Don't Expect As Many Free Pack-In Games This Year, GameStop Predicts

You may not see as many new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware bundles this year, video game retailer says.

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Speaking today during a post-earnings financial call, GameStop COO Tony Bartel said gamers should not expect to see as many new hardware bundles that come with free games in 2015 as they did last year.

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"Based on our discussions with publishers and platform-holders, these pack-in programs will be significantly reduced in 2015," Bartel said.

In 2014, Microsoft and Sony offered various hardware bundles. Microsoft sold Xbox Ones with free copies of Assassin's Creed Unity (and Black Flag), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Sunset Overdrive. Meanwhile, Sony sold PlayStation 4 bundles with free pack-ins such as Destiny and The Last of Us, among others.

Bartel said GameStop's overall new software sales took a hit last year due to these bundles. Citing an NPD study, Bartel said as much as $250 million was lost in physical sales as a result.

"We believe that new software sales were impacted in the latter part of 2014 as many games were given away as subsidized marketing incentives in next-generation hardware bundles," he said.

Microsoft just this month launched a new Xbox One Master Chief Collection bundle. So bundles aren't going away entirely (as evidenced by the number of bundles currently being offered at GameStop), but Bartel sees them as making up a smaller piece of the pie this year compared to last.

Currently, Xbox One and PS4 free game bundles--in the case of the Master Chief Collection and The Last of Us bundles--cost the same as a standard console. That's $350 for Xbox One and $400 for PS4.

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Also during the presentation, the retailer shared some data from an upcoming DFC Intelligence report. It claims that, of the total number of AAA games sold in North America last year, 88 percent were physical and 12 percent were digital.

Of that 12 percent, 60 percent were given away through hardware bundles, while 40 percent were paid for.

Overall, when factoring in total unit sales of AAA games in 2014 (physical and digital), paid-for downloaded games made up just 2 percent of all units, according to the study.

The full DFC Intelligence study will be released later this year.

Earlier today, GameStop reported earnings for the fourth quarter and full-year. Check out GameSpot's full report for everything you need to know.

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