The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Last night, I was in a bad spot. It was later in the evening
and I was all alone. I thought I could resist the urge I was feeling, but I
just couldn't. There was a GameStop right there...calling to me. Still reeling
from the post-holiday influx of new games, the last thing I needed was another one.
Like so many of the other times though, I told myself I would just go in for a look...check
out the new releases and see what's on the calendar for 2013. Well, a few of my
Game Informer friends heard my plea via Twitter and came to my rescue. They talked me down and I
managed to look around and leave, without spending a single dollar on a game or
reservation. The unconcerned parent with the obnoxious and unruly child running
around the store screaming, "This box is empty too!" helped my early exit
Some people like GameStop...and some people don't.
I am in the "like" camp.
Now, I don't just like GameStop because they are the parent
company of Game Informer...and I don't just like them because they sell video
games. I like GameStop because I like watching how they have transformed over
the years and adapted to the ever changing complexion of the video game
industry. I was there as a customer, so I kind of got to watch it firsthand.
Long before GameStop, we had companies like Babbages,
Electronic Boutique, Software ETC, FuncoLand and a few others. And now we
mostly just have GameStop (apparently depending on where you live, some of
those places still exist - but I haven't seen one in years). Somehow, GameStop
came out on top.
Well, GameStop being the clever business that it is saw a
market for used games, and no doubt you are familiar with the buy - sell -
trade strategy they've offered for the past who knows how many years. With
the slow and inevitable migration towards digital distribution, many predicted
GameStop would start to feel the pinch as the used game market slowly became
extinct. If that's happening or not, it's hard to say...but if it is, some of the
other initiatives they are offering will surely aide the company in staying
The first thing I noticed a while ago was GameStop is in the
phone and tablet business now. And why not? More and more people are playing
video games on their phones and tablets, so it almost seems like a match made
in Heaven. Think about the traffic coming in and out of a GameStop every day that
see these advertisements and think, "Hmm. I have an old phone I can trade in
and buy a new video game." Seems pretty smart to me. Now, I'm not saying you're
likely to find a good deal trying to trade in your broken, water logged,
scratched up, iPhone with a cracked screen in for handfuls of in store credit.
In fact, looking at price quotes at the GameStop website almost made me spray
hot chocolate out my nose when I saw how much they offered for an old iPhone 3G
16 GB...of which I have one in my nightstand. Hmm, well in like new condition
they would buy it for $11.00 (I bet they would). Mine is more of in the poor to broken category - which
will get me a whopping $1.50. I guess I won't be buying a new game anytime
soon. Don't worry though, the newer the phone and the better the condition, you
can trade an iPhone 4 32 GB for upwards of $129 of in store credit or $99 cash.
That's about what I paid for mine when I upgraded my contract. So, that's fairer
(though I still don't know how fair it really is). Regardless of whether you or
I think their phone and tablet trade in values and/or refurbished prices are
fair or not, it's hard to argue this isn't a pretty clever business strategy.
If you want to spray hot chocolate out of your nose, go
check it out here.
(In GameStop's defense
though, there are a few websites, like this one, that
tell you how much your old electronic equipment is worth, and I was shocked to
learn my Wii, which is practically brand new with the original box and cables
is only worth $8.86.)
Something else GameStop is doing?
How about embracing the Ouya. Again, why wouldn't they? They
carry all of the other consoles. In an interview with Joystiq a few months ago,
Paul Raines, GameStop's CEO (aka the big dog) said the following...
"We will be a part of
any console launch in the future...there will be games developed for that stuff.
So you're going to see more of these open source type products, and we will be
right in the middle of all of it."
That's kind of a big deal isn't it? Will the Ouya be
available in other places like Wal-Mart or Target? I don't know either. But the
fact that GameStop is behind selling it has to make the Ouya developers feel
good about getting their product out there and assisting with its sales numbers
And then last night...I noticed something rather peculiar.
GameStop now apparently sells what they are calling the Steam
Wallet. I'm not sure how new or old this is, but let me get this straight. The
Steam Wallet is basically a gift card. You put $20 or $50 bucks on the card and
then you log into Steam and redeem the card...and you have that dollar amount in
your Steam account where you can buy new games (or if you're like me - new Team
Fortress 2 hats).
Okay, since I consider myself somewhat of a Valve and Steam
expert, my first reaction was...
"Why in the world
would I want to buy this Steam Wallet at GameStop when I can just log into my
Steam account and add money locally without the hassle of going to GameStop."
Oh, you silly, simple, narrow minded fool...open your eyes and
look at the bigger picture.
Ah, I see. Or so I did after I saw the advertisement that
said GameStop would give me an extra 30% on my Steam Wallet on my trade ins.
And then it hit me.
As a PC gamer, one of my biggest problems with GameStop's
trade in program was it basically excludes PC gamers because of copyright
enforcement and copy protection. They simply don't do PC trades.
But with this, you're telling me I can trade in my used
Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo games...AND get it on a Steam Wallet card that I
can take home and use to buy games for my PC via Steam...AND get an extra 30% in
Tell me GameStop isn't genius. That is brilliant. And that,
my friends and fellow gamers...is why I say GameStop is clever.
They'll find a way to make money like any good business
should, but they also do it by providing their customers with exceptional
content and services. At least I think so.
So it's just a Steam gift card? I don't trade things in at Gamestop, you get a much better value selling on Amazon or Ebay. Also, I don't think 30% extra credit for trading in would be any better than selling on Amazon and using that money towards your Steam wallet, you would probably get much more than at Gamestop.
Like John Wrek said, Gamestop and I have a love-hate relationship. It's usually love, but things like low trade-in values (I usually just sell on Amazon) and the time the counter guy changed my print GI subscription to digital without asking cause some hate.
The other thing that causes hate is that (in my town) they bought out Rhino Games, which had a lifetime warranty on all used games. Gamestop doesn't have that.
Personally I'm in the hate crowd. I get why the trade in prices are so low. But given how easy it is to sell your games yourself online I don't see why so many people trade in at gamestop. Even bestbuy offer higher prices for used games.
So that's why you were in there the other day. I am one of those ones that likes it more than not. It really all depends on who works there that makes it a good GameStop or not. I have one near me that used to be amazing and the guy who was the manager was amazing and nice. He got a corporate job (surprise surprise as he was amazing) and some jerk took his place. Later that same guy got fired for ripping people off for actually giving them like 25 cents for brand new games.
When it comes down to it GameStop is a company that makes money. At the end of the day that's what it all boils down to. Agree with them or not, you can't really complain to much when it's a company that lives to make money.
Having my nearest Gamestop 50 minutes away was the biggest shock of moving to my current location.... That and no Hardees for the occasional lazy breakfast trip!
Most of my purchases are either done through PSN or (now) Steam as I finally have a pc capable of using it! Every once and I while I splurg on the Amazon pre-order bonus if I really want a physical copy of the game...
Current pre-orders are Ni No Kuni and The Last of Us...
Great blog, Saint. This is something I've thought a lot about.
I'm a big GameStop fan, and although I don't use Steam, I do trade in a lot of games for credit on other physical copies. It's the best possible way I can think of to "recycle" games that are just gathering dust anyway, but I'll admit to being occasional appalled by the credit price of a game I brought back, even if you factor in the myriad percentile bonuses and PowerUp rewards they offer. But to me that's okay, because even if they are only offering $3.59 for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (it was only two weeks old!), that's free money towards something else to actually play, and I can certainly see the lofty benefits for Steam users.
Nice preorders, btw. I'm pretty excited about Ni No Kuni.
While I occasionally get annoyed with GameStop (They can be a tad pushy at times), I do like a lot of stuff they've done. I've been able to get some really cool stuff off their Power Up Rewards. Things I don't think you can buy just anywhere like, Mass Effect dog tags, or a really cool Skyrim poster. And their Steam Wallet cards are the only reason I was finally able to play Morrowind.
So, they do annoy me at times lol, but I definitely don't hate GameStop.
I don't trade in my games, so I can't say anything about that. But those Steam cards are great for people who want to play on the PC but do not want to use their credit/debit card to pay online.
Good blog Saint. The relationship between Gamestop and I is usually pretty good, except when I want to trade in games...other than that I love them unconditionally. Especially their typically superior pre-order bonuses for games.
You can also go to Gamestop and specify the MS points in increments of $5 or just specify what content you want, and they'll print you a code for redemption. That alleviates the residual 400 points that is always lingering. It motivates you to buy t-shirts for your avatar. God I hate Microsoft. Gamestop actually just gave me $150 for a 120 gig 360 elite. I used the money to upgrade my PS3 to a 250 gig super slim. Went home, did the data transfer, and then I sold the big body to my buddy for 150. I also sold the Uncharted 3 that came with it to him for 30 bucks. I actually made money. I'm getting ready for the 720/Durango. My 360 looked like a dust bunny. The guy at Gamestop laughed at the dust build up. It looked like the average gamer's Wii. My Wii was one of my most played until I traded it toward my Wii U. Nintendo's consoles are always my most played, but PS3 is my favorite console.
I agree, some gamestops are run by ***holes and some are run by guys who actually know what they are dealing with. When i wanted to switch my pre order for halo 4 from one store to another, the clerk explained that the people who ran the other gamestop had been stealing employees from him and refused to do buisness with him. This showed me the love it and hate it side. Ever since i have been on good terms and gotten to know the people that run my local gamestop and they have offered me a training position when i come of age, I cant even count how many times i have called over there asking a question about something i bought, they took their time and explained in detail to me what i had done wrong and how i can fix it. I am definetly in the love it side and there are few other places i would rather get games not only because of the service but because of the price.
I personally love Gamestop---midnight launches and all. That Steam Wallet thing may come in handy with the new Piston Steambox. I have this horrible feeling that Half-Life 3 will be exclusive to Steam, and so this new PC/console thingy is definitely on my radar.