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GameStop Won't Sell Console Bundles With Digital Content

GameStop says that they are no longer carring Console's with bundled digital content. With digital content on the rise, what will the futer hold for GameStop?

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PeaSFor797d ago

really? theres a mario maker wiiu bundle with the digital version of the game..., so yeah they sell consoles with bundled digital content

Poli_Games797d ago

GameStop doesn't sell that bundle from what I am aware of. The bundle your talking about is a Walmart exclusive. http://www.polygon.com/2015...

Kalebninja797d ago

I got my xbone from gamestop with a digital code for the halo collection

Eonjay797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

I'm on GameStop's side with this one. And I commend the effort to preserve physical copies. This is ultimately a fight they will lose, but if they can slow it down, it allows them to expand their own business into other areas. To me its important because they employ thousands of people and I don't want to see another retailer belly up (see Radio Shack). So I always get physical when I can and I get new copies and I want to support all the folks working in the industry... including the one who work at that level.

Jmanzare796d ago

@eonjay
Did you support blockbuster until the very end as well?

Highlife796d ago

I never shop there they are a rip off. Does it suck for people working there sure but I'm not about to go out of my way to make sure I buy things from stores that may go under.

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jb227797d ago

I'm guessing they are talking about a future initiative and not necessarily happening full stop all down the line right now. That's a pretty big step for them though assuming its true, by the same token, I'd expect them to stop selling PSn & XBL cards & digital vouchers for dlc & season passes as well, because if you are going to try to screw consumers out of their free digital content, don't you dare have the gall to try to turn a profit on the same distribution method. It's all or nothing, they should just accept their future obsolescence and either figure out a way to roll with the times or shutter their stores entirely. Places like Kmart & Best Buy already have better rewards programs that knock significant costs off for returning customers, whereas Gamestop Rewards is a joke for everything other than maybe used purchases, but you'd have to buy a fair amount of games to even subset the cost of the card.

This already happened with the music industry, if a business doesn't have other revenue streams beyond physical copies of media, they simply can't survive in an all digital future, and thumbing their nose up and fighting against it will only end their businesses sooner.

Me-Time797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

Funcoland...

Why did EB Games/Gamestop have to take them over? It was the place to be for me as a young'n.

I would think you're right about them planning to do this as an initiative and not a hard-set plan already set in motion for years. They just further dissociate themselves from being a gamer's place of worship :D

rainslacker797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

Apparently they won't carry future consoles with digital codes for the bundled game. Likely from customer complaints...at least I assume since every bundle people were complaining about that all the bundles were for digital downloads of games. I understand the reason MS would do it of course, and I didn't mind so much when I brought mine from Amazon because it was the same price as the base Xbox + $50 amazon credit.

For gameStop though, they probably did get people complain, possibly returns, and of course, people aren't likely to trade in that game down the road. GameStop doesn't have much vested interest in seeing the digital future come to fruition.

This doesn't apply to other types of digital content, which are sold solely on their own.

GS actually turned down the Madden X1 bundle

http://www.fool.com/investi...

From reading this article, I wasn't aware that Sony had any PS4 bundles with the digital versions of the game, although I know at one point they offered an extra game with one of the bundles. But haven't been keeping track there.

Likely MS will allow GameStop to get a physical version, which is actually beneficial as it gives a leg up to GS for those that prefer physical copies, so it may have a cascading effect on other retailers. I could see a slightly cheaper digital bundle or ones with digital copies include other incentives for different retailers though...like free 3 months of Live or something.

This whole thing is going to become a mess keeping track for those looking to get a new console.

Of course it's also MS that gives a digital download for a freakin' collector's edition of a game, but of course you can open that valuable collector's edition, cut it's worth in half, and get the full game, but the collector's edition is gimped for the long haul as a collector's edition in my opinion. Quite a bit of fuss on some collector's forums about it.

Back on topic, I think GS should continue to carry them for those that don't care, but give the option to trade in that voucher for a retail release like they're doing with the Halo CE. Likely MS would have to subsidize this though like said CE as I don't see MS taking a loss for those that still prefer physical. They seem intent on dragging people kicking and screaming into the digital future no matter what. Even their awesome Rare Replay collection wasn't completely available on the disc.

@jb

Those cards cost them nothing. Retailers such as that are allotted the cards, and when activated, the retailer gets about $2-3 in profit. It takes up very little room for them. Same with digital games sold through traditional stores. For smaller re-sellers, they typically have to get pre-authorized cards as the means to activate them aren't available to smaller sellers. This is why smaller sellers don't just leave them out on the sales floor.

As far as their rewards program...I get more use out of it now that Amazon also charges tax. I can go to GameStop for a game on release day, and get back something after a while. But you are right, you do have to buy at least 3 used newish games(gives you an extra $5 off) to net back what you pay for the service. I think the actual $ off coupons amount to $5 per $300 spent.

nunley33797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

There Last of Us and the upcoming Uncharted collection PS4 bundles both include digital codes. Well going forward not doing this will be a good thing.

Chevalier796d ago

Must only be a U.S. thing. Currently our EB Games in Canada have Madden, Halo, Gears, Fifa, all with digital codes (EA bundles also have EA Access).

Whereas Sony consoles all have had physical copies recently. Batman, NHL 16 and Destiny bundles all have PHYSICAL disc based releases.

Nunley33 mentioned TLOU bundle which is discontinued and been replaced by the NHL bundle as the regular system bundle replacement going forward.

So currently at least here bundles are as follows:

PS4 bundles are 100% physical releases
Xbox One are 100% digital releases
Wii U are 100% digital releases

rainslacker796d ago

So I've found out. Since I had a PS4 since launch, I haven't really been watching the bundles from Sony. Same with WiiU, had no idea. I didn't even know about the X1 doing it until I went looking for one. Kind of annoying, but a digital game at the same price as the base system is a better buy. Given the choice, I'd pick a physical copy any day. I even opted out of getting Rare Replay due to about half the content needing to be downloaded.

Chevalier796d ago

I prefer physical releases. I got Madden 16 free when I got my Batman PS4 bundle and I don't play sports games. I ended up selling it to someone for $60 which was awesome. Whereas digital I wouldn't have been able to do that. Also I can trade or lend it to friends as well. So in the end both the person who bought my sealed copy and I both saved a bunch of money with my sale.

Something like Halo MCC for example I hear is 80 GB's to download? If true that would take up 1/2 my download data for the month. It would take a day or 2 to download as well.

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FITgamer797d ago

Doesn't almost all of the Xbox One bundles come with digital vouchers? So is Gamestop replacing the voucher with hard copies?

Poli_Games797d ago

That's what I'm wondering! I'm going to be visiting a few GameStops tomorrow to find out!

rainslacker797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

No, they want the hard copy to come with the system. The only place I know there is a swap available is with the Halo 5 Collector's Edition. The user can trade in their unused voucher for the physical game, but that is provided by MS. MS says it's so they can get the CE into the customers hands a week early, and they can pre-load it, but they can't actually play the game until release day. Kicker is, you have to open the CE to actually get the physical copy, which instantly devalues the collectors edition making it pointless to buy unless you just want those collectibles for your personal use...which many people do. But many of them also want the physical game, and people like that don't like it when GameStop handles their stuff. Been a lot of fun discussing it in a couple collector's forums I've been too...where MS is already not too well liked.

The concept of what constitutes a collectible to publishers nowadays is becoming laughable. Digital soundtracks and art books, digital games, CE where the only thing really added is DLC. None of these things are collectibles, they're just digital content that you don't own, and will one day become unavailable to you to use, sell, or trade.

Anyhow, if GS is going to replace the digital voucher in this manner, they would expect MS to pay for it like with the Halo CE. There is no way GS is going to lose money on a console sale when they have the muscle to force the manufacturer to simply provide a physical copy of the game.

It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out, because it will be a pretty good indicator how much these manufacturers still rely on physical copies sold. If they say tough to MS, then it's obvious that they don't care and GS will have to back down to remain competitive. If they concede so GS will sell their products, then we'll know that publishers still rely on physical sales too much to make all digital for everyone a plausible thing for the near future.

moldybread796d ago

it's in their best interest to keep physical gaming alive since most of their revenue is from used games.

what i don't like it the impact it has on digital pricing. it's well known the pc has much better deals for digital games as they don't rely on retailers to sell their products.

rainslacker796d ago

No doubt about that first part. Being someone who prefers physical I'm not terribly upset about that part, it just feels like it's going to get messy as things escalate. That could be years in the making though.

The second part though, the used game "problem", I actually side with them on. The markup for new games is pitifully low for a retailer to take on the risk...particularly a store front. GS and other retailers get better pricing since they can buy direct, but even still the consumer's complain about prices if they go up(see Canada), the publishers still need to make money despite growing budgets, and GS is stuck in the middle of the two.

Digital can solve the publishers problem, as the digital front actually offer a lower cut on the profits to them, as well as lower the need for the initial stock purchases. But it doesn't solve the middle mans problems...which the manufactuerers still have to rely on. It also doesn't solve all the customers problems.

The digital future is one of those things that people make a lot of assumptions on on how it will be when it finally does happen. Both sides do it, some assume the worst, some assume the best. To me though, I just feel like it's one of those things people should be careful what they wish for.

GS, and other retailers will have to adapt or die no matter what, but I'd prefer them not to die, and find a good balance that serves the needs of all parties involved.

KwietStorm797d ago

KwietStorm won't buy games from GameStop. So we're even.

Black0ut797d ago

Second that! We'd be better off if none of us did imo :D

McGruff797d ago

Their probably going to gut the bundles just like they try to sell you opened games as 'new'.

rainslacker797d ago (Edited 797d ago )

I'm not really sure where I stand on this.

For one, I'm glad that at least one company is making a fuss, because no one pays attention to the forums where potential customers complain about such things, or the reviews about such a thing on retailer sites. GS was also pretty much on the consumers side during the DRM fiasco, even though they likely stood to benefit from it as an authorized "trade center" without having to expend money on buying physical used game stock.

On the other hand, it's GameStop, and I have a feeling their doing this more to try and delay the digital future for their own gains, which somewhat negates the last hand, and kind of points to me that they don't care about a digital/physical future, so long as their profits can be maintained when that eventuality happens down the road.

Still yet on a third hand, I don't have a problem with the delay of the digital future, and I'm glad in this instance that at least GS is doing something that is in the consumers favor, regardless of their own interests.

Still yet on a fourth hand, it's not completely bad that there is a digital copy of the game in the bundle. It allows the customer to get a free game with the purchase of the console, and MS/publisher don't spend money on production cost for the media, which keeps prices low and profits higher. However, I do wonder how many sales MS might lose because of this practice. If people still prefer physical, they can be pretty adamant that the bundle does not actually have anything tangible for them, even though it's at "no additional charge" to the price of the actual console.

Still yet on my last hand...yes I have many...I also have a feeling that GS has had issues with customer complaints, and possibly returns as the "digital" part of the bundle isn't very pronounced. I make this assumption based on the numerous complaints in the reviews on the amazon site I read through when purchasing my own system. If this is the case, it would seem that GS would be better off simply directly informing the customer upon purchase even though it may mean a loss of sale.

Death796d ago

Why would Gamestop lose a console sale over the free game? It's not like digital only comes in Gamestop bundles. Gamestop is upset because they make their money on trades. Digital copies can't be traded in for $5 and resold for $55 like physical media. If I had to choose I would prefer a physical copy over a digital. If I had to choose I would take a digital copy over no game.

Chevalier796d ago

How bad are their trade credit at U.S. Gamestop? I work at EB games and where I'm at NHL 16 launched yesterday for $79.99, but, we're giving $35 trade for it.

rainslacker796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

If they don't have any bundles due to this policy, then someone is more likely to buy a bundle from another retailer which does have a bundle.

If there is no physical option available anywhere, what would someone be more likely to buy? A base system with no game, or the same system, at the same price, with a digital game which at least they can play?

That's what I was referring to, and what you said you would do. In this case, if the manufacturers don't bend to GS will, then GS will be at a disadvantage against other competitors who don't care.

I brought my X1 last week from Amazon, and I noticed a lot of griping over the digital game inclusions. I imagine GS is getting these complaints too.

@Chev

They're complained about a lot. Generally new releases get you about $30-35, and get resold for $49-55 depending on if you're a PUR member. Death's $5->$55 is an exaggeration, and most retail store fronts are about the same as GameStop with variances of a d$1-3 depending on the title. At least in general.

Edit @ Death

While it's reasonable to assume they're doing this to get that trade in down the road, and i see many people making comments like that, I find it hard to believe that they would make a policy such as this on that basis alone. It seems like a lot of work for the overall minimal profit they would make in the long run, and it just gives their vendor partners more aggravation and more incentive to do away with retail...as if they really needed more motivation for that.

Death796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

Gamestop is becoming less relevant with every new release since more and more people are choosing digital copies of games over their physical release. Gamestop needs to do something to keep their business model going. Standing up for customers over digital is a joke. Gamestop is standing up for Gamestop. If they wanted to be more pro-gamer/pro-customer they could be much more fair with their trade in offers. The example above where they are giving $35 for a new $80 game that they will turn around and resell for $75 is why they need to go. If they gave some of the money to the publisher/developer it might be somewhat understandable, but they don't. Gamestop has always been a greedy company that takes advantage of their customers.

Chevalier796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

Except publishers get a large amount of preorders based on our extra trade credit promotions. Not everyone can afford full price games or just won't play them again so they trade them. The publisher in turn gets a pre-order. It's a scenario where both benefit. Also some games come down in price during our frequent sales cheaper than digital on PSN or Live.

It's not like prices are guaranteed to come down either. Have you seen the ridiculous pricing EA Origin have? There a plenty of sales where you pay significantly less in store whereas Origin they stay full price.

Also all companies have to be greedy. They're doing what they need to survive. Or are you tell me companies like, MS, Nintendo, Sony etc. Are supposed to run like Charities? The mark up on clothing and food are significantly higher yet I don't see people getting nearly as angry, but, games everyone seems quite entitled. Games margin of profit on new is not a lot.

Also console gaming is doing quite well right now. Any proof digital games are taking over? I would love to see factual data proving what you're suggesting.

Death796d ago

Last I checked, pre-orders have very little value at the bank. It's the actual sale from the publisher to the retail outlet/distributor that is seen. Pre-orders are Gamestops way of measuring how many games they should order and have no impact on the publisher. If anything Gamestop's pre-order program is a way to generate trades so they can get more games to resell. By having an accurate number of games that are sold(pre-sold) they can keep from having overstock and concentrate on used sales and the much higher profit made cutting out the developer and publisher.

rainslacker795d ago

pre-orders help gauge the interest in a game, and that's how GS corporate, and most others, determine how many copies of a game to purchase upon it's release. If a game gets one pre-order at a store, that store may get two copies. If it get's ten, it'll get 20, if it get's 100, it'll get 150 copies, and so forth. So pre-orders most definitely do have an impact on publisher sales, because if no one pre-orders, then less are brought, and the possibility that people wanting the game come in and it not being available are much higher. This happens with the niche JRPG's a lot for me.

I agree that GS trade in prices are not "fair" market value compared to what one could get selling on their own. However, their trade in values are about on par with trade in values across the board with a margin on only a few dollars. People that use the service probably often feel ripped off, but the reality of it is is that the margin on if they can turn it around quickly is only a few dollars more per copy than if they had sold it new. In the meantime they are assuming a lot of risk in that the game won't sell, won't work, having to store stock, etc. People trade it in for the convenience, and because they typically want a new game. It's the same at car dealerships, and like a car dealership, no one is forcing the customer to trade in their products at a lower price.

GameStop isn't a charity. They aren't there to supply games for free or at wholesale to the public. People have choices, and the amount of hate people have over their trade prices I feel is unjustified. I have legitimate complaints about GS, such as selling open games as new, but again, the customer can choose if that's OK. They are pretty transparent in their policies, and you can choose to take them or leave them, but all this wishing for their death because of it is rather extreme. Bad customer service instances aside, they have done things over the last couple of years which actually are good for the customers, and while it serves their goals, at least we can know that for those of us who like physical games we have a strong ally in our concerns against publisher fleecing.

Death795d ago

If you look at the percentages, Gamestop almost has a monopoly on retail gaming. They aren't inline with trade credit, they are the ones that set trade credit. A company doesn't have to be a charity to offer fair trade value to customers. If even a small percentage of their used sales revenue went back to the developers they are cutting out of new sales it might be understandable. Gamestop makes 25% profit on new game sales. That isn't enough to sustain a profitable business. On the example given above they are making 53% profit which is why they push used sales over new. The problem I see with this model is the developers get 0% of the used sale. Gamestop's business model is based on cutting out the developers that create the games we enjoy. As a gamer I'm not ok with that.

Chevalier795d ago

Again why are the developers more deserving than other industries? Resold CD, DVD, bluray, cars, books none of them get new money for publishers once they're sold initially. I don't think there is any entertainmennt media that gets more money given to them when they're resold second hand. Why should videogame publishers get more money on reselling?!

Also your suggesting having more options for consumers is somehow bad?! Even I don't trade my games in and I work in the environment that pushes it. I got my free game and was dissatisfied with the money I would get so I just sold it privately for $60. Met the person received money, they checked the game and we both left smiling. It was surprisingly easy to do.

No one is putting a gun to anyones heads and making them trade. Some times it's just a hassle to do that individually and if your a busy person with family, trading everything at once is not a bad option. The amount of money you get and what you think is 'value' is different from person to person. We give people the value and they as adults make a choice to consciously decide if the 'value' is enough for them. It's not like we can force anyone to leave their trades and sometimes they decide they can sell privately to someone else and we just pack it all back up and thank them for their time and they're off to do their thing.

It's only one option, if you are unsatisfied with the 'value' then there's Ebay, Amazon 2ndary selling and a million alternatives. so I don't understand how being another option is a bad thing.

Death795d ago

There is quite a bit of information out there to answer your questions.

DVD's and Blu-rays are one of ways Theatrical releases make more money for their works. The first tier is the actual theatrical release. This is where the movies backer makes their money back and with a little luck a nice profit. The second tier is releasing their work on physical and digital media for sale. Then comes rentals followed by cable TV releases, Netflix and then broadcast TV with commercials. Used DVD sales do cut into the studios profits, but this is after they have made their money back several ways.

Games have 1 tier to make their money and it's a very short window in which to do it. When games release and are sold new, publishers get back the money they invested in a games development. The reason the window is so short is because of used sales and the fact new games are constantly being released. It's a very tough business without used sales and with used sales it makes it impossible for many development studios to make it for a long period of time. One of the reasons we haven't seen more innovation in actual releases is because of this. Instead we are seeing more happen on the indie scene since it is 100% digital distribution and not impacted by used sales.

Music is another category where artists aren't necessarily paid off the physical media. Most artists make the bulk of their income with concerts. They also receive royalties when their music is played on the radio or streamed over music services with paid subscribers or paid commercials. You may have noticed physical sales have dropped as digital sales that aren't tradable increased.

I'm not really sure how car sales were brought up and they don't really apply to the topic at hand. The manufacturer has a dealer network that sells the new cars directly to customers and also takes trades. The money for these trades is used to offset the high cost of new cars. The dealer services these used cars with parts bought from the manufacturer. If you could buy games directly from EA and trade them back to EA so EA could resell them and make more profit, bringing cars into the conversation might apply.

Getting back to media and entertainment, games are very unique in their business model. Used sales directly impact a developer and publisher like no other form of entertainment.

Chevalier795d ago

Still you suggested digital was taking over yet I have yet to see any factual data to suggest digital is 'taking over' as you suggested. Unfortunately your comments don't equal facts. Where is this data proving what your suggesting?!

It's a 2 way street though. The developers also want us to push preorders, we get contests to win prizes and they understand that our used games promotions offering extra credit is also important because we get a sale and they do as well. It's a trade off.

If publishers wanted to they could tie products to one user like PC with activation codes and kill used game sales all together. It would make things difficult for Game stop, but, they're a business and would still work with them.

Selling used games with their potentially long development cycles also keep customers interested longer in older franchises. Also not everyone likes buying used games and for those people our customers just wait for sales or official price drops.

The publishers also have sales on their products quite often so it's not like customers who want to save money have to buy used. We just had EA, 2K Games and just recently a sale on all Warner Brothers products.

So like I said options are good regardless of how much you want to argue it. Don't like then don't support it like the other group of people around here. But suggesting that Game stop isn't really needed is kind of idiotic. It's a beneficial to the publishers to have another retailer pushing their products. Multiple options for customers is never a bad thing for consumers.

Digital products don't really benefit consumers because you can't lend them, sell them and depending on how much data you have can use up a significant portion. Forza 6 for example is 46 GB and would take up 1/3 of my monthly data and would take a day to download.

Also back to selling games I have a nice RPG collection that has increased in value whereas digital some of the games are unavailable for download or have no resell value as a digital download. My friends and I also enjoy sharing games we're done too which again with digital isn't even an option.

To each his own I guess. I'm personally not enamored with the idea of digital only. If it's an indie or unavailable any other way I'll take what I can get, but otherwise I still much prefer the convenience offered by physical media. Like reselling my Madden 16 for money for example.

Death795d ago

You don't see digital taking over? If you check the chart tracking services such as NPD it's the same every month. Hardware sales are up and software sales are down. NPD only tracks physical media. If physical media sales are down, what do you think people are doing with their consoles? Some are buying digital on day one, others are relying on services such as EA Access, Games with Gold, PS+ and PSNow.

If Gamestop wasn't such a bane on the industry we wouldn't be commenting on Gamestop's refusal to carry consoles bundled with digital download codes that can't be traded in or sold used.

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