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GameStop: without second hand sales we wouldn't be here

Retailer claims it doesn't like being in the used sales business, as Louis Castle brands practice "thievery"

GameStop has admitted that without the used games business it wouldn't be able to compete in the retail sector at all.

Niall Lawlor of GameStop Sweden made the statement at today's Develop Conference in Brighton, when he challenged InstantAction CEO Louis Castle during his keynote on adapting to digital distribution.

Castle repeated comments he'd made to GamesIndustry.biz earlier in the year that retail's focus on used sales was "parasitic", adding that selling second hand games right next to brand new copies felt like "thievery".

"We discovered the used business was a way of preserving our margins," Lawlor told Castle. "We don't like being in the used business, it's very difficult to manage.

"If we hadn't got the used business we wouldn't be there.

"We like to think GameStop evangelises the business," he added. "We're still opening more stores, we're still pushing the industry. We have to be in it otherwise if you take a look at our margins you'd realise we need to be in used."

But Castle said that he was "specifically angry at Walmart and GameStop" and that selling used games accelerated the decline of the bricks and mortar business, although publishers were loathe to admit it as they still need retail partners.

"While you're preserving some margins, used is accelerating changes," he said. "I can see the train wreck, it's coming. Pretty soon everyone is losing money. Used is accelerating the decline of profitability for publishers. The oxygen is being sucked out of the room."

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.