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Retail

EB Games abolishes used games section - report

Wed 23 Nov 2011 10:49am GMT / 5:49am EST / 2:49am PST
Retail

Sources say employees are being told to conceal new games behind used copies

Canada's EB Games, which is part of the US retail giant GameStop, is making plans to remove the distinction between new and used games.

According to internal documents sent to Kotaku by an employee of EB Games, used games will soon be priced with the same white stickers applied to new products.

The source also claimed that, for games where new and used versions are available, EB employees are being instructed to "hide" new copies behind used copies.

Kotaku has approached EB Games for comment, and the story has been corroborated by a separate source within the company.

"We were told that we were to merge all used games with the new games and have them sectioned off by one of four specific genres they gave us," the source said.

"They told us that the new copy must be on the very bottom of the pile and the used ones stacked on top and that we were to change all price stickers to the white ones."

The source said that the price stickers still feature the words "New" or "Used", but suggested that these new measures will make it more difficult for the average customer to tell them apart.

25 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,022 0.7
And what will the publishers do? Given that most regard the second hand sales market as worse than piracy (if only because second hand is legitimate, piracy is not), will publishers stand up for themselves and the industry? Will they say No, this is not fair to developers, publishers or consumers?

Why do I think the answer will be no?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
Publishers should pool some money, buy GameStop and directly control the used games market. This allows them to track used sales, profit off used sales and reimburse developers for used sales.

For GameStop it is an all new low though. They are already 10 more expensive than any other shop.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
Failing buying up Gamestop, which probably isn't a bad idea, the publishers need to stop pandering to them. Stop giving preorder or special edition exclusives. Stop paying for in store marketing and promenant shelf space. Don't offer any discounts. Worse comes to worse, just refuse to sell new stock to them so they are only a second hand store.
Even if you are of the view that offering second hand is their because the customer wants it, there is no way tricking the customer into buying second hand is good to the customer, and you can bet the already small difference in price will be further erroded. Hopefully anyone buying used by mistake has some legal comeback, even if the sticker says "used" there seems to be an element of "passing off" if they are purposefully trying to fool customers, although not sure what the Canadian stance is on that.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Craig Burkey
Software Engineer

148 105 0.7
I think publishers should consider running their own "buy back/partex" schemes to reduce the number of used copies in circulation

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
There is an even simpler solution to this - custom shrink wrap on boxes, so impossible to make used look like new product.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Mark Raymond
Gamer; Consumer; Blogger

40 0 0.0
Gamestop and GAME and their like are dinosaurs. It's why GAME's stock price has plummeted today and Gamestop is attempting to reap as much profit in the short term before things go completely digital, which can't be that far away at all.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,022 0.7
I, personally, see no reason why major publishers shouldn't start withdrawing support for EB/Gamestop/Game, explicitly stating it's due to the second hand market. If the publishers are losing as much money as they have claimed in the past to the second hand market, then they are actually fools not to. It's an incredibly symbiotic relationship the two sides have, but publishers actually have more power - without them, bricks-and-mortar stores will have even less income, even less promotional material, and will lose even more money. Yes, I'm well-aware that stores are needed, but publishers have alternate outlets - Amazon, Steam, Origin, GMG - whereas stores are wholly reliant on the publishers to ship games to them.

And it's not like something similar hasn't been done before, just in reverse: wasn't it Game who were rumoured to have told publishers to not allow pre-orders of certain games on Steam or they wouldn't stock the games in question?

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
While it would hurt their short-term profits, I agree with Andrew that publishers should stand up to GameStop, excommunicate them and give their business to, for example, Blockbuster or the supermarkets instead.

GameStop and to a lesser extent GAME may be undermining publishers' profits by putting too much onus on the pre-owned market, but if, say, next Winter you had to shop elsewhere to buy Black Ops 2, Medal of Honor 2, Assassin's Creed 3, Just Dance 4 etc, I'm sure they would accept that they need to work with publishers rather than against them as far as pre-owned is concerned.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Alex Byrom
Studying Multiplayer Online games design

33 0 0.0
Game shops are going to become a thing of the past, yes pre-owned shops and specialist (import) shops will still be there but it won't be too far in the future when we buy all our games from supermarkets, online stores and steaming services. If you youtube ZeroWhistleBlower you get a very interesting take from a gamestop employee, original video missing.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Tom Pickard
Lead Environment Artist - Campaign Map

308 382 1.2
This will just lead to way more "splitting" of games, release the bare minimum on a disk and make each individual account have to reliquish a code and download/unlock the rest, new copies have the code in the box... used games you need to pay 20 for the remainder of the game code (this code price could go down with the age of the game 1year 20, >2 years 12 >5 years 5).

Its not a nice thing and bad for the consumers who don't realise or care that the shop is making more money than a dev for a game, but a few big publishers will soon try it and it would work... It would also drive down the cost of second hand trade in value..

Or we could get to the stage of proper digital distribution on consoles.... With a full Steam esq system not some crap "download once" type deal....

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Michael Sklavounos
Technical Game Designer

1 0 0.0
Isn't there a law against this? It seems way too misleading and shady for them to be able to pull it off. There are other stores out there that sell games, I'll be shifting my business elsewhere and advising my friends and family to do the same.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@Tom. Xbox 360 live content has never been download once. I don't know about PSN, as I only ever got the free games after the hack thing.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

West Clendinning
Senior/Lead Artist

22 4 0.2
Pretty much any product in the world today can be sold and traded on a second hand market; privately or through specialist stores. And many companies have survived hundreds of years in this market. Why should games be any different?

If the publishers don't like the way things are going, then they should do something about it ( ala, steam )
or stop complaining. Complaining is only barley less futile than praying.

Seems like everyday I am reading about some studio, CEO, or journalist going on at length about Hackers, Piracy and Second-hand sales. For damn sake, harden up, and get on with it!

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Gary Lucero
QA Analyst, Advanced

27 6 0.2
The problem as I see it is not that you can buy or sell used games, it's that:

1) EBGames would try to fool consumers by mixing new and used. People have the right to be able to choose and stores should go out of their way to distinguish one from the other.

2) That consumers are actually willing to spend almost exactly the same amount for used as for new.

I personally do sell my used games and I buy them, but I generally do it through Amazon where I get more bang for my buck. If I use Gamestop I do trades using special offers where the differential between them and Amazon is much smaller.

Again, as a consumer I have a right to buy and sell used, but stores should be more honest then just mixing them together.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
@Michael can't comment on canada, but suspect this would be a trading standards issue in the UK if buyers likely to confuse second hand product as new.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Tamir Ibrahim
Programmer

74 54 0.7
The first, and much more important, step in my opinion is to tackle the rental market. I always see articles and discussion abut the second hand market, but it's a complicated issue and not one that is going t be solved any time soon, not one that anyone has actually managed to come up with a decent solution for anyway.

Rentals on the other seem like it should be easy to modify. Companies that plan on renting games, must pay a premium. There is alread a precedent with movies. It really can't be that hard to push for this can it?

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Kieren Bloomfield
Software Engineer

88 71 0.8
The reason why publishers won't stop supporting EB around here (Vancouver) is because they are the only dedicated games store we have downtown. What with the HMV closing down we're fast running out of places we can walk in and buy games. I'm going to have to start buying online and waiting for a week for Canada Post to get me my games now...

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,022 0.7
@West Clendinning

I have no problem with second hand sales, and I'm (kind of) sure that publishers don't have one in theory. The problem comes when large multi-national High Street stores focus on second hand to the detriment of brand new. Having the independent specialist shops selling a second hand copy of MW3 because little Jimmy got 2 copies by accident is one thing. Having EB *and* Gamestop *and* Gamestation *and* HMV *and* Game selling it for almost the same price as new is pushing second hand sales into the mainstream. And it's even worse when it's recent game - I saw Arkham City second hand in HMV a few days ago. It's only been out on consoles a month; that can't be healthy for the publisher/developer.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
To add to that, I see second hand bookstores, and second hand music stores, but they rarely operate in the same building as selling new stuff. They arn't charging publishers for promotion only to use that promotion to sell a second hand copy. There is a massive conflict of interest when the guys who are supposed to sell your product agressively try to talk people out of buying the new copy that you went in to buy.
As for actively trying to confuse customers into buying second hand, and hiding new copies, how is that at all positive to consumers or the publishers they are supposed to be working with?

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

337 103 0.3
@West

I don't believe any publisher/developer has complained about eBay or other person to person sale.

It is the fact the largest specialist games retailer is ordering less new copies from a Publisher because they know they can sell a used copy many times over and they are pushing those used copies before the new ones which cost only slightly less than a new copy.

That is the issue, not little Timmy selling his copy of Game X on eBay where they know it is a used copy and they aren't a big international seller.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
As I've said elsewhere, the industry has no one to blame but itself about losing money on used games. I'm glad to see others here had the same idea I had about 15 years or so ago about publishers spending time and money on a smart trade-in program. There area bunch of trading sites, forums and swap meets all over the place, so it's almost useless to go into an EB Games or Gamestop if you know where to look.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Blair Hewitt
owner/operator

4 1 0.3
How long can the chains keep biting the hand that feeds them with no repurcusions?

As an independant store owner that struggles to keep up with demand of new titles, It is hard for me to believe that the developers/publishers would keep providing the support to these retail chains. Through my distributors I recieve no promotional material and getting the ever exclusive Pre-order bonuses (unless you order from major chain X) is next to impossible. I have to constantly disappoint my customers, most of which want to buy new over used, with the fact that I cant get a specific title or special edition because I dont belong to a major chain.

Now that they are making a direct effort to confuse new from used (except for the $5 cheaper price), the developers/publishers need to be cut these chains off from their unfair monopoly, Because ultimately it is the Consumers that have to suffer.

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Mike Kennedy
Founder | CEO

20 2 0.1
This plays into our advantage as we are slowly gaining publisher support for our upcoming online markeplace, which rebates them considerably for used game sales [link url=http://www.ParcelGamer.com.]http://www.ParcelGamer.com.[/link]

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Craig Page
Programmer

381 216 0.6
The worst part is their used games are only about 10% cheaper than getting it new. Hmmmm, $60 new or $54 used? Ya I want to save $6 to buy some scratched up disk that they won't take back because they claim not to sell scratched disks.

F#$k you EBGames!!

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Reilly Davis

17 0 0.0
yeah why is it when i get games off ebay there always mint condition, where when i go to eb games and get a pre owned title it is so scratched its unplayable, i cant believe these shotty tactics hiding new games from the consumer is just criminal.

Posted:2 years ago

#25

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