I’m not gonna lie. I hate GameStop. Let me just get that out on the table right now. There’s something about giving them a game for a fraction of the price that I paid and watching them turn around and mark it up 300% that really pisses me off. They still manage to get me into their store, though… mainly because its closer to my house than Best Buy. Sometimes they’ll have a deal that I can’t pass up so I’ll make my way there thinking it’s my way of sticking it to them. “HAH! I’m gonna rip YOU off, GameStop!” A lot of times I’ll get there and either the clerk doesn’t know what deal I’m talking about, or I missed some bullshit fine print that disqualifies me from doing the deal the way I wanna do it. Maybe that’s my own fault, but I don’t care… I still hate GameStop. That’s more of a rant, though really… not what I was planning to talk about here.
Last week Destructoid wrote about GameStop’s soon-to-come sales of DLC items. It was kind of an interesting thought when DLC started becoming a more popular way to distribute games. What would happen to used game sales if everything was digitally distributed? It seems it would eventually eliminate the option for consumers to buy used. It would force them to either buy the new full priced download, or not and just go play it at a buddy’s house. What would happen to the brick and mortar retailers of new games? I figure in that case there really wouldn’t be a need for them anymore, and use game stores would fade further and further into the past as time moved on. While I enjoy the ability to switch downloaded games without having to walk my lazy ass six feet across the room to change discs, I do like having a physical copy with a real case and instruction book. What happens to all that? Well thankfully I think we’re still a long ways from new games being purely distributed digitally via download, but it seems GameStop is starting to think about how they’ll transition into that scenario.
At first, my hatred for GameStop made me annoyed to see that they were going to start getting their grubby little hands into DLC sales. Who in the hell needs to go over to GS to pay the same price for the same game that they could much more easily just throw into their download queue and be done with it? THAT IS STUPID!
… But then I thought more about it and remembered when Amazon started selling some of the Xbox Live Arcade titles. Occasionally (though not nearly as often as I had hoped) they will have a deal on one of the XBLA titles that you can’t get buying directly though Xbox. It also gave people a way to buy one of those titles as a gift for someone else. Thinking about these positives made me actually like the sound of GameStop’s new venture. I just hope to see them actually run promotional deals on the DLC items, because that and gifting are the only reasons I would ever drive over there to buy one from them.
Even at that, though, I don’t see this as the savior of the brick and mortar store in the world of purely DLC retailing. For this to keep them in business they would have to run deals on every game and/or just hope that everyone was out there buying games for someone else. Maybe the physical instruction book would still be enough to draw a lot of people in. Or maybe I’m just putting too much thought into it, really.
What do you think? Are you as big of a GameStop fan as me? Do you want to see them start selling DLC? What direction do you see the video game retail heading? Do you like Cheetos? Chime in.