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.

GamesIndustry.biz 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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