Retailer and Tech Developer Battle Over Used Games

At the ongoing Develop Conference in the UK, a representative from GameStop Sweden and the CEO of a new company attempting to make games as easy to play and share online as YouTube videos got into a bit of a dustup over used games. details the flare-up between GameStop’s Niall Lawlor and InstantAction chief Louis Castle. Lawlor told Castle that the used game business helps GameStop preserve its margins, but that, “We don’t like being in the used business, it’s very difficult to manage.”

Lawlor said that without used game sales, GameStop would not be in business.

Castle answered that selling used games would quicken the demise of brick-and-mortar stores, adding, “While you’re preserving some margins, used is accelerating changes. He continued, "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.”

Castle previously labeled retail stores as a “parasite,” which “abused the industry horribly.” When asked if his new venture would kill physical store locations Castle replied, “I hope so.”

In related news, the company who supplies Gamestop, Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and Toys “R” Us (among others) with the technology needed to manage their used games business is close to releasing an app that will let iPone users administer their own personal game inventory. Game Trading Technologies’ GameBook Mobile application will let users scan in their game inventory, locate stores and, perhaps most importantly, track the market values of games in real time to see if they are trending up or down, allowing users to make trade-in decisions accordingly.

President Todd Hays said that the app would let users, “make timely, well informed trade-in decisions for every title, system, and accessory they own.”

No release date for the app was provided.

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  1. 0
    questionmark1987 says:

    Rather then comparing other mediums let’s stick within games. Game rental establishments actually purchase their games and movies from a special type of seller. This gives them special licenses to rent out the movies and games. I know because I grew up in a small town with a rental shop owner and she showed me the weekly order book she received. It included other supplies (plastic cases, etc.) but also listings for new movies and games. I noted that at the time a new game for me at walmart (the only game retailor in my area) was about $50 on launch day. For her to buy a single copy of the same game for rental it was $65 to $70 because of the increased cost for the rental license. Are books the same? I don’t know, but I hazard a guess it is something similar, an increased up front cost to compensate for the rental.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Libraries pay wholesale(possibly retail) prices for the books they lend, but do not pay anything more. So the publishers/authors do get compensated for the initial sale, but the right of First Sale allows for libraries to lend those copies without further compensation to the publisher/author.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  3. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    I was under the impression that book publishers were in fact compensated for books being used in libraries.  I’m unsure of the mechanics of it, but I would assume it’s similar to the tax you pay if you want to play music at some event (weddings for example (and it costs more if you let people dance!)).

    All the money from it gets stuck in some fund and distributed to the various publishers (using some arcane methodology to work out who gets how much I’m sure).

    Chris Kimberley

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