GameStop looking into reselling digital content

CEO Paul Raines says specialty retailer has talked with startups about secondhand downloadable goods, describes market as "not a meaningful business yet."

GameStop already has a solid footing in the boxed used games business, but as the industry trends toward digital, the chain is considering ways it could resell downloadable games. Speaking to GameSpot from the retailer's refurbishment center in Grapevine, Texas, this week, GameStop CEO Paul Raines said the firm is looking into digital secondhand sales.

Will GameStop find success in a digital secondhand market?

"It’s very interesting," he said. "There are some technologies out there in Europe, and we’ve looked at a couple that are involved. We’re interested; it’s not a meaningful business yet. Right now we’re not seeing that as a huge market, but I think we’re on the leading edge. There are a few companies, a few startups, out there that we’ve talked to that are doing this."

Raines declined to identify those outfits, saying, "No, we wouldn’t want to disclose that and have our competitors rushing in."

Earlier this month, a European court ruled that the secondhand sale of software was protected, making it so producers can no longer prevent users from reselling licenses.

GameStop's boxed secondhand game business is a major unit for the company. For fiscal 2011, GameStop recorded $2.62 billion in revenue from this sector, 27.4 percent of its total revenues.

Check back later for GameSpot's full interview with Raines.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

0 comments
VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Gamestops trade (and rewards) programs are the single reason that I am able to afford my gaming hobby. In fact, I just traded in a bunch of games I finished today, and got a bunch more I am looking to finish over the next 2 weeks. I love gamestop, and untill the gaming industry fixes it's pricing nonsense, I NEED gamestop. So I hope full-heartedly, that they are successful in doing this (15$ for some of these downloadable games is ridiculous. ie Tony Hawk HD.. thing is worth 5 tops)

nathangray
nathangray

Defies logic that anyone would bother selling anything to Gamestop. I went to them with a used copies of my .Hack ps2 games, all in excellent condition, and they offered me $10 for the whole bunch. I put them on eBay, the set sold for $70 and change.

 

Do NOT put the power in someone else's hands, not when you so readily have it in your own.

aryanbrar
aryanbrar

gamestop buy games for 10 bucks sell for 45.

andrewmm424
andrewmm424

Does it bother anyone else when you buy a "new" (or even used) game from gamestop and they give you a POS black game box? Some people care about having a nice box for their games...just a thought.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

Of course services like Steam or Origin could offer trade-back for downloaded purchased stuff and cut GameStop off at the source.

blakeney
blakeney

How does this even work? Console makers would have to build something in to their "system" to make this even possible... and seeing as they are each also major publishers... i cant see that happening anytime soon.

 

Unless im missing something? Please do fill me in if that's the case.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

 bad bad bad, but then i dont go to gamestop no more i dont trust them

Marky360
Marky360

Personnally I think this is a good thing. one of the things that kept me from going digital is the fact that I can no longer sell my games after I no longer want them. Also the price of used games are always cheaper then there digital counterparts something like this would alleviate those problems.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

I just have to wonder, do so few people realise how bad this is going to be? What lowers the value of a digital copy? Wear-and-tear? Lack of a case? Scratches? How will you know that you've just bought a trade-in version of a game if GameStop doesn't actually TELL you it's a used copy? What if they tell you it's new?

 

If they omit the words, if they don't label any of their digital copies with "new" or "used", they can sell everything at retail price.

 

PS - As an aside, what about the always-online DRM that will be introduced to facilitate this?

theKSMM
theKSMM

Reselling digital content sounds like a great idea, but why do I need GameStop to do that?  One of the aims of digital goods is to eliminate middlemen like GameStop, which has made a killing by buying games for pennies on the dollar and then reselling them for five to ten times as much.  You're lucky if their used games come with a proper game case and manual.

 

I certainly hope the right to sell my software licences is upheld here in the U.S. too, but there's no way I want GameStop involved in that process.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Uhh, yeah.  If GameSopt can actually pull this off then it simply will not be possible to make a profit on tradiitional games sold in Europe.  They will pretty much be treated as China is treated now.  Either the game won't be sold in Europe (and probably won't get translated, either) or the game will mostly be online so you won't be buying the game flat out, you'll be paying by the hour (or month or whatever) to play.

 

That's a pretty big "if", though.  I don't think that ruling is finalized yet and, even if it is, it might not apply to digital sales.

macca366
macca366

No complaints really, but... The thing about used games like any material object is that they're worth less because they aren't new, they've been in the hands of someone else.. But digital games are always pristine and new. I could just be confused though, probably isn't an issue

maximo
maximo

I will never buy a second hand game, especially from Gamestop. Why would I give them any of my money for re-selling a game at ridiculously high prices and making easy money of the back of the developers (who do all the hard work) and my hard earned money.

 

I want my money to go back to the game developers not to some tin pot outfit (Gamestop) that adds no value to the videogame industry

BlackLense
BlackLense

Because selling physical game is too mainstream.

talamalopilis
talamalopilis

YOU SELL THE LICENSE, like a little code that the buyer can put in and the game no longer works for the seller but now the buyer.

Henninger
Henninger

How do u resell something thats digital??? Arent u just paying for a download to a game??? So please tell me how that can be considered used??? Its not like the condition of the code is gonna go bad.

DarthLod
DarthLod

How can you resell 1's and 0's on a hard drive? I guess GS isn't rich enough hiring people for minimum wage while treating them like expendable crap and cheating consumers for ridiculous trade in prices?

Dogswithguns
Dogswithguns

The whole idea for digital copy is not to be able to resell.. but GameStop gonna push it. wow, unbelievable.

Zackass
Zackass

It's a good idea in theory but the problem with this is that a "used" digital copy of something does not depreciate in value. Few will ever buy a "new" digital copy of something when you can just buy a cheaper copy that is the exact same. Also, just because the courts say that stores are now able to resell digital content doesn't mean Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo will make that kind of functionality available on their online service. How can a store like GameSpot force the big three to allow people to trade their games? I don't see XBLA or PSN adding this functionality any time soon; these are the same people who tried to kill off selling used games all together.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

While this works with a pyhsical disk i don't see how it would with digital content.

Black_Hand_313
Black_Hand_313

While I'm not a big fan of Gamestop, I think this is a great idea. This'll stop greedy devs like EA and Capcom dead in their tracks.

ewokachu
ewokachu

Besides, almost everything is slowly going digital.  I would be scared to death if I was GameStop.  Do they even make MovieStop anymore.  I'm assuming their fate will be of Blockbuster. 

ewokachu
ewokachu

GameStop doesn't bother me anymore since the last time I went to a GameStop was in 2003.  I really wish they would go "Digital" all together and leave shopping centers alone.

CincoToes
CincoToes

"We'll give you 41 cents for your digital trade in."

mtait01
mtait01

How does this make sense? Honestly.

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

If they make it cheaper and it pisses off EA, THQ, Activision, and Capcom then I'll buy it.

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

Trade ins are stupid and buying second also. Buy new and support the industry.

Dragdar
Dragdar

re-selling digital?

.

sounds like they're grasping for straws

Trogeton
Trogeton

I don't care for this idea, but gamestop has better doing better the past 5 years.. there has been about 3 that opened up near me, I thought that would NEVER happen.. it IS the cheapest place to get games for deals and trust that your equipment will work

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

I think one of the companies they will compete with is a UK company called Green Man Gaming or something like that. (Yeah, I tried to reveal one of their competitors. Mainly because I know Gamestop doesn't want me to do so.)

Louwich
Louwich

Sony HAD it right when they allowed users to setup elaborate file sharing networks. Unfortunately, corporate greed came into play and the gamers suffered. I know those file-share groups that did it right spent a lot of money over the psn.

divinelegend
divinelegend

 @SeaMan2ndClass

 i just read the entry about gamestop making it a corprate wide rule to toss teh caces/manuals and keeping the games... if that was true the GS would have been outa the use sales buissness long ago. Everyone I know wants the case, cover art and manual. The only ppl I have seen by a game that dosn't look for that useually (not saying everyone so dont crap your self over it) buyin the game for their kid since they blow threw games like the next sec will be there last. and im talkin just from playing them. not even beating them or doing anything but the main storyline.

 

I have a few friends that work still, i used too untill they started takin Mac crap for trade, at GS and not sure where this guy gets his info but he needs to prove his sources with valid facts.. till then i call BS!!

divinelegend
divinelegend

 @nathangray

 thing is there are ppl in this world that dont know of this thing called ebay, or craigslist, or heck the INTERNET. Logic is nothing... common sence is something that this country lacks.

 

Gamestop is the closest thing to getting rid of the games for many parents. Mainly cuz the adverts on TV and who just want to get rid of the games and not deal with them anymore. This is mainly cuz of kids (yes im pointing at you 6-15year olds) generally (there a few who dont but thats rare imo) play then once, hate em, pester their parents for a new one. I'm willin to bet someone has seen this in a game store of any kind.

 

I buy games I intend to keep.. if its something i dont like i just do get it. If i had kids they be playing NES and Atari.

divinelegend
divinelegend

 @andrewmm424

Games that get the dreaded "black box" are useually games that were traded in w/ eaither a broken (like someone did a hat dance on it) or traded in w/ no case. The only time i have seen new games get that box is when some idiot steals the cases off the wall "thinking" (keyword there) the game was in the box. (seen that one first hand)

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

 @maximo I hope you apply that same illogical sense to everything you buy such as cars and the like. You do realize that there is nothing wrong with selling a used product in a free market? And that other industries don't receive compensation when their products are sold used. Video games are no different and the developers get their money at the PoS. They are not entitled to receive royalties on every sale thereafter.

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @talamalopilis

 How does the seller's game know it is supposed to stop working?  Make it check online, of course.  But what if you start the game, sell the license, then unplug the internet?  Well, make the game check every hour or some such - so you have to be online at all times.

 

I think it's a lot more likely that companies will simply start giving games away for free.  To actually play, though, you have to pay $1 or $2 per hour.  Or maybe they will go more along the lines of OnLive and have you play the whole game on their servers so you've got nothing to sell.

Madgnad
Madgnad

 @Zackass I believe Gamestop sells digital copies through their website. So they can in theory, sell their digital copies to other people.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

 @Zackass GameStop doesn't need to force any company to change their business model. I don't see why that has any relevance at all.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

 @jeffbordonaro I imagine it would work with a code system that GS would sell you for a game. And then if you want to sell it back they simply look up the code associated with your sale and void it out so you no longer have access to it so they can sell that specific code again.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

 @KingofCabal Don't be an ignorant tool. Not all games are worth full retail price, and if you think they are then you are VERY naive. I buy all my games used because I don't support where the industry is going with online passes or other extortion practices some developers use to nickel and dime the consumer.

Draco416
Draco416

 @KingofCabal It's unrealistic of you to say that. You may have unlimited cash flow, but not everyone else does. That's the whole reason why used games exist.

mtait01
mtait01

 @KingofCabal could not agree more! For the last year I have been buying ONLY new games to support developers. I am happy for the likes of Dark Souls, Rayman Origins and Skyrim to get my money XD

nathangray
nathangray

 @divinelegend You're right, and the smallest bit of research would teach people otherwise. You'd have to all but be living under a rock to be ignorant of eBay, let alone the internet, and if you are then I suppose it's your own fault you're being taken advantage of and being left behind in a rapidly advancing world.

maximo
maximo

 @Kravyn81

I want my money to go back to the developers. These are the guys who make the games and take the risk. I don't want my money to go to Gamestop who essentially are nothing more than a profit center for their own ends and, in my view, they add limited, if any, value to the industry.

 

It is a personal choice.

Wolfkcing
Wolfkcing

 @mtait01  Or. Buy new when you can? Not everyone can afford every new title that interests them. I think people should make an effort tho. If you like and respect the developers and feel they do the same for you.

maximo
maximo

 @Kravyn81 I would support a mechanism by which the developers can somehow gain monetarily from the sale of used/second hand games rather than see the money go to Gamestop.

I would like to say that I fully support a second hand game market (although I dont ever use it) providing the money is chanelled to the deserving entities and not a store front in the shopping mall!

 

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

 @maximo I understand that. So I hope when a new does come out you buy 10 brand new copies because that's the only legitimate way the developer is going to make money.

 

Once a game is used developers DO NOT deserve to receive money from those used sales because THEY ALREADY received their money for their work when the game was sold new.

Understand?

 

I'm not defending GS because I don't shop there either for personal reasons. HOWEVER, I will defend the right of selling to the public a cheaper product. That is something I will defend with no hesitation or remorse.