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Are Exclusive Games GameStop's Secret Weapon?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the fully-operational-battle-station dept.

Businesses 102

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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Meh (5, Insightful)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153686)

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.

Re:Meh (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153834)

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:Meh (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153866)

Plan B is buy from people who do not subscribe to this model.

Re:Meh (2, Insightful)

SethraLavode (910814) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154434)

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 publisher and distributers.

Re:Meh (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156872)

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 still don't know whether you're supposed to take the game from the shelf to the counter or just tell the clerk what you want). It's pretty rare that Gamestop has something I want that I can't get elsewhere.

Of course, if you're looking for Izuna I'd recommend you buy a porn mag and pin that next to your screen while playing Nethack instead...

Re:Meh (1)

chrpai (806494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154556)

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.

Re:Meh (1)

jedi_chemist (995286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157426)

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?

Wow, sure am glad I use gamefly. (-1, Offtopic)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153694)

Hey look, I get to play those quirky games without

a) paying for a quirky game with short playing time.

b) having to deal with stupid exclusivity contracts.

-GiH

not gonna happen (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153700)

If I made a game and finally got it all done and it was really good and I wanted to sell as many copies as possible, the last thing I'd do is limit it to a very underpopular retailer! You might as well just put your development money in a big pile and light it on fire. So if this system continues, then logically Gamestop will be known for carrying really bad games that Walmart wouldn't take or games made by very very very stupid developers that think it's a good idea to give Gamestop exclusivity. That of course, will kill Gamestop so it's a pretty stupid decision.

Re:not gonna happen (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18161196)

What if Gamestop paid you x number of dollars to make it exclusive to thier stores for x period of time? You'd be garruanteed the cash that you'd otherwise make through the other retailers and you don't have to deal with as many retailers. Sounds like a win/win to me. Also what if Gamestop decided they didn't want to carry your game?

Support your local game store! (1)

debus (751449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153708)

I have a gamestop in my town. I try to support them whenever I can. I have a PSP and buy used titles there regularly. I can't believe that they have the buying/selling power to get exclusives on any big titles. Do you think this is coming from smaller titles/publishers to get support from a national vendor?

Re:Support your local game store! (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153774)

Generally, national chains are not what is being referred to with the "support your local X" statement. If I had an independently run game store in my area, I'd use it. But since I don't, I have to support Walmart, CC, BB, or Gamestop/EB.

Re:Support your local game store! (1)

debus (751449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153820)

I agree, but if gamestops are franchises - you are still supporting a local business. Having a game store in my town is worth something to me - even if it is a national chain. And the biggest reason it is worth something to me is used games. I will gladly wait to play a game to get it at 50% or more off the original price.

Re:Support your local game store! (1)

Soygen (911358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154236)

I could be mistaken, but I don't think Gamestop are franchises.

Re:Support your local game store! (1)

smithbp (1002301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156596)

This model applies if you are willing to wait a year or more to play the games. Generally, until then, "used" games are $5 less than their new instance. It makes me want to throw up when I walk into the two EB / GS stores in the local mall and see the way they organize the racks and price the used games. It wouldn't be an issue if they actually gave decent value for the games they are buying back, but they don't. Yes, I understand the stores need to make a profit and that a majority of that profit comes from resale of used games, but there is a better way to make a profit than to overcharge for the used titles. Do a volume business, like WalMart, with a lower profit margin on each game and push to sell more. This would bring people in that would otherwise avoid the store due to the pricing issues.

Re:Support your local game store! (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157594)

Following Walmart might be difficult for EB/GS, I'm pretty sure they still pay minimum wage...

Re:Support your local game store! (2, Interesting)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154074)

Honestly, whenever I hear someone say "Support local business X that is competing against big chain Y" I invariably go out of my way not support it. Charity is for welfare cases. There are lots of local businesses that I support, primarily ones that provide a) better service, b) better price.

No! (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153880)

Personally, I refuse to 'support' any store ... If a company wants my money they have to offer me something that has value to me.

Now, this doesn't mean I refuse to shop at smaller stores but the smaller shops I use tend to have better customer service, wider selection, or are more convienient; I'm not going to go out of my way to pay more for Sponge-bob (a gift for my Niece) to have to deal with an over-weight college drop out (who smells like a dead moose) with an attitude.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18154396)

How about the value added of your money staying in the local economy? All else being the same, shop local!

Re:No! (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154540)

Local Economy?

There is no such thing ...

Regardless of where you shop the company will spend a similar ammount of money locally paying for rent, utilities, and labour and the rest of the money will go to paying for the goods you sell and investments; the local shop owner is as likely to invest in foreign (or multi-national) companies as they are to invest in local companies. Money is always flows from one place to another and never (actually) pools anywhere.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18154744)

I think the poster you're replying too was talking about the $3.00/hr after tax that get's put into the local gamestore employee's pocket, 50% of which goes to his landlord living in another state, when he said "local economy".

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18155720)

Everything you've stated is generally true for places like the Sprint Store that may move into a small part of a 200 year old building on main street. It is not true for Wal-Mart.

Wal Mart buys the land to built their giant store and then pay property taxes. All that money goes straight to one wealthy land-owner, and to the city/county. None of that money ends up in the hands of small business owners or midlevel renters. The landowner that sold the land to WM (assuming it wasn't city land, in which case that money is all but removed from the local economy) will probably use that money to buy other land. That wealth may eventually trickle down - assuming a charitable, crony-free local government and a local landowner, as opposed to a national realty company. Wal-Mart pays for electricity, phone, and water - all of which are managed by huge companies or by the city. They pay their employees as little as possible without breaking the law.

Compare that to a local business owner renting space from a local property owner, selling to locals, hiring people he knows and paying them fairly or even generously for their work. Obviously, that person is putting more prosperity into the place he lives than Wal Mart is.

I've lived in two cities in my life. The city where I was born is a huge business center that has run almost all of it's local businesses out - the only "local" businesses are huge corporations that have moved their headquarters to cheap office parks along the outskirts of town. Where I live now is a smaller town that has plenty of chain restaurants and big box stores, but also has a wealth of beloved local businesses that sell only here. The people here fight for small businesses and support them. Guess which city has a lower cost of living.

::shrug:; (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153716)

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 (2, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154386)

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?

Re:Agreed (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18159840)

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?

Re:Agreed (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160356)

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 saying that monopolies are very very bad for American culture and cultural diversity, which is why I support having more players in the market, which was my original point.

Nothing new? (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153742)

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 (2, Insightful)

Cannelbrae (157237) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Resales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18154024)

I'm curious why people buy used games at EB/Gamestop. If you can afford $44.95, why can't you afford $49.95 and not risk disk scratches and booger and fecal crumbs spilling out of the instructions?

Re:Resales (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18163856)

Right on... Unless it's one of those gems that I missed out on and is only available used (mmmm... Disgaea), I'll always pay the extra 5 bucks for new. The only thing that pisses me off more than buying and paying for a "new" game yet having to take the display box off the wall and already opened game, is realizing that the game I'm buying used is going at something like 300% profit.

Re:Resales (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154080)

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 with. It's just business. The practice will succeed/fail on its own merits.

Re:Resales (1)

Cannelbrae (157237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154252)

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 decreasing game variety. The game industry isn't heading for a crash, but a re-adjustment looks likely. Game creation is simply too expensive for publishers to ignore missed sales.

In the end, its a short term win for GameStop but the long term impact could be messy.

Re:Resales (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157660)

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 skyrocketed, the gameplay time has dropped considerably, 12-20 hour games being fairly standard. The quality difference between old games and new games is part of why it costs so much more. A lot more work goes into fabricating these experiences, high-detail textures, audio, mo-cap, programming, what-have-you. But is the total enjoyment scaling appropriately? I would say that it isn't. The high-end high-cost content burns brightly, but fades quickly since it's hard to produce a large amount of gameplay at those levels of costs. Also, the pretty and new graphics cease to impress once the gamers have played half-way through and have grown accustomed to that level of graphics. Graphics are only good if they're new for most gamers because they're making their judgement via comparison to what's new. Quake 1 had amazing graphics, but all these years later, it's the same game, but it would be considered terrible graphics.

To sum it up, the high-end development is eating huge budgets, and producing even less substance. Lots of dressing and little meat.

Nintendo understood this, at least partially, in that their Wii console's goal was not to compete graphically with the Xbox360 and PS3. They're generating value via gameplay. Lower development costs, giving more profits, and gamers are still enjoying the games despite the lesser graphical capability.

However, Nintendo only got this partly right. Technology has advanced gaming for a long time and will continue to do so. Strong hardware specs when used to create advanced gameplay is a real benefit to the gamer. Games like Dead Rising and Crackdown would not be possible on weak hardware incapable of streaming large masses of zombies, or a massive seamless traversed in large leaps and bounds. This is a worthwhile investment of development and technology, since it directly impacts core gameplay and is not just eyecandy.

Hopefully, through an evolutionary process of survival of the fittest, those who figure out how to get the most value for the least money will come out the best in this process. Unfortunately, not all businesses will survive.

Re:Resales (1)

sirstar (789206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155364)

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:Resales (2, Informative)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156050)

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 the box and put the disc in a drawer and put the empty box on the shelf. Then, when they've sold all the sealed copies, they have to sell the unsealed copy. It's still technically "new", since it hasn't been bought, but it's just as crappy (if not more, since Gamestop doesn't warranty "new" games). Even when the box would get stolen and no matter how scratched the disc got, we'd still have to sell it as new. Yeah, it's pretty crappy.

Re:Resales (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156144)

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 to them. The policy appears to be the same for Gamestop, from people I know that still work for the company.

Re:Resales (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158004)

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 anymore because I was fed up with this. I buy them online, because I've never done that and gotten anything other than a game in packaging sealed by the manufacturer.

Re:Resales (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158138)

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 with a free magazine subscription (and usually people that bought it saved more than $10 on the purchase at the time, so it ended up being free, really) but after awhile it became a game of the month type thing. And the game tended to be crap. From what I've seen, it's gotten a lot worse since Gamestop entered the picture.

I still prefer brick and mortar stores, but we luckily have two locally owned ones (one being a single location, the other having multiple now) that have the same or better prices, better selections, and a more helpful staff (many of them ex-EB employees from my time with the company.) Luckily for me, it was just a job to pay the bills and not my career.

Re:Resales (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157114)

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.

Re:Resales (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157166)

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. They all run fine, and their prices were the best I could find. Of course, if you buy 3rd party on amazon, 75%+ of your money is going to the guy selling his used game, whereas gamestop is probably giving less than 25% of your money to the guy who sold them the game. So as a seller, I'd recommend selling on amazon.

Re:Resales (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18163672)

what about craigslist? - 100% goes to the person selling.

Of course I live in Austin with a very active craigslist.

Re:Resales (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18163884)

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 gamers (which was all of them) in the store and replaced them with the standard G4-style semi-hot-chick and sleazy marketroid types. I was on a first-name basis with the old crew, so it was good natured. :)

GameStop's Secret Weapon... (0, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153794)

They're like WMDs that everyone makes a big fuss about but can't find. Until I saw this /. article, I had no idea that GameStop had any secret weapons. I thought they sell video games.

As an ex-retailer, this isn't as bad as it sounds. (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153822)

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? (4, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153844)

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:Niche marketing? (2, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154272)

* 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 offhand but I know there have been some.

The fundamental issue is that new games don't make retailers money. The distributors sell them to retailers for only a few dollars below retail price, and the retailer is stuck trying to make money off game placement, used games, service contracts, magazine subscriptions, or hint books. (Ever wondered why they push those so hard? It's because they make six times the profit on a single item sale.) It's a horrible problem with game retail right now and really desperately needs to be addressed.

Re:Niche marketing? (2, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157624)

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 preorder?" look.

Re:Niche marketing? (1)

Hobbitgh0d42 (863818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166616)

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.

Poor choice of games? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18162630)

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 comparison to the mass market.

Re:Niche marketing? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154934)

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, we are adults now and a lot of us prefer mature content. I think Gamestop can be a place where publishers can freely distribute mature content without having to worry about whether the big boxes will stock it or not.

Another area that Gamestop can excel in is sponsored events such as tournaments, lan parties, and big release parties (don't know if they do any of these now, I just haven't heard of them doing it). This creates a community of loyal customers, and gets bodies into the store. This has worked for years in hobby shops where people are encouraged to game in the store.

Having more of a PC-game focus would also help Gamestop, in my opinion. I always prefer to buy my games there, but I am primarily a PC gamer. If it isn't a brand new release, chances are that gamestop won't have it. I always prefer to purchase at a small shop than at the big boxes, but I really don't have a choice if the selection isn't there.

Re:Niche marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18155784)

Aside from "Try-before-you-buy, with a bunch of really cool peripherals set up (to encourage sales of these, too)", which is more like an arcade than a shop, all of your points are better served by having an online store instead of a physical retailer. Even the customer support from gamer employees - have
(moderated) forums and a chat channel, link to the online reviews, maybe even VOIP.

Re:Niche marketing? (2, Interesting)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155854)

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, you don't get to test it before you buy it. And if it's used, you'd better pray it's in good shape, especially since you don't see the condition of the disc unless you specifically ask to beforehand (and even then, I've been brushed off).

Really, doing things like this that would help to make customers happier...I don't see how this could be a bad thing, but I also don't run a business. I guess I'm just too dumb to understand.

Re:Niche marketing? (1)

theorangesven (1017458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160764)

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.

Re:Niche marketing? (1)

PKFC (580410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18164120)

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... A stack of at least 20-30 resumes were in there and the District Manager snatched them all up for the new store opening up in a week.

What EB needs to do, is treat their employees better, pay them more and actually have an interest in keeping them. I'd like to think I know enough about games. I like customers who come in and tax my knowledge. They are great to talk to and keep me energized about the job. If I could be rewarded for being such a nerd, perfect. But instead, it's just a case of dealing with the crap customers and the average joe. Of course, perhaps EB isn't best known for games with their $10 higher than others and holier than thou attitude... Alot of things to fix, but right now, it makes them money and that makes it not matter.

I do want to make my store seem like a good place to buy games from, but our hours for the store were cut and so it's spread thin enough as it is... I won't be there much longer anyways and it will be a good thing too as I've been stretched to the limit of wanting so desperately to like my job, but have it suck.

Everyone wants exclusives. (4, Interesting)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Everyone wants exclusives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18154988)

That brings up an interesting angle to this whole idea. How eager will game developers be to have their brand tied to the EBGames name? It seems like it would dilute the company's brand identity severely, since, like you said, people expect to buy exclusives from the manufacturer - people would start thinking of those exclusives as derived from EBGames instead of from the game studio. I doubt that any big name developers would want people thinking that way about their product.

I've noticed that in most brick-and-mortar stores that sell exclusive and non-exclusive items, the exclusives are usually cheaper and are perceived as poorer quality goods - grocery store brand food, for example. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that big manufacturers don't want their name intertwined with the vendors. Either way, most audiences are going to shy away from high-priced exclusives, since we tend to think of them as cheap alternatives to brand name items. At least, thats my thinking anyway.

High-Quality exclusives also exist (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155388)

First, many cheap foods are actually rebranded goods from a third company- Every cream cheese (except Philidelphia) that I've bought for years had an identical generic wrapper underneath the outer packaging, regardless of what store brand was on the outside.

Second, many exclusives are higher quality- the Martha Stewart goods in Kmart being a prime example. They are not branded with the store name, however, because people interpret that as being the cheap option. (I.E. if Schnucks wanted to market exclusive high-end cream cheese, they wouldn't call it Schnucks Cream Cheese- they'd call it "Prarie Fresh" Cream cheese or some such).

Re:High-Quality exclusives also exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156756)

I understand that; I worked in a technology store where we sold "our brand" next to the same thing in the manufacturers packaging. I was only pointing out that exclusives are often percieved as a low-quality option. I think the game market is different from the computer parts market or the groceries market because games are a luxury item, and also an occasional purchase, therefore people don't just buy the cheapest thing they can find. The games market is a little less flexible; copyright law guarantees that there are no equivalent products. People shopping for games are far more picky than people shopping for cream cheese or sound cards.

The Martha Stewart line at K-Mart is a good example of an exclusive that works, but I think it works because the Martha Stewart name is non-exclusive in other areas. Martha's magazines and TV shows create a draw for the merchandise. If EBGames started carrying exclusives that were also tied in to something else - for example, if all Disney games were sold only there - that could work to their advantage. Otherwise, I think customers will expect the exclusive games to be priced lower because they are exclusive to the store. EB can price their exclusives higher, and try to run for the ultra-luxury market, but they will make fewer sales that way just because the product is more expensive. EBGames is better off cutting a deal to sell a special Collectors Edition with a free nifty doodad, or buying the right to release the game a day early, than buying actual game exclusivity.

Re:High-Quality exclusives also exist (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157128)

It depends on how it's marketed.

My wife got me a set of Lord of the Rings dvds for Valentine's Day. In it was a coupon that gave me $20 of products from a site that sold Lord of the Rings miniatures. The products were all outrageously priced (much more than walmart anyway) but it had a feel of high quality, rare items. Though they probably don't sell billions I could easily see them making a ton of money. Even if they made some exclusive brand that was just dragons, orcs and elves without the LotR branding.

If you marketed well and gave screen shots and demos of intense scenes that you don't see every day at walmarts across America people could easily start to see yu as a deluxe collector's edition type brand instead of some cheap store brand.

Why do people even shop at EB, Gamestop, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18153900)

These places charge MSRP always, without exception, never heard of a sale. Meanwhile, Fry's typically put's a $50 game on sale for $35 the first couple of days it's released, and then again within 6 months. I used to buy the SJ Mercury every Friday just to get the Fry's ad to see what games were on sale, but now I can even save my $0.50 since the Mercury put the Fry's ad online.

If they were more customer friendly.... (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

cavefrog (1015175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155258)

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.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

I'll Provide The War (1045190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155886)

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?

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156008)

people buy shit from gamestop because they literally can't think of any other place to go. I personally hate GameStop because I worked there and I saw how they shafted customers. The managers are ridiculous and care only about the bottom line. Hell, even people that argue that GameStop gives better customer service with regards to video game advice must be talking about exceptions to the norm, becuase at the one I worked at most of the employees lied about being gamers. The manager didn't even own any consoles. He would just tell people that the game they were holding was awesome to play and then add on subscriptions without asking them if they wanted one or not. GameStop business practices are shady at best. I do not do business with them anymore nor will I again.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157690)

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. They're a big chain, and there are a sufficient number of people out there that don't realize they could do better elsewhere.

BM? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160368)

What B&M offers higher prices?
Online has taken a BM all over B&M.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156252)

Locking PC games in huge plastic security boxes
If they don't cover the game case with stickers or price tag, I wouldn't mind that! Shame they don't shrink wrap the junk anymore...

Oh yeah, that is one reason I hate that place, they cover EVERYTHING with A LOT OF STICKERS! It annoys me that you buy something "new" and it's "displayed" case is plastered with 3-4 stickers. Then again, a lot of the stores are a mess(another reason I hate EB/GS), and the actual box art sticks out more then the UGLY default store made ones.

So I am kind of mixed on the gutted game & case issue, on one hand you can easily make stuff out among all the other titles with their box art, while on the other you get a manhandled game case --and maybe game-- as "new."

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18162994)

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 local store because of their constant badgering alone, price better or no. Game Stop buying them was the best thing that ever happened to them. Funcoland I never saw a difference between what they were and what they became after the merger. They were still pushy as hell, and there wasn't much you could do about it. You're looking at these guys through some strongly tinted rose glasses, here.

What types of things am I talking about?

Oh joy, let's see.

Imposing draconian quotas on their employees, which causes the sales associates to bully the customer into sales to prevent losing their job;

Sounds like what every Funcoland and EB employee I know and have known has told me was the case. I had people at Software Etc, EB, Babbages, Funcoland, GameWorld, and every other game store I've been in do their damndest to get me to buy those crappy "scratch remover" things, as well as assorted other stuff. If you think that's limited to Game Stop, it only shows how limited your experience is.

Forcing pre-orders for items which are not in short supply;

Really, FORCING preorders? I've pre-ordered one game EVER (Zelda: WIndwaker for the Ocarina of TIme/Master quest for GameCube disc you got), and that was from EB. Every new game (which isn't many these days) that I bought day of release from GameStop I bought without a preorder. Every single one, including big name games such as Final Fantasy 12.

Paying pathetic trade-in values while charging outrageous prices for used titles;

Here's a hint. If someone offers you less than you believe your game is worth, don't sell it to them. Sell it on eBay for what you think it's worth, and go spend that cash as opposed to store credit.

And if someone is charging an outrageous price for something, don't buy it. I buy piles of used games from Gamestop, and for none of them (save one or two hard-to-find items, but that's rarity for you) will I pay over $20. These days I have a hard time justifying paying more than $10 per game. I walked home with Max Payne, Max Payne 2, and Splinter Cell one day, for a grand total of $5 INCLUDING TAX. Ridiculously overpriced, indeed!

Maintaining a poor back catalog;

As far as the Gamestop.com website is concerned, you're correct. A lot of games don't seem to exist anymore as far as they're concerned. However, I've picked up a ton of non-existant games just by walking into the store. It's like a scavenger hunt. Finding old ANYTHING takes some looking. Hard to find items are called that for a reason.

Accepting vendor promotions that encourage their sales associates to favor one vendor over others at no real gain to the company;

Well, I imagine that someone upstream is getting paid enough that it seems to them that it's worth it to the company. It may not be worth it to your particular store, but "the company" generally cares about the big picture in general. Welcome to Corporate America. I hate it too, that's why I don't work there anymore.

Cramming so much marketing material into the store that you can't find anything you're looking for;

I must have the most awesome 5 GameStops in the world then, because aside from marketing material on the side-panels of the stands, the only thing stopping me from finding what I want are the vats of awful Xbox games, PS2 games, and DVDs they're just begging me to take off their hands. I honestly don't know what you're talking about.

Locking PC games in huge plastic security boxes;

Straight up lie. They don't do this. They often have empty boxes, which they then fetch the game for out of the back, but that's just common sense.

Selling non-guaranteed pre-orders;

If it isn't guaranteed, why did you pre-order it if guarantee was what you wanted? Caveat emptor. See also my previous comment about not bothering to pre-order.

Selling not-for-resale demo copies as "used";

Well, generally they sell those because someone got their hand on the demo and traded it in. Same with the not-for-resale demo CDs you can get used at used-music places. I've got a bunch of them. No one cares.

Frankly, it sounds like you've got an agenda, and a pretty large chip on your shoulder about Game Stop, for whatever reason, I don't know, because I don't even know if you've been IN a Game Stop recently, if you actually think some of this stuff is true. I don't work for them, don't make money off them, and have no relation other than having acquaintances that work there. If they charge too much, I have the self control to not buy it until they decide to charge a price I feel is fair. I have the ability to say "No" to them asking if I want a pre-order, or a disc scratch remover, or whatever. I wish there was more competition in local specialty shops, but frankly, there are dozens upon dozens of web presences (not even counting eBay) that I can go to if Game Stop doesn't get me what I want for the price I want it.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166910)

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 ever bought anything new there though). EB is exactly the same as GameStop now, since EB *is* GameStop now.

Really, FORCING preorders? I've pre-ordered one game EVER (Zelda: WIndwaker for the Ocarina of TIme/Master quest for GameCube disc you got), and that was from EB. Every new game (which isn't many these days) that I bought day of release from GameStop I bought without a preorder. Every single one, including big name games such as Final Fantasy 12.

Congratulations. Do you work there, or know somebody who does? Or perhaps you only buy popular/mainstream titles. If so, then I'm not surprised. Maybe you have the best Gamestop manager ever in your local store, but it is not uncommon for GameStop stores to refuse to sell copies to people without pre-orders even if they have enough on release day. If it doesn't happen in your local store, it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I must have the most awesome 5 GameStops in the world then, because aside from marketing material on the side-panels of the stands, the only thing stopping me from finding what I want are the vats of awful Xbox games, PS2 games, and DVDs they're just begging me to take off their hands. I honestly don't know what you're talking about.

If you love it so much, why don't you marry it? Seriously, I've never heard somebody overlook blatant faults in something like this unless they were talking about a bad relationship they didn't realize they were in. I just plain don't believe that your local gamestops don't have piles of empty 360 and PS3 boxes flanking the entrance, and cardboard cutouts of characters from the latest Tom Clancy games and shelves that contain more empty copies of game cases with the "Coming Soon" sticker on the front than games that are actually for sale. Not to mention the fact that games are now put on the shelf haphazardly instead of in nice alphabetical order so you can find what you're looking for. Given that I've been in dozens of GameStops, and they're *all* like this, it just doesn't seem probable.

Straight up lie. They don't do this. They often have empty boxes, which they then fetch the game for out of the back, but that's just common sense.

I'm OK with the empty box thing. I'm now certain though, that you don't go to many GameStops. The one nearest me (Mall at Whitney Field, Leominster MA) certainly *does* do the obnoxious security case thing for PC games, and it makes it impossible to see what the box says. They don't all do it, but I'd guess about 10% of them do.

If it isn't guaranteed, why did you pre-order it if guarantee was what you wanted? Caveat emptor. See also my previous comment about not bothering to pre-order.

I don't bother anymore. I used to when it was EB. It was worth it. You were guaranteed the game/system and you usually got some bonus too. After the GameStop takeover I had two times where the item I pre-ordered wasn't available on release day because they gave them out to the people who pre-ordered them as they arrived, and ran out before I got there. And thank you for finally agreeing with me. If they don't have what I want I'm not going to shop there. Wasn't that my whole point? If all you buy are popular games, it never makes sense to pre-order. They always get enough of the popular games, as do Target and Wal-Mart and BestBuy. If you want a popular game it's not a problem. If you want some niche title, or a special edition though, there's a good chance it's going to be sold out unless you pre-order. Thus I used to pre-order at EB frequently. Now I never bother except at Amazon.

Frankly, it sounds like you've got an agenda

I do. I want a game store that I enjoy shopping at. GameStop keeps buying all the ones I like and turning them to shit. Congratulations on figuring out what I was blatantly stating. How is it not clear that I want my local GameStop to be a place I enjoy shopping at from my comment? You haven't told me that any of my suggestions are unreasonable, you've simply told me that the problem doesn't exist in the first place. So what's your problem?

If they charge too much, I have the self control to not buy it until they decide to charge a price I feel is fair. I have the ability to say "No" to them asking if I want a pre-order, or a disc scratch remover, or whatever. I wish there was more competition in local specialty shops, but frankly, there are dozens upon dozens of web presences (not even counting eBay) that I can go to if Game Stop doesn't get me what I want for the price I want it.

So you agree with me but you decided to be a dick about it anyway? Thanks.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173286)

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 more difficult to access, and play reasonable, ROM images of those games.

Nowadays with ultra-popular games that used to be confined to the SNES released for later consoles (IE, Chrono Cross, which Funcoland used to sell for $80, the FF games, the old Mega Man games) being released for later consoles in collections, ROM collections for SNES, NES, Genesis, and systems that didn't even register on the US market can be downloaded in an evening's time, and played with reasonable controllers on a PC. Heck, the entire library of these old consoles will soon be available online via things like the Xbox Live marketplace, and the Wii marketplace (whatever they call it, I haven't gotten one yet) if they aren't now. It just doesn't make sense for anyone outside a true niche retailer to carry a supply of that kind of stuff, now. If Funcoland were still an independent concern, they would have done the same thing.

I don't bother anymore. I used to when it was EB. It was worth it. You were guaranteed the game/system and you usually got some bonus too.

I know many people that preordered with EB. You were probably guaranteed to get it EVENTUALLY, not on release day. The PS2 supply debacle was just the first big problem of that nature. Until then, you could reasonably guarantee day-of, because your total market wasn't big enough to sell out all your copies with people beating down the door. I know more than a few people that preordered a "guaranteed" PS2 that certainly didn't get it on day of release. Blame the explosion in game popularity, not the store.

Congratulations. Do you work there, or know somebody who does?

Nope. I think I mentioned this in my post, actually. If someone broke the company rules for me, it wasn't because I asked them to, or demanded that they do, as a lot of people I see in stores seem to think works. The whole "customer is always right, especially if you yell" crap is going to elicit nothing but malicious rules-lawyering in return.

Seriously, I've never heard somebody overlook blatant faults in something like this unless they were talking about a bad relationship they didn't realize they were in....

Snipped for brevity. Not that you will actually visit any of these stores to check out that I'm telling the truth, but since you're in MA, there's at least a chance that it'll happen, though it's a bit of a drive from Leominster. I'm not likely to visit your local one to see how bad it is either. The Game Stops in Saugus RT 1 south (used to be a Funcoland), in the Wal Mart plaza in Salem, and the one in Beverly. Especially the Beverly one. The EB in the Liberty Tree Mall is awful, and was awful before Game Stop even thought of buying out EB, as was the one that thankfully closed down in the North Shore Mall. There are apparently other ones around, but I haven't visited them, because I generally find something between the four of them. I have visited plenty in other states as well, and none of them are as infested with cardbord ads and empty boxes as you've claimed. Sure, the shop windows are covered with stuff, but aside from the top row, they just don't have that many "Coming Soon" titles out there. The EBs (they still carry the name, and from what I've heard the management hasn't been folded into the same management structure yet, so they're run nearly the same) I've been to are bad, but none of them have undergone any change i've noticed. They were already bad. They are mostly mall-based stores, which have mallrats to deal with, and have to be extra ad-frenzied to get customers in, so maybe that has something to do with it. The Game Stop branded stuff is rarely in a walk-in mall. Just strip malls. Even the EBs don't do the games-in-hard-plastic route. Maybe that store had some issues with PC game theft or something that caused the store manager to go nuts. Even the ones in Texas and Seattle I've visited don't do that. Honestly.

I want a game store that I enjoy shopping at.

Then start one. You'll see me visiting it, if it's really that much better.

So you agree with me but you decided to be a dick about it anyway?

No, I disagree with you. Game Stop is no worse, and in some cases is much better, than the stores you remember so rosily. I've shopped at a lot of game retailers in my time, and the only thing that made any of them good was the people you got in the store. If the employee didn't care, the store sucked, whether it was Game World, Funcoland, EB, or Game Stop. I'm calling bullshit on your assertion that Game Stop is somehow worse by nature, because it's bullshit. Just because it's popular and highly moderated bullshit doesn't mean I shouldn't call you on it.

Re:If they were more customer friendly.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173494)

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, is their excuse for not carrying used PS1 games anymore?

Unfair (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18153954)

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 these deals. I don't want to see EB/Gamestop become a monopoly, and deals like this just get them closer and closer to that.

Re:Unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18155196)

Its weird to hear you describe Game Crazy as a small, independent game store fighting against EB. Where I live they're vastly better than EB at getting and keeping things in stock. I bought 4 of my 5 last hard-to-find games at GameCrazy, and EB is on the way TO GameCrazy. Its not like I wasn't stopping to look.

Been there (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154098)

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 they could have gotten an exclusive deal is if they pledged to buy a whole lot more games than the publisher would have expected to sell from normal distribution channels. Which suggests the game won't sell very well. Which ALSO suggests that quirky games don't sell well. Whether or not that's true I won't contest but that's an unfortunate suggestion because anything that isn't the same old same old in gaming is something I most certainly welcome.

GameStop (5, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154100)

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.

Re:GameStop (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155354)

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 kind of stock, so unless I want to play for shipping online, I find myself back in EB.

I'm still hopeful that games only retailers will be able to stay afloat, no matter how much I hate their business practices, but I know that if they are targeting the more-than-casual gamer like me they'll have difficulty. I never buy warranties or strategy guides, I keep my old games and avoid buying used games where I save 2% for a scratched up case, and I never buy over priced game-branded peripherals.

Re:GameStop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157862)

Not that i don't agree, but Gouging on used buy/sell prices never seemed to be a problem.
People are willing to sell back games at the low price and buy games a few dollars off full price. If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it.

Re:GameStop (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158146)

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, respectively, there isn't much shelf space to spare. My local Gamestop has a smaller amount of shelf space, but since they keep only a few of each title out the selection is much broader. The CompUSA has the largest selection of PC games, but is also the furthest away (about 25 miles as opposed to 3).

As for price gouging, well, I think it's more-or-less a necessity, as used games really are where the profits are (especially when you only buy back the "hits"). I've seen similar pricing (and probably similar payout) at a local pawn shop that buys/sells console games in my limited searches through console games (not owning a console, personally, limits the searching, but I have neighbors and friends with XBox and PS3s).

Re:GameStop (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157354)

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.

Does anyone actually shop at gamestop? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154776)

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 I would want to pay for them.

Well, good luck (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18154828)

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-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.

Re:Well, good luck (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155224)

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 addition, they are polite and honest about games. They actually tell me, without asking, if the game in my hand is only 5 hours long (Trace Memory DS) and will politely recommend games like the ones I'm holding, if I'm looking for more.

They generally actually know about each game, and sometimes even give conflicting personal reviews. (One guy liked Red Steel, believe it or not.)

They aren't just company shills, and they actually take time to get to know the customers.

Not all EB/GS stores are the same. I'd much rather go to mine than buy at a Walmart, BestBuy or anywhere online. Customer service is the ONLY difference.

Re:Well, good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18155618)

Three racks of PC games!? My local Gamestop has two racks, and one of those is bargain priced older games. I just wish their website still listed older games. A few months ago I saw a copy of "Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth" on the bargain rack. I didn't have any extra cash on me and didn't really want to charge it, so I waited until the next week. I checked their website to use the "is it in stock" tool and they didn't even list that game (along with dozens of others that my local store had which were released in the last 12 months or so). So I either had to call the store or drive to the store in order to check to see if the game was on shelf. Luckly, I called because the last copy had been sold. Why a video game online store doesn't carry slightly older titles is beyond me? Why wouldn't I want to check a video game online store for older titles?

Re:Well, good luck (1)

CaptainChup (1069498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177448)

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 better equipped had I ANY creative control, because I KNOW my customers, and I KNOW what it is that they buy / demand. It would help if we were given the option to order what we KNEW we needed, and or were requested by our customers.

Curse you, geography (1)

David E. Smith (4570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155922)

I'm about fifty miles from the nearest EB or GameStop or whatever the hell they call themselves this week. :(

What about ebay? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155932)

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.

How exactly does this work? (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155978)

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 going to Best Buy, Circuit City, Frys, and then Gamestop looking for a specific title. I don't usually go to Gamestop unless I'm specificaly looking for used games. Otherwise, they charge full price on new games - even games you can get for less at Costco or Frys. Actually, Frys is my first choice for games since they have a good broad selection, and sometimes discount new titles when first released.

Furthermore, has anyone actually BEEN to a Gamestop lately? They're a mess! The ones in the malls near me are a disaster. There's game cases all over the place. There are pre-order boxes shoved in among the used titles, there's GameCube titles shoved in the Xbox area. Even the so-called "New" game cases look pretty bad after being pawed by countless people...

Does anyone here honestly think that Katamari Damacy would have been nearly as big a hit in the US had Namco ONLY sold it through Gamestop? As I said, that's the LAST place I look for games. And casual gamers? Pfft. They go to Best Buy or Circuit City. If it's not there, they've never heard of it.

Is Gamestop literally throwing millions of dollars at each exclusive title here? Again, I can't see this making sense since even Capcom and EA are saying it takes at least a few hundred thousand sales to even break even on smaller titles, much less pay off the investment from larger titles.

Dissastisfied with gamestop (1)

SaraAB (1062512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18155992)

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 Mario/puzzle league for the gba that was supposed to be new, however when i got home i discovered the paper insert that holds the cart was missing. This was supposed to be a new game that I paid the full new price for, a new game should not be missing a piece of the product. This game was pulled from a drawer and was not even a display copy. Ok next this is what really ticked me off, I was sold a used copy of pinball of the dead, when i got home i discovered the game cart had umm... a lot of really deep chew marks on it. It was also filthy and of course, did not work. It looks like someone shot a BB gun through the game. The fact that they sold me a game that they did not test, and in that condition makes me not want to go into the stores anymore. I did not have time to check the merchandise before I left due to the crowded situation of the store, because there was literatly no room to stand in the store at all. This is NOT something I should have to worry about though at a gamestop store, as a customer I should ONLY be sold working products, and I should not have to be worried about checking them for completeness or for things like I described above. New products should also be sold to me as NEW, and not incomplete.

Dying. Not dead yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156122)

I shopped quite regularly at a local EB where I used to live. This was before the merged with Gamestop. I enjoyed going to that particular EB because the people who worked there were real gamers. Especially the manager. The manager himself played lots of games and was great at making recommendations. While he didn't directly bash games that weren't good, he would be try to subtly tell customers when they were about to purchase a game that was sub-par. He would often lead them to a comparable title that was better. He would tell you when a new game was coming out (or was out) without shoving an attempt to sell a preorder down your throat. The store itself was clean and organized, and the atmosphere he maintained kept me coming back.

Now that may have been just one store. The rest of them may have sucked back then, I wouldn't know.

The EB in the mall by where I now live sucks. The store is disorganized and cluttered. You nearly have to trip over the display PS3 and Wii boxes (the empty type, they don't really have either in stock) to get into the place.

The employees don't seem to really care about anything, except trying to push preorders and strategy guides. Some of them are probably gamers, but they don't seem enthusiastic about it. It looks as if half the boxes in the PC game section (which is basically an unmarked cart) are smashed in.

Even though the prices are usually the same as Target (Target sometimes has a sale that'll make the game $5 off), Target is actually a much better shopping experience now. Sometimes Target even has games that this EB doesn't.

Maybe I'm a bit off, but maybe Gamestop can turn things around by:
1. Hiring managers that are both enthusiastic about gaming and enthusiastic about making their stores inviting to customers.
2. Not shoving preorder forms down my throat whenever I go in. If I want to preorder something, I will.
3. Not shoving strategy guides down my throat. If I want to buy the strategy guide, I will.
4. Keeping the store organized and clean. Just maybe, I want to go into a store that doesn't look like someone shoved stuff in random places.

Re:Dying. Not dead yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18162964)

I recently became store manager of an eb store. I try to keep my store organized, but w/ limited hours it is difficult.
I'm extremely enthusiastic about gaming, and I am honest w/ people. I'm disappointed w/ myself if I can't stop someone from wasting money on a game that's garbage, or simply not what they need (No, you don't need to spend 40 on the sims holiday edition if you already have the regular). I don't mind suggesting preorders to people, and I tend to hold on to reserves that aren't fully payed longer than I'm supposed to. Last time I even called all the people who hadn't picked their's up. When the price difference is slight, I don't push used, cause I'd rather have new myself in that case. Unless of course it's going to an indecisive kid or someone who isn't sure about the game, so they can exchange it if they don't it. The subscription card pays for itself for our frequent used customers, so that's cool, but I'm not going to suggest it to someone who only buys used. And strategy guides? I forget we have them most of the time. That and all too often I point people towards gamefaqs. The company has recently started ranking stores based on customer service, so expect to see that improve (I hope). I've always been about the customer service though, as the most rewarding part of the job is the customer who goes to shake my hand after I've gone out of my way to help them.

Used or New? (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158112)

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.

Re:Used or New? (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158958)

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.

Re:Used or New? (1)

Murrdox (601048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18159362)

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 a couple of days of playing, I really wanted the manual to the game. I wanted a list of units, their stats, etc. None of this was on the CD, there wasn't a PDF manual included or anything.

I called the game store and told them, and brought it back. They didn't have anything. I had to go to a neighboring EBGames, and exchange it with a fresh, sealed copy. I got my nice big, fat game manual.

I don't buy ANYTHING from EBGamestop anymore unless it is sealed in the original plastic.

I still do buy from them, however, because they're the only stores that get the games on the day of release.

Re:Used or New? (1)

nate_wilbanks (887778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166982)

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 bring it back. We would then sell it as a new game if it was the last copy available in the store. So basically, you were probably getting a "used" game being sold as a "new" game. I am not saying this is beneficial to the customer. However, there are very few perks of working at a GameStop/EBGames and that was one of them.

Re:Used or New? (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169262)

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.

Not Worried (0, Flamebait)

r00td43m0n (796630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18159868)

I'm not worried. I'm a part time employee at EB (nice 2nd job) and we have yet to get an exclusive game that wasn't a total piece of crap. GameStop will never lock down a big game that is an exclusive because the high selling games (usually made by good game companies) would not just limit themselves to GameStop.

My experiences at gamestop (1)

band-aid-brand (1068196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18160212)

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 superkillerbloodfestwithdrugsalcaholnuditysexandev 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 video game character of choice* and they treat the customers like garbage if they have even the slightest hesitation about buying something. It also seems like they only carry "brand spanking new game X" and if you want something else your SOL. Whenever I ask about a PC game they look at me like I'm some kind of idiot. "You want that on a PC?!?!" is their usual response. Yes I want it on the blasted PC, I built my gaming machine TO PLAY GAMES. WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT! But its not surprising, have you seen the size of the PC section in relation to, oh say, the used games section. At my stores there is one shelf half as tall as I am. How can they expect to compete with wally world and Best Buy when those larger chains offer me a better experience, lower prices, and service that is helpful. The Walmart PC game shelf is bigger too...

Re:My experiences at gamestop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18162056)

PC games get virtually no money for the retailer. Often it is even less than the console games. Most PC games are now sold online, and the GameStop.com and EBGames.com sites do a tremendous volume of that.

Also, for the record, GameStop is the largest retailer of video games on the planet. Walmart is #2, followed (distantly) by Best Buy.

People only think Walmart and Best Buy are bigger because they sell more than just video games, but when you eliminate all the other stuff, GameStop has a bigger slice of the new video game market than anyone else. If you include sales of used games, the margin by which GameStop leads is substantial.

nice stores tho (1)

shalmaneser1 (916406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166014)

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 games in the store.

Um, this changes things how? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168808)

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.
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