Q&A: GameStop's holiday 'power' play

How is the nationwide retailer handling the fourth-quarter release crush? Vice president of marketing Tom De Napoli explains.

With the massive number of new gamers shipping this holiday, you'd think GameStop would be content to sit on its laurels. In many locales, the biggest nationwide games retailer is one of few--if not the only--stores with an extensive selection of games for all platforms. Were that not enough, GameStop's stock has more than doubled in value over the past year, thanks to a burgeoning US game market which topped $1.3 billion in sales in September.

With everything going GameStop's way, why has the retailer gone on the offensive with a new, multimillion dollar ad push in print, online, and on television? Titled "Power to the Players"--which is also the company's new tagline--the marketing push is the first nationwide coordinated campaign since GameStop acquired archrival Electronic Boutique in 2005. Indeed, it is the megaretailer's first national campaign ever, and seems designed to blunt the increasing number of chains beginning to sell games. Recently, both Radio Shack and 7-Eleven used the Halo 3 launch to kick off their own game efforts, joining such other nationwide chains as Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and Wal-Mart.

How is GameStop staving off the competition? Recently vice president of marketing Tom De Napoli, sat down with GameSpot to discuss his company's new ad onslaught. He also shared his thoughts on how the new $399 PlayStation 3 and $279 Xbox 360 Arcade will shake up the crowded holiday shopping season.

GS: So this is your first big media push since you took over EB Games. Why now?

Tom De Napoli: The timing is right, since just we finished the integration with our EB Games. Over 95 percent of our stores now have been rebranded. We're all under one roof. We just finished a brand exploration that really provided for us the essence of who is GameStop. What is our DNA? And now it's time to take that and tell it to the world. So really, "Power to the Players" is our rallying cry. It's who we are, it's what we stand for. It's not just an ad campaign.

GS: What effect did the Halo 3 launch have on your business? How many copies did GameStop sell?

TDN: We haven't talked about specific numbers yet. But remember one thing: Our sales associates are gamers themselves. So it becomes a celebration of sorts. This gaming phenomena has really become the new rock and roll. It's a very, very hot space where we, as a company, find ourselves right in the middle. I mean, we'll open 500 stores this year.

GS: Yeah? Impressive! But now RadioShack and even 7-11 are selling games. What is GameStop doing specifically to fend off competition from other, non-game-centric retailers?

TDN: Quite frankly, focus. What we do, again it goes back to that, that's all we do, 24/7. Our associates are experts. We focus on what our core competencies are. And those core competences really revolve around expertise. We are the authority in the category from a retail perspective. We own one of the top gaming e-commerce sites in the business. We have GameStop TV. That's another asset that we bring. And then there's our used and trade business. You've got a game like Halo 3. People will want it. Or a new console that comes out like the Wii. Used and trade becomes a way for them to generate the currency to go and buy that new, that new, the latest newest thing.

GS: I noticed when I preordered Halo 3 you bumped up the trade-in value by as much as 20 percent. Is the trade-in value you typically offer so low that you can do that and still make a profit selling used games?

TDN: Again, it goes back to us focusing on the customer and knowing what their wants and needs are, where we can tweak the model a bit and reward or help. We want our customers to be able to be immersed in the newest games and the latest buzz. We want to help create that buzz. So it's not really that our margins are that deep in those areas. It's just that we're running a business and we have to, where we can find a way, to give back to our customers.

GS: What's your take on the upcoming holiday shopping season?

TDN: We see that there is a bit of a shift in terms of demographics, and we want to be responsive to that. We see the casual and the gift-giver becoming more prevalent in this space, and certainly at this time of the year. One of the things that we're doing is we're adding a section within our store that's really about music games. We're putting up music kiosks since obviously Guitar Hero III is going to be a biggie. EA's Rock Band is going to be a biggie. So you've got those things and these titles [and] we want to make sure that we bring them front and center.

Our core and avid players know what we're about. But casual folks, the newbies, they're coming in many times because they want to get the gift right. And they want to go to the gaming experts. So we want to take [that], and make sure that our stores are merchandised in a way to make that easy for them.

The other thing is we've got a family-friendly focus because gaming has become the new board games. We're going to have a section in our store for seniors and some of the wellness-type things--like Brain Age, for instance--and some of the children's titles. Some of these shifts are really seismic. I mean, 45 percent of the population now in terms of gamers is female. That's a huge shift from a few years back.

GS: Oh, absolutely. Now you mentioned Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Those games come in pretty big boxes, especially Rock Band. Are you having difficulty rearranging your stores around these larger items?

TDN: We've gotten out in front of it in terms of with our fall relay. We knew this was coming. We also see that the...just in terms of this genre of the gaming business it's just exploding right now. So we, again, as we look at space within our stores and our merchant team is very savvy about allocating square footage to certain sections. We look at that by linear foot, we found a way to solve for it.

GS: What kind of effect do you expect the new, cheaper PS3 to have on your business?

TDN: I think having a $399 price point definitely helps to migrate certain folks off a certain platform into a more broader experience. So I think it's smart. With us, we're certainly not looking to shift console market share. But we are looking to continue to bring in the new experiences to our customers. So I think it helps to do that. The other thing is, what's going to be available on the PS3? I wouldn't say its catalog is robust yet. But it's certainly grown. I think that's the other piece that Sony needs to put in place.

GS: Are you concerned about its lack of backward compatibility with PlayStation 2 games, given that GameStop makes much of its profit off of used titles?

TDN: I think at the end of the day, this is really a transition step for somebody who might be migrating off one console. Where they ultimately would like to be is on the PS3, but they need a stepping stone in between. That said, I don't think in the whole that [the lack of PS2 BC] is really going to have a big effect on our used trade business. I mean, it's a pretty robust business. There's a lot of life in the PS2 platform for Sony.

GS: Now one other thing I want to talk to you about is the Wii. Obviously this has been a huge phenomenon. But it's still impossible to find. Even Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the Wii shortage will continue through next year. What's your reaction to that? I mean, does it frustrate you guys?

TDN: Right now, Reggie has a problem that I guess we'd all like to have. They've got a couple of really hot SKUs. I mean obviously, Wii has been a huge success for them. And I'll tell you, their DS platform has been a huge success for them. Their library is very robust. There's certainly a lot of demand being generated right there, and it's a pent-up demand.

But anytime you've got a worldwide launch like they've had, they're trying to get their production under control. They're doing a good job of communicating to us in terms of the retail community, I think, of what they can expect when in real time. But it's going to have to catch up with itself. And I think in the end of the day that enthusiasm is good. Our concern is to make sure that we're getting our fair share of the allocation so that we're taking care of our customers.

GS: And do you feel like you are?

TDN: Yeah. We feel like we are. But we are encouraging people to shop with us early because it's going to be on everyone's wish list. Definitely shop early, if that is the item.

GS: What's your take on the Xbox 360 Arcade? Microsoft's Robbie Bach is touting it as an alternative to the Wii. Do you see it as people that's coming into the store, seeing the Wii is sold out, and saying, "OK, I'll guess I'll get that"?

TDN: I think the Nintendo Wii versus the Xbox 360, at its core you still have a console versus a console. They're very different. Certainly, the Nintendo Wii has really got around the old stereotype notion of the video game guy sitting in there doing his own thing. When you go to the Wii it's just a different experience. It's not a sedentary experience. It's off the couches. It really plays into that social gaming aspect where you'll walk into people's house and it's a Christmas party and people are up and playing. So I think they complement each other. I don't think it's an either/or game.

What we're seeing is a lot of folks are talking about all the broadening of the category with the Wii and DS. But we're also seeing a lot of core and avid gamers that are buying the Wii as a second console in the house and then experiencing that kind of gaming community with their parents or their friends.

So I don't think it's a win-lose proposition. Microsoft's stepping up with, with this Arcade and they're giving a more value-added experience to the consumers. [It's] good for everybody.

GS: Now this is an exceptionally crowded holiday season.

TDN: It is.

GS: Though it's getting less crowded every day! How are you handling all these, like the shipping schedules, these delays?

TDN: Well, we've been in this business for some time. We are very nimble in the way we're able to react. When Grand Theft Auto IV moved out to Q2 2008 it was not foreseen.

But there's enough right now in the queue that's coming out during the holiday. Just look at the titles. Guitar Hero III is going to be huge--it's the first time it's going to be available on the Wii. Rock Band is going to do good, and I think it's going to do probably better in the first quarter. Call of Duty 4 is going to be great, and Halo 3 is going to have a big holiday.

So there is not a loss of titles in the pipeline, and software sales are going to be robust. I think hardware sales are going do well--we'll sell all we get. And then with the gift card season, I think we'll see a lot of traction into January and February of next year with that.

GS: I mean, do you think that publishers put too much emphasis on the holiday season? I mean, a lot of these publishers are basically cannibalizing their own the sales by releasing all these great games at the same time.

TDN: I think we all know the old retail notion of you want to fish when the fish are swimming. It's as simple as that. And when you look at the percentage of retail sales that are done in the fourth quarter, it's a lot, so.

GS: Now I know a lot of companies, like Netflix--I'll use them as an example--whose business model is being threatened by digital distribution being on the horizon have their stock value drop. However, digitally distributed games are already here, but GameStop's stock is going through the roof. Why do you think that is?

TDN: Well I can't speak for Netflix and what their business model is doing or not.

GS: Of course.

TDN: But what I can tell you about for us. You know we, we have been a company that's been built as a series of roll-ups. We were Etcetera, we were Babbage's, we were FuncoLand, we were EB Games. So what we've been able to do now is put a roof over all this, and now say, define it as, who are we? What are we? We've done that. The brand architecture is now done. We're running a national branding campaign that consists of print, network [TV], and cable [TV]. That puts us in a position where we're focused.

Then you look at digital distribution--it's on the horizon, sure. But you know what? Brick and mortar isn't going away. And when you look at this category and where it is in the life cycle, it's just getting started. When you have that intangible product that we have, meaning the service aspect of the knowledge, expertise, advice, selection, convenience, the parade model that's all about currency for new games. That's something that I don't think the digital download models are going to.

GS: But I mean are you making any kind of preparations for it? You don't see it as a big competitor a couple years down the road?

TDN: We certainly see it as a channel that is going to become more prevalent in our business. We are also looking at some things internally that we're working on to complement our current channel offerings. So it's something we're very aware of, and something that we'll continue to gauge how far out the technology is, where our customers are in terms of adopting that technology, and where we want to live in that space.

GS: Now, you mentioned your rebranding is complete. So all stores have been rebranded GameStop now? There's no more EB Games outlets anywhere?

TDN: In all but maybe--I'm guessing--5 percent of our stores. So 95 percent of the chain has been rebranded. The ones that aren't are only because there's a lease requirement or a lease restriction that says you can't put the new sign up yet.

We didn't want to launch this new brand campaign until we had the lion's share of our stores rebranded. It's a very rare occasion where you'll see an EB Games sign still up. And even when we look at our international model, it's really, it's moving that way too, with the exception of Canada.

GS: Why Canada?

TDN: We're still evaluating our mind share and our identity with EB Games and the Canadian market. It's just before you do move that way want to make sure that you really understand what your top mind awareness is and your brand equity is, before you want to make your shift. So we're still doing some due diligence.

GS: Now I don't know if you've been following the Manhunt 2 controversy, but I just wanted to clarifying something. Am I correct in understanding it's GameStop's policy to never stock AO games, not even if it's a high-profile one?

TDN: That is our policy. We do not stock AO games.

GS: So what's your take on all these various game laws which would mandate you display M-rated games in a different section, like adult magazines?

TDN: Well, so far you the states have tried to regulate it, without much success. It's certainly something that's out there. It's going to be something that we need to look at state by state, municipality by municipality. But right now it seems like the best guidepost is the ESRB guidelines, making sure that we're a good partner there. And that's what we're doing.

We did a campaign earlier this year that was all about the ESRB guidelines. Last year, the ESRB came together with five retailers including us, and we did a commitment to parents and our take on it was a Respect the Ratings campaign. We created a Web site, respecttheratings.com, that's basically Gaming 101 for parents.

We are protecting the youth, in addition to a whole public education component that we are working with the ESRB on. There was a huge push last November, and a second push with [ESRB president] Pat Vance and our company president [Steve Morgan] this November, especially around the holiday time, to let parents know it is the natural time to be aware of games and game ratings.

The other thing that we did, too, is a little bit of self-compliance. We've implemented a secret shopper program, where we're making sure that we've got the compliance in terms of checking for ID for each and every store. And we've sent a real strong message that it's a zero tolerance. We actually have terminated employees for the violations. We do stick to what we say when it comes to game ratings.

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146 comments
VIDEOGAMEFREAK6
VIDEOGAMEFREAK6

I have a 80 GB Playstation 3 do I have to buy a USB HUB for ROCK BAND or is there a place to hook it up that I don't about yet?

VIDEOGAMEFREAK6
VIDEOGAMEFREAK6

Does the PS3 bundle come with a USB HUB and when is the PS3 verision comming out?

VIDEOGAMEFREAK6
VIDEOGAMEFREAK6

Does the PS3 bundle come with a USB HUB and when is the PS3 verision comming out?

sanchocurse
sanchocurse

All I hear is people complaining about getting nothing for their trade-ins, well I have one word of advice, stop going into gamestops trying to trade-in every 2002 sports game and expecting to strike oil. I know the trade-in values are pretty steep try finding anywhere else that takes those old useless games off your hands. Also try finding awesome games like Psychonauts at Best Buy or Wal-Mart and the associates there will look at you completely bewildered. As far as reserving games is concerned it's just $5 that comes off the price of the game at the time of purchase. Nothing extra aside from a guaranteed copy of the game. It's a bit more convenient than driving to your local Best Buy, which in most cases is farther than your nearest Gamestop.

gavethedarqk
gavethedarqk

I work for Gamestop, and as far as the trade in credit goes, most of the time if you're giving us something old that has a low value, the value is low because we have a very small chance of actually selling it. So why would I give you a ton of credit for something that I'm never going to get rid of? Having said that, I don't think everything Gamestop does is awesome. I hate when we ask people to reserve stuff and then it comes in late. That pisses me off. I know some people have a problem with us being able to check out games and then sell them as new. I agree that's retarded. My employees are only allowed to check out used games. One more thing. Our new ad campaign is lame as hell. It makes me cringe when I see it. Also, despite what you hear on TV or the radio, or read in websites or magazines. WE DO NOT give game hints. Generally managers (not so much salespeople) have enough to do without having to tell you how to find the Halo 3 skulls over the phone. So stop frickin' asking.

CrushedGroove
CrushedGroove

If everyone would just boycott EB/Gamestop, then they would clean up their act. However, when everyone continues to give them money, why should they change? They are the largest video game retailer in the world. Why? Because people shop there. Quit moaning and complaining about it if you are going to continue to shop there. If you want to see a change, take action, don't shop there.

gepet0
gepet0

All I know is since the merger the buy 2 used get 1 free is all but dissaperared. That was my sale. But trade in prices dropped to a crazy low . Ex 6.00 bucks for castlevania portrait of ruin and selling it for 24.99. I think they need to be way more fair in the trade ins. Also they try and charge 1.50 for refurb fees and put the daggone disc out for sell without refurb and sell a scratched disc. Why can't the consumer get the discount for the scratched disc

gepet0
gepet0

All I know is since the merger the buy 2 used get 1 free is all but dissaperared. That was my sale. But trade in prices dropped to a crazy low . Ex 6.00 bucks for castlevania portrait of ruin and selling it for 24.99. I think they need to be way more fair in the trade ins. Also they try and charge 1.50 for refurb fees and put the daggone disc out for sell without refurb and sell a scratched disc. Why can't the consumer get the discount for the scratched disc

gepet0
gepet0

All I know is since the merger the buy 2 used get 1 free is all but dissaperared. That was my sale. But trade in prices dropped to a crazy low . Ex 6.00 bucks for castlevania portrait of ruin and selling it for 24.99. I think they need to be way more fair in the trade ins. Also they try and charge 1.50 for refurb fees and put the daggone disc out for sell without refurb and sell a scratched disc. Why can't the consumer get the discount for the scratched disc

flash786
flash786

m from india and in india there is no official gaming store................sobs

jBusiness
jBusiness

I used to work for GameStop. It's not worth it. I've read about capitalist trading, discounts, pre-orders, reserving swag, and employment. Here's my take. Their used prices are exorbitant, but five bucks is five bucks. Just ask to look at the disc or something. If it's not up to your standards, look at another, or get a new one. GameStop employees are allowed to check out (new) games. So yes, there is a chance that the opened 'new' copy of Call of Duty 4 is used. Don't buy it. It's probably fine, but that is not the point. It's the principle of the thing. It's not new. Reserving things takes no time whatsoever and doesn't cost extra. GameStop is basically trying to solicit a guarantee that you will pick the game up there. If you don't, get your money back. I've done it before. It's hyped too much by the company, and this is why. Every deposit on reserve money is banked by the company. It gains monthly interest. That doesn't initially seem like much, but take every person who reserves or reserved Mario Galaxy in the past months. Take those people who reserve something and forget, or something of that nature. That money is yours, but the interest is theirs. Employees rarely mention when a regular customer has unchecked reserves sitting in the system because it's a negative on your numbers. I was good at numbers with my monkey ASM job there, so I was honest. It's stupid how much you have to work to be that there. Furthermore, the company never bothers to get the material early and it costs them. I worked when our shipment of Gears of War was late by a day, and I worked when GTA: San Andreas was late by a weekend. You can probably imagine the results, especially when we promise availability. The reserve swag is awesome if you like hard copy demos of Ratchet & Clank: Future, or a Lost in Blue 2 stylus that parrots a fire-starting stick the size of your index finger. Every now and then you'd get a poorly silk-screened t-shirt you wouldn't wear in public unless you're the kind of person to wear a flash drive around your neck. I worked there for roughly four years, and the coolest things I ever received were as follows. 1) a Rock Band t-shirt that was well produced. 2) a Cult of Rapture 360 key and faceplate. 3) a Phoenix Wright stylus/plush. 4) the Castlevania: PoR box, with the soundtrack and all. That's about one cool item for every year that I worked. Not worth the pay. I kept the job for as long as I did because I worked with some of the coolest people I can say are my friends. We were in a location that was difficult to see from major areas, so it was mostly us goofing around and helping a loyal band of regular customers. It legitimately was the closest to a Clerks environment I can ever hope to get. Also, it's an easy job to have when you're going to school. It's the Burger King of retail environments. For the most part it's mundane, the benefits are good if you get them, but even then it's only to make up for the terrible wages, and the hours are awful. Stores are required to hire a far too large number of employees over the holiday and then never use them. I would be extremely upset if I were a pie-eyed sixteen-year-old looking to work with games, only to be hired, and never work. It's nice for the discount but a terrible exposure to the work world. Do you want to work with games? Then find a different entry. Take the path Jonathan Mak, Dan Paladin, and Jenova Chen did.

eldangeroso05
eldangeroso05

ill admit, i'm a ASM at a Gamestop in NY... By no means are our associates experts... freakin eh im no expert, but i try. When i interview someone they better have SOME game knowledge. But anyone that is an "expert" PROBABLY has little to no social skill AKA half to snot nosed customers that i deal with on a daily basis. So hell yeah ill be rude to you SOB's, as stated in clerks. "This job would be great if it wasn't for the f*u*king customers". OH and present/perspective customers, why is it a sin if we ask someone if they want to reserve something?? Sure its a guaranteed sale for the Corp MAN, but fine take your business else were ALA Best Buy or even worse WAL MART. But oh wait... they are even bigger and more power CORP MAN! By no means am i saying GO GAMESTOP YEAAAAAH! Im just believe its the best alternative to the other ponie boys. Its like a sin if you reserve something??? ITS FREE! WHO CARES?! half the time you get some free swag when you do it. And OH HELL yeah do we rip people off with trades. Quit B*tchin and get off your pimply as$ and slap that used bad boy on EBAY, its not hard and im sure you will make alil more. When it comes down to it, if your going to complain and whine, go somewhere else... please.

xombie5
xombie5

Associates are experts. Please, I will describe to you the day-to-day life of a Gamestop employee, seeing how a friend of mine works there. He gets paid 7 dollars an hour to sit there and tell people to preorder games that won't be hard to find. He even told me that the manager tells you to make sure you tell the customers to preorder even if the game won't be hard to get. And another thing, most of the employees don't even know anything about games. They wil hire anybody to work there, so if you were considering getting a job there because you would be around games, think again.

tiago97
tiago97

Our associates are experts. oooo don't make me laugh!!!!!!! at least here in CT they are crap always very rude to customers!!!!!.... besides I only go to gamestop/ebgames to buy used games and that's it, other than that I rather deal with ebay or other store.....

jdsonic14
jdsonic14

to mrblah00. u know why ppl there dont work there that long? its because they're moving up getting better jobs learning how to communicate with other ppl. they learn new things and they move up. iono where ur from but in the bay area of califoinia, game associates have great management that keep them on top of their stuff and from what i hear, that area is killing in sales and customer service. customers ask questions about games and that is why employees talk. its not like mcdonalds where they ask for specific things on the menu. if u hadnt noticed there are million of games in this gaming industry compared to 20 different ways to die with fastfood.

jdsonic14
jdsonic14

ok im for used games and only because of the return system for them. if u buy halo 3 used and you do not like it, you can bring it back and you get a full refund (cash)! and thats if u dont like it or if it doesnt work within 7 days of purchase. but with new, you open the wrapper, thats it. if you dont like it, all we can do is replace the disk if its defective. you can also sell it back to us for store credit, or cash(need to be 18 or older with ID). i just want to put that out there. there is a big diffrence between buying a game new or used. even though a game is scratched doenst mean it doesnt work, plus u have the option to return the disk for another one withing 30 days from date of purchase. so recap new game cant get money back, but u can trade in used game money back within 7 days, disk replace within 30 days. u can trade these in to plus you save some money. if theres people in here that didnt know about that then im glad i can clear things.

jdsonic14
jdsonic14

to mooseman about the terminations. thats is more then fair. an employee selling a m rated game to a minor is unacceptable. its just like selling cigarettes to minor or alcohol to a minor. it is illegal by law and i would be grateful that its only termination and not jail time added on. R rated dvds or explicit music are sold to minors all the time. i know i lost alot of you but i don't like little kids picking GTA over Dora the explorer.

A7Xfan
A7Xfan

This store really represents gaming extremely well. The clerks do know their stuff and its always a reliable place to have almost any game you could want to purchase. A great store, I'm committed to buying all my games between here and Best Buy. (I prefer to shop at Gamestop if I have the choice though)

infirmaryblues
infirmaryblues

maddog- New games aren't returnable within 30 days; that only applies to used. New is within 7. But apart from that, I'm impressed. You really know your policy. Btw- I'm an SGA at a store

maddog95376
maddog95376

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mooseman721
mooseman721

"We actually have terminated employees for the violations" Bit steep!!!

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

@ IgotNDskillz ... I do that with used games sometimes too haha. If a system is in place, why not try to find a way around it? Or try this one, when there is a trade in two *insert system here* games and get a new one for free look around for two of the cheapest, crappiest games in the store...buy them...wait like 2 hours and go back and trade them in. Or get crappy games from another store and trade them in there. That little trick has got me a lot of "free" games. I just moved to FL from a small corner of NY so any little bit saved is helpful in a big way so I always buy preowned because they're guaranteed to work and with my discount card I save even more scratch. I never buy a used game without a manual though, and the case and cover slip need to be in great condition too. I buy used a lot, but I am always selective.

IgotNDskillz
IgotNDskillz

Man why would you buy a used copy? WHY? I prefer to pay $5 more and get a new sealed copy that is fresh out the package then get a used copy. A new game's goes to the company that sold it. You know where a used game's money goes to? GAMESTOP!!! yes, they pocket $55 from us. That's why they say HEY buy a used copy. I'll buy new copies from gamestop. or better yet. I go buy a used game, beat it in 5 days, and return it and get my money back. That's what I did with twilight princess. I get to play a game and keep my money :) they didn't pockey anything from me, except tax hahaha

dylnuge
dylnuge

GameStop does not "have everything going for them." Their employees are rude and unhelpful, and I really hate their store. I prefer the local BestBuy, Target, or Microcenter to them.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

@ mrkame16 ... What games are good and not good is a matter of opinion 95% of the time. I think WoW sucks so if somebody were to ask me about it I'd tell them not to waste their time with it and to get into something with substance like Lord of the Rings Online. Games being good is a subject that is completely objective. When I worked there and somebody asked me about a game I would tell them what I know about it. If somebody says "what do you recommend?" I would always ask "well what stuff are you into?" Telling people what games are good is like telling people who to vote for. You'll just end up with a ticked off customer. And the only time I've ever even heard of Associates being told to push a certain game verbally was for 25 to Life. And see how good that worked out? Haha. And consider this, most of the young people working at Gamestop are college kids that work a total of 8 hours/week because Gamestop's payroll system is so effed up. I think they need to def fix that and get some more ppl working 40 hrs/week and then everyone in the store will know their crap If the company is doing so good they should be able to do that.

mrkame16
mrkame16

TDN: Quite frankly, focus. What we do, again it goes back to that, that's all we do, 24/7. Our associates are experts. "experts at what? asking people to reserve every freakin thing you ask for? the people that work behind those counters are freaking idiots. they NEVER KNOW SH*t. It used to be fun walking into a gamespot and finding a real gamer behind that counter that actually knew about the game, played it and gave an Honest Opinion, not just a sales pitch, and Yeah! ive heard them dozens of times, tell me people that SH*tty games were good. i know the value of a dollar, I tell people the truth right in front of these gamespot phonies" That game sucks!! dont buy it save your money for something else" people appreciate that.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

Maybe it varies by region/district then, because at the Gamestop I go to they had a little list that showed how many PS2/Wii/360 systems were left that were available for preorder. Also, for games when you pre-order it you are supposed to be guaranteed that game on street date. I've never had it happen differently. As far as shipping goes, that's not normally up to the retail location where they fall on the schedule. Albeit I'm from a relatively small town, but the guy normally showed up between 2 and 3 everyday. For the big game launches they mostly get the product in early and keep it under lock and key until the street date, so those are available at open. Perhaps the people who are complaining are from bigger areas than I, because I've never had a problem getting a pre-ordered game or system on street date.

stalmar
stalmar

I am not a big fan of the pricing policies of Gamestop for used games but I have come to understand them. One thing no one considers when they talk about the profit margin of those traded in games is how often those games will never leave the store again. I do work in a Gamestop and have taken in upwards of 100 games in one day in trade. In that same day I only sold 27 used titles. This is a common trend in the store I work in and happens a majority of the time. So basiclly I took in used games that may never be sold again, ever. In fact of those 100 games that I took in trade a good 15 to 20 percent of them are defective and will be scrapped because they were too damaged. We try to refurb them but about 50% of them are in to bad of shape. Of course as a customer you don't care about those issues, you just think 800% profit when you look at the sticker price. For the most part I do to. But instead of looking at the windfall the Gamestop makes or doesn't make I look at what I am getting out of it. A convenient way to unload some old games that were sitting in my closet. No spending 20 minutes writing up an Ebay ad (I have tried that), no organizing a yard sale (yup did that to), and no playing saleman to my friends until they try to avoid me for fear of my next sales pitch. Now I don't advocate doing trades all the time, I like my games too much and usually I don't think I get a fair enough value on them. I only do it when I can't afford the cool new game and there is no current way of affording it. After all I do work at Gamestop and get paid less than a person on welfare gets from uncle sam.

c_smithii
c_smithii

I fell victim to pre-order scam long ago, back when the PlayStation 2 was first released and I pre-ordered it from Funcoland aka GameStop. Despite my pre-order I was turned away at store opening on launch day in favor of someone who ordered the system from the very beginning date of the pre-order. Had i known I could of just gone to a nearby Target, Best Buy, or Wal-Mart. I could have had my PS2 on launch day. I never pre-ordered a game ever again, its a waste.

mrblah00
mrblah00

Have you even bothered to try and buy a game without a preorder at big stores like Best Buy? You have a much better chance at getting a non-preordered game at Best Buy EARLIER than gamestop. Reason being is that there could be a dozen gamestops in a city, that takes a very long time to ship to. Plus each store only gets a certain amount of games split among them, meaning less games at each store. Best Buy on the other hand may have 1-3 stores in a city, that doesnt take nearly as long to ship to since there isnt as many routes or trips. That means Best Buy usually gets their shipment in the morning, and has very large quanities with each shipment that easily lasts for a few days. Dependiing on the gamespot you preordered at it may not get a shipment until 20 minutes till closing, if at all (I know for a fact that 2 of the gamestops here get their shipments a full day after release because they are last on the shipment list). Preorders are a scam, if people would actually try bigger places like Best Buy then they would realize that its pointless to preorder anything. I fell victim for the preorder BS once and never again, I preordered Doom3 but the stupid gamestop wasnt going to get a shipment in until the next day, I went to Best Buy and they had 3 stands on the floor packed with probably 200 copies (and it was 5 bucks less expensive). Preordering anything other than a console is just stupid, stores these days order way more than enough popular games to cover walk-ins.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

Ok as I have stated now numerous times, I didn't like working for Gamestop. I enjoyed EBGames a lot, it was a great place to work. As somebody posted earlier, Gamestop has a certain amount of convenience to it. I would rather have the convenience of reserving a game and knowing I have a copy on launch date that I can pick up and play on launch date than risk not having a game I want because I wanted to stick it to the man.

Autolycus
Autolycus

feirlessleider --- the point in not reserving is to let Gamestop know you arent putting up w/ their crap. Even the employee Discount is a joke. Used to be 20% now its 15%. GS used to be owned by Barnes and Nobles and since the whole merger (before that actually) B&N got rid of the stock but they STILL give the GS employees a 30% discount all year round. B&N understands you have to spend money to make money, GS does not. its all about profit and margins. i know better then you because i know the system. Don't let some pro-gamestop manager, that has been conned into seeing a different picture, come on this site and tell you otherwise.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

A lot of hate for GameStop here... I'd like to contribute a note: Canada has always had EBgames. Way back since they called themselves Electronic Boutique. That is probably the reason for the hesitant re-branding. It's like how FutureShop is with Bestbuy.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

Oh and something I forgot to mention...if you know you're going to buy a game...why wouldn't you want to take $5 and reserve it? You're not paying any more for it...and there is no way you wouldn't be able to get a copy because it's guaranteed to you. I dunno, I always do it. You know when else I used their reserve system? When I bought my Wii on launch date. Shortages happen with games--especially consoles. By reserving mine I ensured I got one. I think when "The Darkness" came out in the summer I didn't reserve it and decided at the last minute to buy it and it was sold out. I realize now that "The Darkness" didn't deserve any of my money haha but it still shows the value of reserving a game.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

I'm as much of a Socialist as the next guy, but aren't a lot of people forgetting that the US and most other countries are set up in a capitalist system? Supply and demand are what rule the prices set by any retailer. It's said in the article that trade-ins are Gamestop's biggest part of their business because people buy into that. And I'm one of them. And to Chirico_Cuvie, I love reserving games. That way when I put down $5 I know that game is mine when it comes out. Rock Band, for example, I put $60 on last week. With two weeks until it's release I'm gonna put $50 on it each week. That way my wallet doesn't take a huge hit immediately. If I were smarted I would've done it earlier and put less on it for a longer period of time. For us po' people it's like video game layaway.

Autolycus
Autolycus

blah blah blah, 8 years, still make 7.50/hr. gs doesnt care about their associates. they are about the money they bring in. dont let his lies fool you.

Chirico_Cuvie
Chirico_Cuvie

I go out of my way to buy games from other stores than GameStop. The profit margin on used games is insane. As an individual, that $15 dollars you spent pays for itself pretty quickly, but you're still paying them money for something they paid a small fraction of what you are. That used game was $50 with your "discount", but they paid $15 to some sucker for that game. Their pre-order policy is nothing short of extortion. If you didn't pre-order Halo 3, you couldn't buy it from them even though they had it, because they have to make sure the people that pre-ordered it get it first. So I'm in the store with cash in hand, and they refused to sell something they had hundreds of copies of because I chose not to pre-order a game I knew they'd have plenty of anyway. Buy your games from Game Crazy, Game Rush, Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, or any one of your regional stores. Plenty of those stores get the games on day one too, and they don't strong arm you into hint books, memberships, pre-orders, or selling your used games for peanuts.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

@ mrblah00 ... In two of my previous posts I have plainly stated that it sucked working for Gamestop. Working for EBGames was much different (slack on sales goals, spiffs, flexible scheduling, etc). As for my "in the industry" quote, when you work in a specialty shop like a video game store people from the different suppliers will have various marketing campaigns in which they will give out free stuff to employees at the stores that sell their goods. With video games stores you get some pretty decent stuff...art books, shirts, hats, keychains, figures, etc. And then there are the leftovers from pre-order specials. They don't throw that stuff away. At the EB store I frequented in my hometown (and later worked at) I walked out of that store with stuff nearly every time I went in. That is why it pays to know people "in the industry." Yes, even the retail-games industry.

mrblah00
mrblah00

"but I choose to go there because I like building a report with people I deal with (and there's always something to gain having friends in the industry), " People who work at gamestop are "in the industry"? Lord almighty. Theyre just gamestop cashiers, they arent going to be working there very long anyways (hopefully), its literally no different than a job at Mcdonalds (well, I bet Mcdonalds has better benifets). Really, I dont understand where people are getting pride in working for gamestop, gamestop does NOT care about you, you are just an expendeble cashier. Youre all customers as much as anyone else. Why should gamestop employees care when someone says something bad about gamestop? You dont see mcdonalds employees getting all defensive when someone says their burgers taste like crap. Get a grip people, its a clerk job at gamestop, not a board position, gamestop is just using you until its time for a raise (and then its bye bye).

legendbyname
legendbyname

I wish Gamestop ran more specials in their store. Like the buy 2 games get one free deal at Toys R' us. Besides that and the ridiculously low IQ required to work there, i don't have a problem with Gamestop.

StillWingless
StillWingless

The used prices are all about profit. Buy a discount card if you don't like it. Sure, you have to drop $15 today, but it'll help you in the long-run. Newer games can drop as much as $10 when you buy them used with a card, rather than the $5 that's being complained about. Also: most stores have shrink-wrap machines in the back. If it really bothers you so much, please request that we re-wrap it for you. It takes, like... 3 minutes.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

@ munsoned ... The only copies of games that are opened (or "gutted" as they call it) are the floor copies. Normally this is no more than two copies for new games, and sometimes only one. The only reason a store would sell you a copy they gutted is if they were sold out and only had the floor copies left. Do you find pleasure in taking off the pain-in-the-ass shrink-wrap? Because I don't. But I effing love bubble-wrap.

munsoned
munsoned

a question ied love to ask gamestop is, why do u open all ur new games and sell them to me at full price?then sell used games 5 bucks of new prices?

Pedro7_2000
Pedro7_2000

Their "associates" are decent, but the convenience and title availability ON the street date are the biggest benefits for me.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

There is something to be said about the convenience of the local Gamestop. It's true that with time, they have given less for trades and sold preowned games for more, but you just need to keep an eye out for their trade-in specials to get a little more value out of it. I'd say Gamestop is more about convenience than value, that's for sure, but I think the most positive part about it are some of the older titles that would have otherwise been lost to the confines of my mind if it weren't for their preowned section. They have their pluses and minuses.

feirlessleider
feirlessleider

@ Space-Q You're lucky you could find a sucker to buy those games off you for $55. Most people would want to spend the extra $5 and have the good ol' retail guarantee that it's in good working order. Or with the Gamestop discount card you get another $5 off so you're paying $50 for a guaranteed to work, no b.s., used game. Besides if I tried selling a game to one of my friends they'd want some kind of a friend discount haha. And I def wouldn't buy something from someone/store I didn't know or trust. And BTW, I'm not some Gamestop fanboy or anything haha. I'm at work and get bored really easy so I check boards a lot and I chose this one for the day ^_^