of articles, watched dozens of videos on YouTube, and listened to podcasts on the destruction of this company. My favorite YouTuber, The Rageaholic, has a video titled the “GameStop Rant” where he rallies against the company and even grants the world at large permission to literally steal his video off the internet just to get the word around.
Every argument of why this company needs to go away is valid. The money you get back for used games versus what they later charge customers, the insufficient points system, the sales that aren’t really sales, overbearing staff pushing certain products regardless of interest, paying $25 a year not for as much for a membership but for a subscription to a magazine I wouldn’t wipe my ass with because it’s just more shit… I understand the arguments and they are completely true and valid.
They are also meaningless, because just going by raw sales, GameStop is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
While overall industry software sales are in the decline due to lack of a viable middle market, this only applies to new software. Used software is a completely separate ballgame. If a game only sells ten thousand copies when it’s new, it’s more than possible for GameStop to make money by selling that game over ten thousand times. GameStop focuses their energy on used sales because that’s a much higher profit margin than new sales.
The gross profit of their first quarter did slightly shrink, but the other quarters are picking up the slack, and have consistently outperformed the previous years projections.
GameStop Is Not The Next Blockbuster
GameStop is not going the way of Blockbuster. Blockbuster was undercut by Netflix and Redbox offering the same service in a way that was better or more convenient. This begs the question; who is doing GameStop better than GameStop? I know this question has the potential to be regionally specific, but I’m asking who is hitting GameStop like Netflix hit Blockbuster.
Sure, some stores buy back games, but how many offer a reward points system? I will say the reward system isn’t generous enough, but that’s not the point. The point is the very existence of it. The fact you can earn points for buying something you could have gotten anywhere else and can trade those in later for physical items or coupons is a larger motivator for repeat business than you can imagine. I actually have a pretty sweet The Walking Dead wallet from them, but that’s beside the point here.
As for the staff badgering you to buy certain games, memberships, or used products, I’ve never really had this happen to me. I come in, I browse, they ask if I’m looking for anything in particular, they leave me alone after I say “I’m just browsing.” While I do understand why they push used sales, I’ve had the exact opposite happen, where the employee suggested I could get it new for only three more dollars, even though spending three less dollars is actually the bigger profit.
Digital Distribution Is Inefficient
Digital distribution very well could be what kills GameStop, but only if it could stop getting in its own way. This system is the most beautiful mess I’ve ever seen. The sheer volume of potential is incalculable, and it hurts my soul to watch how callously developers are pissing on the potential for quick profits on costume packs that would be free if they had any sense. For every developer who is using this system right, there are dozens who nickle and dime their customers over valueless content.
There is also the very fluid legality surrounding the entire digital movement. What is legal? What can they do? Can they take content back? Can they make you pay twice if your console needs to be replaced? Can they block access to content you’ve already paid for? There are some cases where you can’t even play the game without being connected to the Internet, even when co-op or multiplayer isn’t part of the game.
Also, not all customers have access to reliable internet. I know people who still have dial-up because of no alternatives in their region
The Ultimate Complete Legendary Edition
I was a regular customer when I was stationed in Hawaii because during that time I didn’t have Internet, so digital distribution wasn’t a very viable option for me. If I wanted to play DLC, I had to hope they released a Complete, Ultimate, Deluxe or whatever edition which included the content on disc. This worked great for Fallout, Resident Evil and the first two BioShocks, but I guess 2K got dumber and released Bioshock Infinite: Ultimate Songbird Edition which included a code for a season pass instead of on disc content. This could be 2K attempting to kneecap GameStop on used sales, but why at the expense of the customer?
This is how GameStop handled this for me. I spent forty dollars on the Ultimate Edition, took it home where I had no Internet, only to find out the very reason I purchased it was null and void. GameStop does not refund new games, but they cut me a deal for full reimbursement with in-store credit, and the points on top of it just for the inconvenience, because they entered it in the system as a transaction. No other retail store would have done that, so that has to be worth something.
No company is doing what GameStop does better, and no market is currently in any position to overthrow the current one. Sorry, but GameStop is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
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