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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch

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

Cellwind
Cellwind

I like the idea of being able to borrow a friend's game, especially if they aren't playing it at that moment.  Digital copies are taking that ability away from everyone.  Why do I feel like this is becoming more and more about making money than the gamers themselves.  My days of gaming are shortly coming to a close...

lion2447
lion2447

I don't think this is such a bad idea. Granted it's not abused like Gamestop does right now on their used games (only giving 5 dollars off a used game from new).  There have been a few times where I bought digital games only to find I really didn't like them. Since it's digital, I have no way of getting any money back. This way, I could at least get something reselling the license back.

RapidFirE53211
RapidFirE53211

Gamestop keeps giving me more and more reasons not to buy from them.

BionicBrando
BionicBrando

Yes, because everyone knows that digital content degrades over time like discs and can be sold later for less as "USED"    :/

Lordcrabfood
Lordcrabfood

People can hate on gamestop/eb games all they like, I rarely go there myself but you can not argue that they are a smart business.  They have seen the market is changing and it is going to change a lot more.

 

  Around where I live there are a few independant video stores still operating, each one of them is up for sale, who the hell would buy a video store in 2012 is beyond me so I wish them luck with that.  This is a perfect example of how digital downloads have taken over physical distribution.  Gamestop has seen this coming, I prefer physical copies but  unfortunately, the physical copy will eventually disappear.

 

This ruling in Europe has set a legal precedent so it is likely that this will become law around the globe.

swantn5
swantn5

i bet mircosoft sony and Nintendo might try to stop them due to the fact of there pre owned video game sales for me at least it comes down to price if it is the right price why not 

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@Sgthombre, Yes I know that. It doesn't mean things could spread to other regions. Plus there are other things to think about with the issue. Remember, the Playstation 3 is region-free when it comes to PS3 games. This might make people tempted to import games from that region.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@@OmegaGear I don't mean always online requirement. I'm talking about the hard drive storing a list of titles that were purchased from PSN in key form for each users's profile. Those lists can be updated when signed into from that system. Think of it as a collection of keys stored on your hard drive, but checked and adjusted when the system signs into the PSN. The key lists will determine what the system can play and can't play. Now, in order for someone to sell games and still maintain them on their system, they'd have to shut that system off from PSN. No one on that system could download games, DLC, Sync trophies, play online multiplayer, etc. It would be something similar to what they did to Other OS.

strayfies
strayfies

I'm actually a little surprised they're still in business.  Who could ever bother to use Gamestop these days?  Their prices aren't competitive, nor is their stock special and most the market has relied on the internet for distribution or promotion in larger titles.

 

It really is commendable that hocking used games for a trivial discount has kept them afloat this long.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@OmegaGear They might update the firmware to save  account purchases from PSN and use them to verify games. The list might be saved on a system profile and synced everytime they access the network/store/purchases. If the game/content is on the hard drive but not on any user's account purchase list, they won't be able to play the games and get an error message.

This might cause problems for Sony with people with multiple systems, but they won't be able to access their new content on that system without signing in. Just a thought on a possible solution for them. I have no clue how other systems will do things.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

To those who say this is illegal, read the article. It says a European court ruled it legal. The one thing I fear is companies retaliating with even more abusive DRM. The court ruling should have made sure to handle that issue before it popped up, but maybe they didn't see it coming.

Axe_Armor
Axe_Armor

This would be great news if GameStop was doing this to help out gamers and not to pad their pockets with more rip-off used deals.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

Not sure how this would pan out since digital games have an existing structure that just doesn't allow for them to switch hands. Single use codes are single use codes. On consoles, it's an entirely different beast than PC. Both the PS3 and 360 tie the content to the account, and not the system, so in that sense it is movable., but not transferable to another person. For this to be possible, Sony, MS, and Nintendo would have to spend a lot of money changing the structure of their online offerings, and probably re-license everything too, since it completely changes the terms of use. This is not a simple matter of flipping a switch.

 

This would also be particularly troubling for Sony, because as is, once something is installed on a PS3, it doesn't matter who owns it. Anyone's account on that system can use it as long as its installed. So if this became a reality, people could install their stuff, resell it, and keep using it anyways. The one exception to this method was the first wave of GT5 DLC, but I believe they patched it to allow the same multi-account usage.

DS_fan_atic
DS_fan_atic

So now we're going from selling thin air to customers, to customers re-selling that thin air for less. Long live the disc. 

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

I wonder if this means online passes can be resold. It would be cool since it would defeat the point of them and may get companies to stop wasting their time with them.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

oh lord. just sell me a NEW UNOPENED copy of a game. i do NOT want game informer, i do NOT want the rewards card. i do NOT want USED DLC! ugh, amazon. you have my money now

sergiodoom
sergiodoom

Oh Yeah!! DLC would be extremely cheap this way and it would force developers to make it meaningful, no more few stupid maps or characters outfits! Souds great to me.

LazyGreek
LazyGreek

Stupid question here.... but what is the difference between a "new" digital game & "used" digital game? This business model seems very wierd to me.