Ready at Dawn Boss: GameStop Makes a Living at the Expense of Everyone Else

GameStop is taking everybody for a ride with the pre-owned games market, according to Ready at Dawn Studios boss Ru Weerasuriya. And by everybody he means developers and publishers. Speaking to GII, the head of the studio for God of War: Chains of Olympus and upcoming game The Order: 1886, thinks retailers like GameStop are making "a living at the expense of everybody else."

"I think the problem is right now there are retail outlets that are really taking everybody for a ride," said Ru Weerasuriya in an interview with GII. "You can't make a living at the expense of everybody else. Unfortunately, they're not just making a living at the expense of developers but also the consumers because the consumers will see less and less games come out if developers can't get revenue to make more new titles and keep going as a business."

To his credit, Weerasuriya doesn't want to put whatever solution he imagines for this issue on the backs of consumers:

"I think this is something we need to curb on the retail side," said Weerasuriya. "We're putting the consumers in an awkward spot and we shouldn't have to."

"Why should [customers] be the ones to deal with a flawed system?" asked Weerasuriya concerning flawed systems like the one Microsoft had planned for Xbox One. "They are the guys we do this for. They are the ones who should be able to benefit the most from being able to buy it."

At the end of it all, Weerasuriya thinks that retailers should be required to give some of the revenue from pre-owned sales back to publishers and developers. He doesn't think the used games market should be eliminated either.

Source: GII by way of GameSpot


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    faefrost says:

    You know, the more that I read comments from people like this dude, or Epics Cliffy B, the more I think that they really really really should include some basic economics and business management classes as mandatory in any Computer Science or programing education. Especially if you are doing some sort of game design specialty degree. No really. You guys are supposed to be so good at math. Try doing some instead of buying into the hype.

    I can't believe I am being forced into a position to defend Gamestop. They have more than enough evil to come down on them typically. But in this case they are right and these developers are wrong. The problem is not that Gamestop is exploiting or making money on the backs of the hard working devs. The problem is that the devs and publishers fail to grasp the core exchange of a free market. The fact that consumers are flocking to Gamestops used game bins is not because Gamestop is undercutting the developers or stealing from their work. It is because the games as new are so far overpriced that the cost of them grossly exceeds the purchasers perceived value of the product. In short the games are priced too high than what the general public is willing to pay. The publishers (and by extension devs) can adjust costs on their end, but because of the artificial and collusive nature of video game prices their really is no way for the consumers to apply normal market forces in order to reduce or seek better prices or prices more akin to their fair appraisal of value. The used Games Market is how they attempt to rebalance that equation from their end.

    From the consumers side the real draw is not the ability to purchase used games at slightly reduced prices. The big thing is the ability to sell back or trade in other or older games for credit, thereby reducing the costs of their next new game. Bringing the price of that new game closer to what they feel its value is. Eliminating used games cuts consumers out of this. The end result will not be more money to game makers. It will be grossly reduced sales. Because the core problem has not been addressed. $59 is too high for the value returned from modern AAA games. Point blank.

    And this is 100% the fault of the developers. Much like we have seen in the string of Hollywood bombs this year, games suffer in the same way. They pour more money into making the games. In many many cases pointlessly pour money in. With a rapidly declining chance of returning it via sales. When your AAA game based on one of the worlds best known franchises must sell 5 million copies to be considered successful or profitable, you are doing it wrong. When a large part of that cost is development of an extra special new graphics engine for flipping hair physics you should all be fired.

    If you want used game sales to go away, its very simple. Spend less making them. Reduce the cost of new games to the consumer by 30-50%. (And while you are at it, increase the profit margin to your brick and mortar retail sellers to something greater than 2% per sale. The reason Gamestop pushes the used games is that your publishers take gross advantage on them with the new. Your new games do not leave them enough margin to pay rent otherwise. Considering that 90% of your sales still requires these brick and mortar stores, this is generally viewed as an even bigger d–k move than what you accuse them of.)

    The whole "Used Games are stealing from Developers" is a great story. But if you actually sit down and follow the numbers. And follow the money. You suddenly realize that no used games are just another symptom of the fiscal mismanagement that plagues publishers and developers. Not the source of the money problems. Decrying used games sales is attempting to paper over the real problem. That costs have so escalated that games cost more than they are worth.

  2. 0
    Zen says:

    Completely agree Sam.  I buy a game, or my car, house, is mine to do with as I please (as long as that doesn't break another law). I have my collection which was built up from both new and used games.  Comics, music, toys…all done the same way.  

    He got upset about the used game offer, but funny he says nothing about when they ask you to reserve a new game, or to trade in an old game and also offer a bonus of some sort if you but it right towards a new game.  You know…the games he wants to sell.  Gamestop (or any store/person that sells things) would be willing to buy items from people if they couldn't turn around and sell it themselves.  

  3. 0
    Sam-LibrarIan Witt says:

    "At the end of it all, Weerasuriya thinks that retailers should be required to give some of the revenue from pre-owned sales back to publishers and developers."

    That will never happen with the existence of the First Sale Doctrine. Otherwise used car lots would have to give a portion back to automakers and Half Price Books would have to give a cut to publishers/authors. This totally flies in the face of what it means to own something.

Leave a Reply