hardcore gamers actually buy their games from other places like Amazon. Which actually gives deals unlike GameStop
Top executive at retailer says company's position with consumers is "very, very strong," the lifestyle of a gamer requires used games; believes next-gen consoles that block used games don't make economic sense.
When most U.S. gamers think of brick-and-mortar games stores, they think of GameStop. The Grapevine, Texas-based company operates more than 4,000 stores across the country; it owns the Game Informer magazine; and its used game business is unrivaled. Once a fully brick-and-mortar retailer, GameStop is now adopting and embracing a multi-faceted digital strategy, which has proven lucrative for the firm.
GameSpot recently got the chance to speak with GameStop CEO Paul Raines during a media tour of the company's refurbishment center in Texas. It was the first time the refurbishment center was opened to the press.
During our time with the Fortune 500 executive, Raines talked about how hardcore gamers "love" GameStop and that the lifestyle of gamers "requires" there be a second-hand market. He also said physical games are not going away any time soon, and will "evolve" to a point where the boxed copy is needed to play digital content.
Additionally, Raines spoke to how GameStop has found success with used games while its competitors have fallen by the wayside. He also said next-gen consoles that block used games don't make economic sense, GameStop is not interested in the rental business, and that the current economic troubles in Europe is a potential threat to GameStop's business.
Check out GameSpot's full interview with Raines below, and look for our photo feature of GameStop's refurbishment center later this week.
GameSpot: Why are you letting press in now?
Paul Raines: I think historically, GameStop invented this kind of business. If you look at our history, we get copied a lot by competitors; people who want to jump into the business and so forth. We’ve been real cautious about people seeing what we do, simply because we are trying to keep competitors from jumping into the business. But now what’s happened, is I think…we’ve had every major competitor attempt and fail at the preowned business, and many of them are exiting, so we kind of feel like we’ve built something that’s pretty defensible. At the same time, there’s a lot of myths out there about the used business, and we want to bring them in and let them see. And we’re pretty proud of it; it’s a very high-tech operation that is allowing us to pivot into electronics beyond just video games.
GS: Why has GameStop been able to crack the used game market where others have failed?
PR: Refurb is a huge part of it. I think…strategically, we are absolutely committed to video gaming. One of the things that people don’t talk enough about is that we are, at our core, a video game company. And I say this to our employees and to our colleagues all the time: don’t forget we are authentic about video games. I play about 4 hours of video games per week. We are all into it. Our founders are into it. What that means is that we are strategically committed to [games], so when I see that Take-Two wants to do a launch of a game with us, and it’s going to require an investment of X, Y, Z, this isn’t a situation where a buyer who runs the video game category in a huge conglomerate has to go fight with the appliance guy. I’m into it. I’m talking to the Take-Two CEO directly. This facility is a huge weapon for us. No. 2 is we’ve been at it a long time. We know how consumers think; how to get them to bring trades in. No. 3: PowerUp Rewards now is a massive, massive relationship driver with consumers. And [No. 4]: we understand pawn shop legislation and all the rules around the country and how to run it. [No. 5], the pricing. It’s extremely complicated and we manage it far better than anyone else. Most, if not all, of our competitors are outsourcing this operation to a third-party.
"I play about 4 hours of video games per week. We are all into it. Our founders are into it. What that means is that we are strategically committed to [games]."
GS: Why isn’t GameStop operating this refurbishment center in Mexico?
PR: It probably would be cheaper. Quality, we think is important. You’ll see on the tour, we spend a lot of money and time making sure quality is where it is. We think we have the highest quality rating in the industry, and we are also very committed to this community. So as long as we can do it, we will.
GS: What do you make of the rumors that next-gen consoles may block, or in some way curb, used games?
PR: Well, they’re rumors. I guess we’ve said we don’t think it makes business sense. The $1.2 billion trade credits are funding growth of the industry. If you look at our PowerUp Rewards community, just in the United States, not including Europe, Australia, and Canada, there’s 24 million consoles in people’s homes. That 24 million consoles at current trade prices is about $1.8 billion of trade credits that we can use to drive the launch of Wii U, PS4, and Xbox next. So our console makers know that and they don’t want to miss the opportunity to use that to drive the market. And it doesn’t make economic sense. It’s a consumer problem. There are a lot of people who love pre-owned games. But if it were to happen, it’s like anything else in the business. You react accordingly. The preowned business will not go away any time soon. Even if new consoles don’t play preowned games, people are going to be playing PS3 games, and we still have a ton of people playing PS2. That’s a huge part of our pre-owned business.
"The preowned business will not go away anytime soon…even if new consoles don’t play preowned games…"
GS: Have you seen that GameFly commercial that skewers GameStop’s trade-in prices? Do you think there’s any truth to the thought that your trade-in prices are not where they should be?
PR: Well, we do two things around that. One is we spend a lot of time talking to consumers about how they feel about our value. We have great feedback from consumers about our value. Second is that we look at our competitors and where they stand. Those are main two things driving it. On a title-by-title basis, you can always find examples. As far as GameFly, it’s a small business. They’re going to run ads. We looked hard at rental; we think pre-owned is a better customer proposition that rental.
GS: So rental is not something you’re interested in?
PR: We’ve done tests on it several times; we just don’t think it’s as good a value for the consumer as the pre-owned business is. And when we talk to consumers, most of them will tell you that. These guys run some interesting ads, and they spend money on ads, so it’s going to happen.
GS: A transition from boxed to digital is certainly happening. Is GameStop interested in the resale of digital goods?
"The world is going to evolve particularly with the new consoles…to the physical copy becoming the client, which you have to have to play the digital content."
PR: It’s very interesting. There’s some technologies out there in Europe, and we’ve looked at a couple that are involved. We’re interested; it’s not a meaningful business yet. I think that if you look at the digital business, we’re spending a lot of time with publishers right now developing downloadable content (DLC) launches with this. And I think what’s going to happen is the world is going to evolve particularly with the new consoles and as dense as new games are becoming and as rich as they are, the world is going to evolve to the physical copy becoming the client, which you have to have to play the digital content. So we think the real action, or consumer demand, is going to be attaching digital content to physical content. Do people want to re-sell that? Right now we’re not seeing that as a huge market, but I think we’re on the leading edge. There’s a few companies, a few start-ups, out there that we’ve talked to that are doing this.
GS: You’re not naming these…
PR: No, we wouldn’t want to disclose that and have our competitors rushing in.
GS: Another thing that strikes me as interesting is GameStop's perception among hardcore gamers. If you only read message boards and comments section of stories, you'd get the idea that they hate GameStop, and yet they react with disgust at the idea of used games being done away with. What's your reaction to this?
PR: Hardcore gamers love GameStop. We measure customer service a hundred different ways. Remember, we have the PowerUp Rewards community, with a membership around 18 million, and they represent 35-40 percent of all video game consumption in the United States. They’re not the most active bloggers, maybe (laughs), but our position with consumers is very, very strong. Far stronger than any of our competitors, so we feel really good about that. We’re always trying to do better and resolve issues, but I think the pre-owned business is a very important business to people. You try to take it away and you see what people do. Our customers tell us that every day. The lifestyle of the gamer requires pre-owned business, because I’m buying a lot of new titles, I have to have a place to dispose of them so I can go and buy more new titles. That’s absolutely what we’re trying to do.
"Hardcore gamers love GameStop."
GS: Sony recently bought Gaikai, leading some to believe cloud-gaming may be a big part of Sony’s future gaming plans. GameStop purchased Spawn Labs a year ago. What’s GameStop’s position on cloud gaming, and can you give an update about Spawn Labs?
PR: As far as Spawn Labs, we’ve not disclosed…we’re trying to wait until our earnings call to really update people. But the latest thing is we’re in a beta test that plays great. We’re in six data centers around the country. Several hundred GameStop managers have played the service; it runs great.
GS: What exactly is happening there?
PR: It’s a console. It’s a GameStop PowerUp Rewards library. And you pull it up and click on the game you want to play, and you can play the game. We sell you a controller for your Internet-enabled device--tablet, laptop, etc.--and the technology works very well. Where we’re at now is developing commercial agreements; who we’re going to launch with, et cetera. And then we’ll disclose more of that as it gets closer. Certainly streaming gaming has not…if you go back to E3 four years ago, cloud gaming was going to take over the world. It’s an interesting business. It’s an early, early business. We don’t see a ton of consumer demand yet there. But we’re trying to position ourselves for it. I think you get into console streaming, PC streaming, PC downloads and tablets, and all of these have different consumer adoption curves, but I can’t say that console streaming has seen a huge adoption yet. As far as the Sony deal, Sony has said the Gaikai technology will be used primarily as part of an online gaming service. So that will be interesting.
GS: Traditional packaged games have had a brutal 2012 so far. When does GameStop expect this trend to reverse course?
PR: Well, I think the fall and holiday is where we expect to see improvement. And the Wii U is a big part of that. As we think about the Wii U, we think that’s a very significant player in what could happen at holiday. Certainly, the first half of this year has been tough on the NPD data. I would also caution everyone that [those] six months represent a third of the year sales-wise. So the media has had a field day, and investors have really been spooked by the NPD data. But we still have most of the sales year ahead of us and there’s a lot of positive signs.
GS: [Electronic Arts CEO] John Riccitiello has said before he doesn’t have a ton of faith in the NPD data, as it only shows boxed games in the US. What’s GameStop’s take on NPD data?
PR: We’ve said before, NPD measures less than half of GameStop’s business. It doesn’t measure pre-owned, it doesn’t measure our digital business, and it doesn’t measure now our mobile business. Yeah, it’s a metric of new software, and it doesn’t measure really the majority of what we do. Having said that, it reflects the reality of where the industry is. But I don’t think it signifies the end of console gaming by any means. I think the point is it’s a metric, not the metric.
GS: Do you see a point in the future where traditional boxed games cease to exist? Is GameStop preparing for a future outside of used games?
"We do not see a point where boxed games cease to exist."
PR: We do not see a point where boxed games cease to exist. I think you will continue to see a variety of formats of games; games are getting bigger, not smaller. Consoles are going to provide unbelievable new capabilities for rendering, speeds, et cetera. That will require physical games. At the same time, the digital business is growing. The digital console is the fastest part of the digital business for us. So we’re preparing for that through the investments we’ve made in digital spaces. As far as used, we continue to believe there will be a preowned business for a very long time. We think the next consoles will support [used games] and we’re planning accordingly. We also believe there is room for a preowned electronics business.
GS: How has the extended current-generation console cycle impacted your business?
PR: If you look at our financials for the first quarter, the extension of the console cycle has driven us; it’s put pressure on the top line, it’s put pressure on hardware sales in the industry. At the same time, preowned business has become a bigger part of what we do. Digital has become a bigger part of what we do. And global is a new business that we’ve launched. You’re seeing margin expansions in the business, but top-line declines. And that’s kind of what happens at the end of the console cycle. If you go back and study console cycles, although this is the longest we’ve seen, this is what happens at the end of a console cycle. We think this new console cycle that’s emerging with the Wii U and hopefully next year we’ll see more [Microsoft and Sony], is going to be typical of what we’ve seen.
GS: How much investment is GameStop allocating for Wii U?
PR: We’re excited about Wii U. We think Wii U is going to be a very significant part of the holiday period. If you played the games at [the Electronic Entertainment Expo], it’s pretty cool. I went upstairs and played Pikmin for like an hour with the tablet and the controller, and it’s pretty cool. I mean, the rendering, the graphics are fantastic. So I think Wii U is exciting; we’re eager to get started on the launch and we’re doing a lot to plan for that.
GS: How much more complicated has it become to deal with publishers now that they have new ways to seemingly combat used games like online passes and DLC tickets?
"I think our relationship with publishers is better than it’s ever been."
PR: I think our relationship with publishers is better than it’s ever been. Online passes are an interesting thing. The media loves to talk about it; it’s an interesting thing. We’re selling online passes in the store, and I think some consumers want that. I think digital content is a far better way to sell consumers more of what they want. But it’s another wrinkle in the process. We’ve not seen a lot of impact from it. I think publishers today working with GameStop have a much broader set of tools at their disposal. Think about the PowerUp Rewards; our marketshare is at an all-time high. The reason is, PowerUp Rewards have given us new ways to connect with customers. Digital content is offering new ways to offer consumers a bigger experience. Instead of giving them a T-shirt, now you can give them digital content, levels, et cetera. And then lastly, we are far more integrated around the world than we have ever been. When we launch a title now, it’s more and more a global launch. And that helps. People like EA, our good partners at Activision, and some of the other companies, they need us to be more integrated globally with what we’re trying to do.
GS: Between retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses, one-time use pack-in codes, microtransactions, DLC, and the like, the user experience for any given game is splintered a dozen ways. What kind of feedback have you heard from consumers about this? Confusion? Frustration? Enthusiasm?
PR: I think that our customers feel like they’re getting more innovation from us than they’ve ever gotten. As far as other retailers copying what we do, we can’t change a lot of that. So what we’re trying to do is say, "buy from GameStop, we’re going to bring you the very best, innovative content that we possibly can, and along the way, we’re going to provide you the most benefits." Our consumers tell us they’re more excited than ever about that. Add to that our ability to sell what we think will be exciting mobile games, tablet games, we think we have the best position we’ve ever had.
GS: What is the biggest opportunity for GameStop moving forward?
"In this day, when people say console gaming is dead: It’s not dead. It’s a great business, and it’s a cyclical business. People have to understand that."
PR: I think the biggest opportunity we have is to continue to be very good at console gaming. It sounds counter-intuitive, in this day, when people say console gaming is dead: it’s not dead. It’s a great business, and it’s a cyclical business. People have to understand that. The business goes through console cycles, and we are at the end of one, and the launch of another. We will continue to be very good at console gaming. The biggest opportunity is to deepen our relationship with customers and to offer them the products they want. If you are a PC gamer, and you really love PC gaming, then we’ve got to do the best job to offer you the best experience on PC gaming. If you’re one of these people who likes to dabble in multiple electronics, we’ve got to offer you the best opportunity for a tablet. And digital content. We’ve got to keep growing our ability to drive digital content. So I think if I could characterize us as anything, we know more about what customers want than we ever have, and we’re trying to give them more of it.
GS: The biggest threat?
PR: I think the macroenvironment is tough: the economics around the world. I just got back from Europe, and there’s lots and lots of things going on there. So that’s a threat. I think the rest of it is all about our ability to continue to innovate. I like to say our rate of change has to be greater than the external rate of change. Our internal rate of change has to be greater than the external rate, and I think the biggest threat is if we slow down. We’ve got to continue to innovate and drive change as an organization.
gamestop on gamespot. so easy to type the wrong one by accident into a search bar if you're feeling dyslexic.
I am pretty indifferent about gamestop. I mean I don't sell games there...I sell them on ebay.
I have no problem with them. Local branches in my area have attempted to do the same business model and failed. So until someone else can do better, I say keep it up.
"PR: I think that our customers feel like they?re getting more innovation from us than they?ve ever gotten. As far as other retailers copying what we do, we can?t change a lot of that. So what we?re trying to do is say, "buy from GameStop, we?re going to bring you the very best, innovative content that we possibly can, and along the way, we?re going to provide you the most benefits." Our consumers tell us they?re more excited than ever about that. Add to that our ability to sell what we think will be exciting mobile games, tablet games, we think we have the best position we?ve ever had."
Man this guy is so full of it it's amazing. It's the complete opposite of that.
Also, I'd like to add that I'll be out of the contemporary gaming sphere if stream gaming is the only available way to play in the future.
What I don't get is GS's foray into DLC. I'm not sure why you would want to buy DLC from GS to get a code you have to enter in the marketplace; why use the middle man when it's simpler to skip him?
This guy talks like a used car sales man. I'm not the only one seeing this, am I?
All the emboldened quotes in there- that's on purpose right? You see how ridiculous that stuff sounds, right? I mean, is this guy for real? Console gaming is dieing? Who is saying that?
He may be right about boxed gaming not going away anytime soon, hard to say yet, but the way he explains is really odd.
"So it seems like hardcore gamers hate game stop, what do you think about that?" "Hardcore gamers love gamestop, I have all these numbers and sales figures that prove it you guys. I didn't answer your question but I made it seem like I did, right?"
I think the best part is that he wants to prove hes a gamer by adding he plays video games you guys. 4 hours a week, you guys. It was unnecessary for him to give an amount of time, and I completely secede that being a CEO is a job that doesn't afford a lot of spare time so he probably does that 4 hours as work more then probably entertainment, but the way he says it comes off more like a plea to believe hes a gamer.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't have a problem per say with used game sales, ya I can see how it maybe hurts developers but it's easily transferable data (minus the console exclusives, really) and on Steam they have proven ability to make money on older games- so anyway my problem is more how he doesnt answer questions but talks like a used car sales man putting spin more then actually engaging a conversation.
Businessmen, heh. I personally find them more annoying then lawyers to be quite honest.
The biggest thing you people are missing, and what I haven't seen mentioned here, is buying and selling used games is a service that no one is obligated to provide. Don't like the 5 bucks you're getting for a game that sold 1 million copies of a year ago? Tough shyte, don't sell it then; put that copy of Madden 20-doesn't fucking matter, or COD X back on your shelf. And I'm pretty sure Amazon gives the same amount or less to devs on their used game and sale prices.
He sounds fairly switched on but to be honest they have the "specialist gaming" market pretty much sewn up anyway so......
hardcore gamers don't love gamestop, sometimes they have no choice. Used games is a popular avenue for gamers on a budget because of high costs for gaming, and gamestop is the most convenient place to get used games for a lot of us. i haven't seen many used games retail stores
Used games being blocked does not makes sense i will agree with him on that. allthough i can see things evoling to a combination of digial download and steaming like on live in fact i could maybe see what happens on zune happening all over where when you buy a movie you can download it or stream it they could make it so you can stream or download the games you buy. this will be a situalation where these stores will mainly be selling redeem codes.
I work at a Wisconsin Video Game store called Gaming Generations. In fact, I'm working right now. We blow GameStop out of the water in all aspects of everything. Plus, we play more than 4 hours of games a week?
I'm a "hardcore" gamer and I'll only shop at Gamestop as a last resort. There new game prices can never compete with amazon.com and there pre-order bonuses usually laughably bad.
I just think about the last time I was in Gamestop I asked them if they had a new copy of Shadow of the Colossus/Ico collection. They told me I should buy the used copy which was only $1 less. I told them I'd rather have a new copy. Then they asked me why and I told them I'd rather support the Devs (compared saving the whole one dollar). Then they told me if I want to buy the game new why didn't I just download. At that point I start thinking "WOW, these people really don't want me to buy their game." Finally I had to tell them I had a gift card before they pulled out a copy of the game for me.
If I want to buy an old used game or if I want to sell an old game I've done with I think of... Ebay.
I think a lot of people here are hating GameStop far too much. I dont buy games anywhere else BUT GameStop, I just find them convenient. Ordering online isn't convenient to me, not at all. Sure, in some cases going online could be the better option. Such as if you're searching for some rare title, maybe.
But generally, I see no reason to hate on GameStop. Do most of you guys even aware of the deals they have very often that gives you extra trade in credit? I hardly buy used from them, so I cant comment on that. But when it comes to trade in's they are not as bad as everyone is making them out to be.
Many here keep bringing up Amazon. Do you know WHY you get more money on Amazon for your used games? Not only do you have the ability to choose your price, but the chances are very likely someone will but your game. With GameStop, they gauge how much they give you with how likely it is that someone will buy that game you just sold to them. If they have tons of a specific game, you'll get lower trade in value from it. If they hardly have it in, you get higher trade in value.
They aren't going to take your dusty ass game that came out a year ago and give you $20 for it. That is highly ignorant. That dusty ass game could sit on the shelf for months without anyone buying it. So they just gave you money for free to throw your garbage away.
So, before you idiots start moaning and groaning, atleast recognize how the business works.
And before anyone asks, no I am not paid by GameStop, nor have I ever worked there. I have been going there for years and consider myself very knowledgeable about the store.
@JudgementEden I'm soooo with you, It seems like the people here that's complaining are broke ass fools looking to make money off their used games to pay their rent. I like Gamestop, I sell my games cuz I have too much and will never play again, and it seem wrong throwing them in the trash. REAL gamers don't sell their games for cash, they do it for store credit to get MORE GAMES, in which it's worth more. I sold UMvC3 to them and got $12 in store credit. What they also look for in value is if the CD is clean, if it has the book, and if the case is in good condition. So what if they brought your game for $5 and sell it for $50, they're a business to make money. When you sell your game to someone, you passed ownership of the game to that person, and they can do whatever they want with it, which includes controlling the price of how much they sell it for.
Good to know that a year-old game is considered dusty. I get your point about the trade-in value. Though you can't use the excuse that the game is old when you're selling the game at the price of a newer title. Left 4 Dead 2 which came out in 2009 is being sold at $45.
I mostly go to Target though because they sell new copies of games for less than Gamestop's pre-owned copies. Only reasons I have for holding on to my membership are Game Informer and the "Buy 2 Get 1 Free Pre-Owned" deals.
@JudgementEden that's straight up BS i went to GameStop with 11 ps3 games maybe 2 of them was a year old.. do you know what they offered me for all 11 games? HAHA.. they was only going 2 give me 28$..
So ur idiot a** needs to stop sucking GameSpot dic*
@ImBack558855 @JudgementEden Aww poor you, I guess they weren't gonna give you enough to pay your bills, 11 games for $28?! They must have been in SH*T CONDITION! I sold only 5 xbox games and got $26 (the $ goes in the front, jacka$$) in store credit. Who cares if they were only giving you $28, That's their offer, you don't have to take it, They tell you straight up, there's no deceptions, if you don't like it........SUC A DIC*
@ImBack558855 Lol, maybe you're right. Maybe it's necessary for GameStop to receive criticism. They sure aren't going to get better with people like me.
@JudgementEden let me fix that stop sucking GameStops dic*
@JudgementEden Another rout is to check with Best Buy's used game offers. They usually offer more than Gamestop for used games and don't resale them for as much of a premium price.
even leaving aside their ridiculous prices on used games, who doesn't know these days how awful gamestop's prices are for trade-ins? for years I always went in to gamestop to see what I could get for trade-ins, went home and put them on amazon instead and almost always sold them within a few days, always for drastically more than gamestop would have given me. a few dollars or so would be understandable since at a store you'd get the money right away, but the price differences were at least $10-$20 on average.
it's a business model that gamestop will never beat if they keep insisting on ripping people off. when you sell games on amazon they take their small commission which means that you sell the game for more than gamestop would have given you, and the person buying it pays less that gamestop would have sold it for. when gamestop offers you $35 for a game you took the wrapping off of yesterday and then puts it back on their shelf used for $55 that's just insane.
I'm a 'hardcore' gamer, and I buy all my games on steam or at Target. if I really want an old game that I didn't hang on to, I buy it online. Can't remember the last time I went to a Gamestop.
I'm not hardcore anymore. I just don't have the time to be. I don't hate Gamestop as I still do pre-order some games from them. What I don't like is their used game buy back program. It's a ripoff and they know it. I almost never buy used games from them anymore. I'll get my used games from EBay. A lot of gamers just don't care for Gamestop anymore. More gamers go to Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Fry's Electronics to get their games.
Lol. I knew that saying hardcore gamers love Gamestop would set people off.
And it should, because it's a goddamn lie. I stopped shopping regularly at Gamestop years ago and have no intention on going back unless I REALLY want a game and that's rare or I'll just go to Best Buy or something..
The moment physical media disappears is the moment I"ll stop purchasing it. I like collecting things. If you take that away from me then I'll just borrow your software online
I'm not sure if I'd qualify as "hardcore" but I buy and play a lot of F'n videogames and I hate your f'n stores. Whenever possible I try to shop somewhere else. And when it comes to used games being necessary for the gaming "lifestyle", kiss my a**. In my life I bought 1 or 2 used games and that number sure as hell ain't gonna increase, especially with how over-priced they are. Last game I but at your store actually cost LESS new, and it wasn't even on sale. Sure that ain't exactly the norm but when a used game costs about 80% as much as the new one and u buy it for chump change I get the urge to kick u in the nuts.
There was some interesting stuff here but this guy is lying through his teeth. Consumers are excited about the "innovation" of your exclusive pre-order DLC nonsense? Give me a fricking break.
Hardcore gamers may buy from your stores because there are not as many options for certain titles, but make no mistake - they DO hate Gamestop. They hate your preorder scams, they hate your employees endlessly pitching for reward programs and used game trade ins, and they hate that stupid mom holding up the line because she's wondering what a good game would be to buy for her kids while trading in 17 other games.
Boxed games being a necessity to playing a digital copy of a game? Dude's delusional if he thinks that with the whole anti-used game attitude that publishers are taking these days that they'll go out of their way JUST to keep GameStop in business... which is what it would take for his optimism to be fulfilled. Though I don't see console manufacturers making any serious attempt at blocking used games (because it would be a bad business decision on their part), but I DO see the industry going to an all-digital model. Xbox Live, PSN, and Steam are pretty much proof that the first steps towards that direction have already been taken. These days, the only reason to buy a game at GameStop is to get the games you want on release day, or to get older games that the used price has gone down less than you can buy it for via XBL or PSN... especially to those of us who have to spend the gas money to drive half an hour to go to the nearest location to only get a used game for five whole bucks off. Not that I'm hating on GameStop or anything, but their time is waning.
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