Sections

GameStop: 60% of customers won’t buy a new console that blocks used games

Tuesday, 12th February 2013 22:14 GMT By Brenna Hillier

GameStop is adamant that tethering games to individual consoles, effectively undercutting the profitable used game trade, is bad news for platform holders as well as retailers and consumers.

Presenting at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, chief financial officer Rob Lloyd defended the used game trade.

“It’s really only about 4% of our used game sales that are games released in the last 60 days,” he said. “Sony has said publicly that they don’t intend to block used games on its next console. Microsoft has refused to or has not commented on the rumours.”

Lloyd said it has conducted research into the used game trade and has shared the results with platform holders.

“Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games, they want portability in their games; they want to play physical games. And to not have those things would be a substantial reason for them not to purchase a new console,” he said.

“I think it was 60% of customers who said they wouldn’t buy a new console [if it blocks used games].”

GameStop’s stock took a tumble in the wake of recent rumours that the new Xbox console will block used games. New leaks seem compatible with the unusual system.

Elsewhere in the conference presentation, Lloyd revealed GameStop will close 250 ailing stores in 2013, but will also open between 60 and 70 elsewhere, and will acquire 40 GAME stores in France.

Latest

20 Comments

  1. HauntaVirus

    It’s clear they’re drowning.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dark

    wow , calm down gamestop nothing is confirmed yet lol.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Max Payne

    ^^ That made me LOL so hard.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. aseddon130

    People will follow wherever the games take them, if they close off used games then people will get used to it … they’ve done it to PC games haven’t they??? (of a fashion … see greenmangaming)

    People will still want their fix of CoD / Fifa / Madden etc… and will go wherever they are told, most only stick with them few games anyway and they are buying it on day release anyway and not Used or preowned.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Fin

    Gamestop saying used game blocking is bad? SAY IT ISN’T SO

    They’re getting desperate.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Gnosis

    Lol, now someone’s trying really hard.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    The survey went something like this:

    Will you buy a console that doesn’t play used games?

    A) No
    B) Definitely not
    C) Fuck the police

    … And 40% walked out without answering.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Diingo

    My gut tells me Microsoft purposely released this rumor as a way to get internet feedback as a means to decide on a design basing off the reaction via the internet.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dragon246

    Someone is getting pretty nervous :D

    #9 2 years ago
  10. heroes159

    I think Blocking used games is a good thing. Developer & Publishers gets nothing from these used games. Someone else getting all Profit from it.
    Oneway or another Sony & MS will Block used games with next Gen consoles. PC users cant sell used games. SO why not Consoles. I can see it happening.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    @8

    MS wasn’t the first with this “leak” Sony has a patent for a DRM system.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. salarta

    I’ve said it before at length, so I’ll try to be shorter this time. Despite all the people mocking GameStop for doing what any business would do and try to keep a source of revenue from getting cut off, the things Lloyd mentioned are accurate.

    Requiring some kind of one-time-use activation code for a game can bring horrible consequences depending on how it’s done. If I want to play a game and the companies that transmit or verify the code go under, how can I ever play the game? What if I want to play a game from that console a decade or two from now when online support for the console is gone? Even in the unlikely case of the code being packaged with the game and not needing an online connection, what if I lose that code or it doesn’t work right, and the company is no longer available to help me fix the issue? And what about rental stores and libraries; are they cut out completely too, or are these companies going to make special versions of their games for those places? And of course, they’d need a policy like Apple for multiple device activation if RROD happens this generation.

    The fact of the matter is, the whole “Used games are killing our sales!” spiel is just one of MANY ways that CEOs try to make excuses for why shitty decisions lead to shitty sales. First it was “pirating,” then it was “used games,” and very recently it’s been “console volatility.” ANYTHING that isn’t their own decisions is to blame for failure, like a neglectful parent blaming violent media for their kid misbehaving. If Sony and Microsoft block used games, it WILL kill sales of their consoles. That is a guarantee. For one, these publishers crying for used games to be blocked will not “pay it back.” They’re ready to drop consoles at the drop of a hat if they think the money is elsewhere. Why do you think they keep talking about “console volatility,” and companies like Sega have switched to focusing primarily on mobile and browser games? And for another, the majority of people who play video games, when faced with such restrictive consoles, will go to things like Steam. Through Steam and similar services, they at least know it will follow their account, and they save a lot more money by only getting a more powerful PC and by Steam deals. THAT is who would actually benefit; not Sony and Microsoft.

    The last thing is that if the one-time-activation code sort of thing does go through, I guarantee that 1) prices of games will remain artificially higher for longer with no used games market to compete with, and 2) there’s a very good chance that paid demos will go from stupid idea floated by greedy execs to a regular occurrence. After all, how else are you going to try the game? Rent it? Borrow a friend’s copy?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Malmer

    Like people didn’t buy songs on itunes when it had drm and that steam is a huge failure that no one uses and no games at all are sold through the ios app store and 60% of people won’t upgrade their smartphone because they can run used games…

    …or not

    #13 2 years ago
  14. salarta

    @13: With all the examples you gave, getting the content through those services is typically cheaper than getting it through a physical medium, and they often don’t even have an option of having a physical medium.

    Once Sony and Microsoft lock down games with activation codes, they will be giving up almost all of their strengths. They’ll basically be playing on Steam’s turf, and they’ll lose that battle, badly. The only strengths Sony and Microsoft will still have at that point will be controllers already set up, and entirely stable technical specs. The latter means nothing when games can automatically detect the right settings for a system. And setting up a controller on PC is both something most gamers can figure out how to do, AND will seem more worth the hassle if it means saving hundreds, probably tons more, in this economy.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Malmer

    Oh. And people saying they won’t buy and people actually boycotting something are two totally different things. Like how people boycotted modern warfare 2 for lack of dedicated servers on pc. The next day they were all playing it.

    I for one am one of the “evil” customers who would actually welcome such drm, since it would stop some of the trend of tacking on multiplayer. I think it will actually save the narrative based single player game with no multiplayer and focus on story. Games such as the amazing Alan Wake.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. salarta

    @15: In your first paragraph, you’re referring to a select kind of idiots. We all know they exist, but implying almost every person opposed to blocking used games will react that way is the same fallacy as all the times DmC and Ninja Theory fanboys kept harping on when they tried to claim every single person hating DmC’s direction felt that way solely because of hair color. Many of us mean what we say and stick to our convictions, and saying “I won’t be buying a console if they do this” is pretty easy when nearly all games of worth end up on Steam anyway.

    The trend of tacking on multiplayer won’t go away, and probably won’t even be diminished in any significant manner, with used game blocking. Sure, it can be used as a sneaky DRM measure, but the core reason that’s not the main reason it’s added. It’s added for 1) adding perceived longer term value to a purchase, and 2) to have another excuse for more paid DLC packages, particularly things like overpriced skins to show off to other players. To be honest, I can’t think of any way to encourage narrative single player games without multiplayer. The best I can think of for encouraging narrative single player games is actually the opposite: make the base game free, with paid DLC story packs. I’m not advocating doing that, because that just means companies withholding content from the main game to add as DLC, but it’s what seems like the best bet for that goal.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. smbius

    @salarta – I get where you’re coming from. @malmer – You’re not getting it. Those are two completely different things. iTunes, Steam, Google Play work because it is transparent. On physical medium, people should have the ability to do whatever they want with it – even if it means trading with a friend down the street.

    Anyone that thinks that blocking used games “is a good thing” does not understand basic economics. The used market acts as a check on the primary market to keep it realistic. Those who assume demand think this is all a guessing game and want to leave it entirely to publishers. Buyers have choices, and one of those choices is not to buy games that are too expensive.

    Do future Madden games (and all other sports franchises) all of a sudden now become a riskier purchase because no one can trade in a now “useless” game that has ties to a single console?

    The ability to trade in helps normalize this. Microsoft and Sony knows this.

    Hell, I have 6 other reasons. http://lazytechguys.com/featured/6-reasons-why-blocking-used-games-will-never-work/#.URsieKVfDng

    #17 2 years ago
  18. silkvg247

    I imagine if bluerays or dvds locked themselves to one device upon use, they’d pretty much die overnight too.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Gheritt White

    I’d like to see some proof that people really do want to play games on physical media.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. monkees19

    @19 I’m proof. I’d stop buying the consoles if they went with either used game blocking OR all digital.

    #20 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.