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Sony No Longer Sells PS4 Digital Game Codes At Retail, But GameStop Doesn't Seem To Care

GameStop executive explains why Sony's big move won't have much of an impact on the company's bottom line.


Late last month, it emerged that Sony would no longer offer PS4 game codes at retailers like GameStop and others beginning April 1. The thinking followed that GameStop and other affected brick-and-mortar stores would take a hit as a result. While it's too early to say for sure, GameStop believes the move by Sony won't have much of a negative impact.

Speaking on an earnings call today, GameStop CFO Rob Lloyd, who was involved in discussions with Sony about the change, said the majority of digital games bought at GameStop in fact come from point cards, not full-game download codes.

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"Most of the sales of full-game downloads ... at retail come in the form of currency," he said. "So the move by Sony to go back to the currency model, we don't expect it to have a material impact on our results because we'll continue to sell that currency."

GameStop is uniquely positioned to sell virtual currency thanks to its buy-sell-trade model, Lloyd said. He also said buying virtual currency at a physical retailer is also attractive for people who want to use cash, or those who are are unwilling or unable to use a credit card on the internet to buy directly from Sony or theoretically other digital stores.

Sony only stopped supplying full-game codes to GameStop and other retailers on April 1, so it's certainly too early to say if the change will indeed have any material impact on the bottom lines of affected retailers.

GameStop recently reported earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year, and it could have gone better; for the full year, GameStop lost $673 million. The retailer also said it expects next-generation consoles to possibly be announced or released soon.

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