Highbrow High Score

The Art of Gaming Intellectually

This Business of Gaming

with one comment

When I bought Skyrim earlier this week, I brought a few old games to my closest major video game store to take advantage of an extra percentage of trade credit. Although I did get over half off the game for these old games, it made me think about the video game retail industry and how these stores thrive on the constant flow of patronage they receive and how ingrained they are, especially in console gaming.

I mainly buy from my local GameStop because of the trade benefits and deals on used games, but it seems like the business model is flawed. Since GameStop and EBGames get all of the profits for used games, the resell industry leaves the makers and publishers of the game out of that loop. While I’m sure this isn’t much a threat to bigger studios with headlining games, it really shirks the indie developers out of a pretty lucrative market.

Since there has been a drive (in my house at least) to buy, eat, and support local stores, I’ve been wondering if there are more “ethical” ways to buy games. Are there smaller vendors you like to buy from? Of course digital distribution on PC and consoles benefits the game makers the most, but as far as consumer cost, is this the most practical option?


Written by highbrowhighscore

November 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I don’t think I follow on Gamestop reselling taking away a portion of indie markets. Primarily because Gamestop doesn’t stock indie games. The reason being that independent games are released almost exclusively on the digital marketplace. I generally try to avoid Gamestop if I can though. I just don’t find their practices to be entirely “ethical”, to use your term. I was forced into my local GS the other day to get a copy of Dark Souls. I watched them give a kid $1.00 as trade-in value for Black Ops to get MW3. And yeah, Black Ops was bad, but as they have used copies sitting on the shelf for $40+ it seems kind of absurd to only offer this kid a dollar. I also have reservations about the “Get X, only when you pre-order at Gamestop” trend. That’s hardly all Gamestop and is based on solid economic principle, but the concept makes me concerned about where it might end up. I might also avoid GS because I don’t like having highschoolers try to hard sell me a pre-order.

    As to digital distribution being the more practical option, I obviously think it is. It has a number of advantages for me: better graphics, user generated content, and cheaper prices. Arkham City was 20% off on Steam. Oblivion GOTY was recently on sale for $6.24 and it still sells in stores for $20+. I didn’t have to stand in line for Skyrim at midnight. I just had to click PLAY. I think that says it all for consumer cost. If it happens to be better for game devs too, then that’s not a bad thing either. I already ranted about how Walmart defines what games get made and this is the crux of the matter. Publishers won’t back games that Walmart won’t sell so if you want those indie AO titles you claimed you were lacking, you need to get on board with digital distribution. So the next time you’re at Gamestop trying to buy some Japanese sex game, remember the digital marketplace wouldn’t give you that look the 16 year old boy at the counter is going to give you before asking for your number.


    November 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

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