Employees Claim EB Canada is Dropping Preowned Sections

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Employees Claim EB Canada is Dropping Preowned Sections

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A rumor's going 'round that EB Games in Canada is doing away with its stand-alone preowed games section and will instead mixed used with new, with new games hidden under used copies.

It's an entirely unconfirmed rumor at this point but "internal documents" obtained by Kotaku would seem to indicate that EB Games in Canada [which is owned by GameStop] is doing away with separate pre-owned games sections. Instead, all the games will be kept together and pre-owned games will be priced with the same standard stickers as new games, rather than the distinctive yellow stickers with which they're currently adorned.

That in itself doesn't sound too terribly awful, aside from the obvious potential for confusion, but according to the insider employee there's a bit more to it than just that. He claims that stores have been told to ditch all signage advertising used games and to place used copies of games on top of new ones on the shelves. That won't affect those of us who are aware of the difference between new and used and know which we want, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going to happen when sweet Aunt Petunia goes in to pick up a copy of Saints Row the Third for her favorite little snookums.

EB has yet to confirm the report but a second person claiming to be an employee also contacted the site with a similar story. "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," he wrote. "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. They also instructed us to discard all materials advertising used games. Now the stickers do have the words NEW or USED on them but no one looks at that."

While I certainly don't mean to suggest that such sleazy behavior couldn't happen, I do feel compelled to put forward an alternate theory. Most, if not all, EB Games outlets in Canada are switching over to the GameStop brand, a process which means new signage and, sooner or later, a hell of a mess when the trigger is finally pulled. As someone who's done this dance a few times over the years, I wouldn't be at all surprised if stores were being told to condense sections to accommodate the changeover, even if the timing is a little suspect. It's quite possible that the reports are accurate, yet not nearly as sinister as they sound.

Any EB/GameStop Canada employees out there who can offer some insight on this? Feel free to drop me a line and fill in the blanks. In the meantime, consider yourself warned: pay attention to what you're doing if you're doing it at EB.

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-Sigh-

Welcome to the situation in England. More or less. Although they do seem to be taking it to a new extreme here.

Both Game and GameStation, while still having dedicated second hand sections routinely mix new and used copies together on the same shelf.

The second-hand sections contain older titles you can't find new anyway, and the other section contains a more or less random mix of new & used games.

The only dedicated 'new only' section is PC games, and then only because you can't really sell second-hand PC games. (Although, believe it or not, Gamestation does. - Which came as a huge surprise to me.)

Why do I feel like in the cold war going on between retailers and games makers over used sales, we consumers in the middle get screwed with each new move they make...

Ugh. I wasn't EB/Gamestop's biggest fan to begin with. If this is true then I'll never buy anything there again.

You mean now Aunt Petunia will actually have to learn to READ the stickers!?!
THOSE FIENDS!

Nope, leaving EB Games if this happens. I only buy used games there, because I don't buy PC games in stores, and I only have an original Xbox, so I can't buy new, so used is my only option.

I'm sorry. I never liked the idea of shops actively advertising used games market, but that's just... uggh.

I think it's about time someone would come up with some legal regulation for sale of pre-owned games that forces shops to distinguish those from new copies in a clear and obvious way, keep them on separate, labelled shelf and maybe even double check with customer before selling the product. This is borderline false advertising.

Way to make sure even more game content will fall under online passes due to moves like this.

This isn't true as far as I know. I know the manager of the EB games in town here and there was no word about them ditching used games.

Please fact check the subnote on rebranding EB games in canada to Gamestop

Why us Aunt Petunia buying an M rated game for her "little Snookums".

That said, I think it might also be a conveinence device as much as anything. Really the only time this is going to be an issue is if someone buys a used game that has a "Project $10" type code attached to it which can't be redeemed, and that isn't considered part of the price. Gamestop/EB generally guarantees their used games, and the used ones tend to go for at least $5 less.

Come the holiday season your going to see a lot of people coming into the stores who indeed don't know much about used games, spot the new games right off the bat since they are usually the closest, grab the title they want, and don't know they can get a used copy that can be returned if it doesn't work for $5-$10 less fairly easily.

To be honest unless it's a brandy new game, or one I know has a code, I'll admit that one of the first things I do is check to see if they have a used copy. This style of organization makes that VERY easy to find out, without having to paw through a whole section of used games that are out of order due to other people pawing through them.

I think the pros and cons pretty much even out here. A lot of this also depends on the workers not assisting the customers, and honestly during the holiday rush where they hire a lot of extra people this might not be an issue, especially seeing as their standard practice is to ask someone if they want to get extended protection on their used game when someone buys a used game... and unless they are being told to omit that part of the process, you can't argue malevolent intent at all... and honestly I find the standardized questions (asked in case a manager or someone is listening) to be the most annoying part of buying at Gamestop so it isn't like it's something they tend to blow off actually (since I've found myself wishing they would more than once).

So... They're trying to reduce new sales and increase used sales?
So... They're trying to fuck over every single dev team on earth... good god people, what the fuck? Thankfully this is a rumour and hopefully nothing more, but I don't even get why they would do this. Are used sales THAT much more profitable to them? I thought they were about the same value to them.

PS
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Is... Is that an image in that captcha? ...What?

ph0b0s123:
Why do I feel like in the cold war going on between retailers and games makers over used sales, we consumers in the middle get screwed with each new move they make...

Because you're far more perceptive than either the retailers or the producers give us credit.

Bloody double posts...

Somehow I really doubt that that is actually true. It kind of seems a little insane since then they will have half a store of empty shelves. Its not like they can magically pull games out of their asses to fill up those spots. Of all the EBs I have been in about half of the shelf space is taken up by used games and half by new games. If they condense this then at most the two combined will take up around 3/4 of the shelves.

Smart business strategy.

But I doubt it'll happen. Will cause confusion, which will result in angry/confused customers, which will be bad since they'll end up just going to other game stores.

I don't see why publishers tolerate the used game market at all. I think it's silly that they worry so much about PC game piracy while doing nothing to stop the sale of used games. From a business point of view, used games are worse than piracy, since with piracy there is no way to know if the pirate would have bought the game, but with used-games they are typically paying 80% of the new price, so each one really is a lost sale.

By the way, I'm not condoning piracy at all by comparing it to used-games. I'm glad that PC game makers are finding ways to overcome piracy, because that means more support for the developers that make great games. I just wish they would apply the same logic to the used-games market, figure out a DRM solution that fights the problem while not getting in the way of legitimate users. I guess the other idea is to force companies like gamestop to give them a cut of used game sales.

If this is true all I can say is GOOD! Fuck the publishers and developers right up their fat over entitled asses. If they want to bitch and moan about used game sales then I say give them something proper to bitch about. If I were Gamestop I'd go a step further and put ALL new games behind the counter and only sell them to people who specifically asked for them.

@isometry
They tolerate it because they have to. There hasn't been a court case anywhere saying that used game sales are illegal, so instead they have to dodge it by doing what they are doing with the Day 1 DLC, and Project 10 Dollar

OT:
I find this to be a little shady considering that every used game store in the history of used game stores has kept used and new games apart and they were CLEARLY labeled differently so you would know one was new and the other was used. Now it seems they just want to get new game prices for used game.

Reading the whole story, I'm not totally convinced this is shady business dealings as opposed to, say, a really poorly-timed move to facilitate the company's changing of hands.

I think many gamers are super-sensitive to this kind of thing and may be hitting the 'corruption' button too quick. I mean, look at the source of the info - two anonymous employees of the franchise, one of whom merely claimed to be one with no confirmation given and one with non-specific 'insider documents'. We're not even given what the employees' positions are in the company, or what these 'insider documents' say. This could just be a prank for all we know right now.

I look at it this way: Gamestop (which EBGames Canada is soon becoming) is already the go-to physical store for used games, to the point where many dev companies have outright stated that Gamestop is the enemy. It already has a successful business model with their current set-up. Why would it risk upsetting their customers (which are also one of their allies against the Project Ten Dollar business model) and making itself look shady by pulling this kind of stunt?

It's possible, sure, but I'm not convinced. I'm not calling anything 'til something more solid surfaces. After all (and I'm probably paraphrasing someone else), one should not assume an act is malicious when it could just as well have been just plain stupid or incompetent.

DVS BSTrD:
You mean now Aunt Petunia will actually have to learn to READ the stickers!?!
THOSE FIENDS!

Why would she read the price label. She may be unaware they even stock pre-owned.

I had someone try to buy a game from me today which had the yellow sticker and all and wasn't even aware it was pre-owned until I showed her the disk to check she was happy with the condition. She then figured out they were pre-owned got annoyed, flustered, (perhaps embarrassed/outraged as she went a little pink in the face)and left the store.

If you never/rarely buy games it's safe to assume you're unaware of pre-owned.

Okay, I'll agree that if they're mixing the two sections together is kind of a dick move. I mean, like someone said, the only problem would be that now people will have to actually READ the labels before buying a game (As if that wasn't a problem before; I'm a Gamestop employee here in the US and every week, someone walks to me ans asks me if a game is used or new. Then I point to the label and they still don't get it...-sigh-)

They should just leave it as it is. What's the point behind all this? To confuse people and get them into buying a game that may or may not be used/new? And if people DO read the labels, again, what's the point? It would be easier to organize for employees, though, but still...

I'm not against new games or against used games; they both have their advantages and disadvantages (New games: Pros: Never been played before, Cons: if the game sucks, too bad. Your 60 bucks are gone. Used games: Pros: Cheaper, hard to find titles are bound to be found used, Cons: Some are in bad condition, some DLC might be missing). But...well, I just don't know what to make of all this. I truly don't. Is this good? Bad? Where is this leading? What's the purpose of this?

The only thing I see happening is customers coming back to the store demanding a refund because we "sold" them the wrong game. If anything, I'll make sure to tell people they're buying the game used/new before finalizing the transaction. More work for all of us...

Waaghpowa:
This isn't true as far as I know. I know the manager of the EB games in town here and there was no word about them ditching used games.

That's not what the article says. It's saying they're going to be mixing new & used games together in a way that's likely to cause confusion.

Either you misread the article, or wrote something you didn't intend to.

robert01:
@isometry
They tolerate it because they have to. There hasn't been a court case anywhere saying that used game sales are illegal, so instead they have to dodge it by doing what they are doing with the Day 1 DLC, and Project 10 Dollar

I don't think they have to tolerate it, the technology for DRM is there for them to use. We already have Day 1 DLC and Online Passes, the next step is to require one-time online activation that ties the game to a specific console.

So they could use a required one-time activation using a $50 code before the player is allowed to access the game at all. Afterall, this is what they have been doing to PC gamers for years to "fight piracy."

Clearly the reason they aren't doing it is because they are afraid of the backlash. No console games publisher wants the kind of reputation that EA and Ubisoft have on PC. On the other hand EA really loves money, and hates customers, so I'd bet they will be the ones to usher in the next generation of console DRM.

CrystalShadow:

Waaghpowa:
This isn't true as far as I know. I know the manager of the EB games in town here and there was no word about them ditching used games.

That's not what the article says. It's saying they're going to be mixing new & used games together in a way that's likely to cause confusion.

Either you misread the article, or wrote something you didn't intend to.

Not only that, but unless that manager is:

A) Gamestop's owner, master and commander or
B) Ignoring the store's policy and discussing business related stuff with clients or
C) The first store in Canada to be told about this

...Then that's worth squat. Our manager doesn't know anything about it because no one has told US anything about it. And if he knew, we wouldn't be allowed to tell anyone about it. Hell, we can't even discuss Black Friday deals with clients.

So yeah, that proves nothing.

CrystalShadow:

Waaghpowa:
This isn't true as far as I know. I know the manager of the EB games in town here and there was no word about them ditching used games.

That's not what the article says. It's saying they're going to be mixing new & used games together in a way that's likely to cause confusion.

Either you misread the article, or wrote something you didn't intend to.

You're right, I didn't mean to say that they would be ditching used games entirely. I meant that they weren't ditching the current set up as far as I know. It's likely that's changed now, as the last time I was there was a few days ago. I'll update if otherwise.

Edit: Posting from my smart phone, and it's true. Walked in and they were re arranging the entire store. He explained that head office intends it to be more of a convenience thing allowing people to see the new game next to the used one if they so desire to save whatever money. We're all cynical enough to believe that's bullshit.

So does that mean that all copies of a game are gonna be the same price wether used or new? Christ i might just shift to buying my games from Amazon.ca if that shit happens.

Well, from an orginizational standpoint it isn't a bad idea in and of itself. Displaying the same game new and used requires extra rack sapce that could be used to properly display all those games stacked spine out on the lowest shelves. Putting the used over the new however, that's just dirty.

This seems like a rather shifty way to bump up the prices of used games and/or profit from people not reading the small print. Overall it's shady.

And this is why I roll my eyes when I hear companies talk about how important customer service is to them, because whilst that might be true at a local level, at higher levels the customer is often treated with contempt as 'not for public disclosure' policies like this clearly show.

Hmmm... the way it's outlined in this article definitely sounds a bit shady. Putting the new copies under the used? The only logical point of that is to entice, fool, or otherwise hope the customer doesn't notice and have them buy the used copy.

On the other hand, Futureshop here in Vancouver, BC mixes their pre-owned and new copies together on the same shelving units. The only difference between the copies is that the used ones have huge yellow stickers on them that say "pre-owned", so it's pretty obvious which is which.

The Gamestop/EB situation sounds pretty underhanded. Personally, I think it makes more sense to have the sections separated. Well, from a consumer standpoint at least. Sometimes I may be looking for a game that's not in production or impossible to find new. Maybe I'll find it in the used section. And vice versa. I know that when I look through the new section I won't have to scan past two dozen copies of Madden 10 or MW2.

As much as I don't think it's a big difference, I've started shopping at Best Buy more and more. Now I have a Best Buy card for rewards. Also, I pre-ordered Skyrim at my local EB and waited in line for almost 45 minutes before giving up and going home, while my cousin lined up just around the corner and had a copy from Best Buy (no pre-order) within half an hour. How does that work? I pay full price and then have to wait in a line that barely moves? EB really fucked up their release that night. I guess I can excuse them slightly because teh store is tiny and only has one door, but still, poor showing, EB.

These new shenanigans just make it less likely I'll shop there at all.

This one does not like tricksy sneaky store!

Yeah, I've bought a couple games there. Went for used versions just so save a mighty $5. Screw it. I can order PS3 games online or from any other retailer for similar or better prices. The only reason I've bought anything there was simply that my gf and I were at the mall and decided to have a look.

Ok, Listen up. You've got plenty of people like me defending used games. The videogame industry can complain but fuck them, capitalism. But when you do things like this, you make us look like dicks too. It's ok for you guys to look like dicks, you're a faceless organisation that's richer than God. I on the other hand do not get reimbursed for being a dick.

redisforever:
Nope, leaving EB Games if this happens. I only buy used games there, because I don't buy PC games in stores, and I only have an original Xbox, so I can't buy new, so used is my only option.

Well, if you think about it, I highly doubt they will be mixing old used Xbox games in with brand new Xbox360 games.

It may not be marked, but the bar code will have to be different, otherwise a store doesn't know what it's selling. Though, from a money standpoint, this will make little difference. If EB/Gamestop is selling a new product, it has paid for that product already, it owns what is on the shelves. So, all the money goes to EB/Gamestop anyway. The only time this could be problematic is with the whole... what we'll call, the online pass debacle. If a used game needs an online pass, people will have to know.

Sixcess:
This seems like a rather shifty way to bump up the prices of used games and/or profit from people not reading the small print. Overall it's shady.

And this is why I roll my eyes when I hear companies talk about how important customer service is to them, because whilst that might be true at a local level, at higher levels the customer is often treated with contempt as 'not for public disclosure' policies like this clearly show.

They probably won't up the cost of used games to match new games. How many times do you go through a stack of the same game to ensure they are all same? You don't. People will just naturally grab the first copy of the title they are seeking. They simply won't have a label telling them if it's used or new.

I don't see this as contemptuous behavior towards customers at all. Most people will simply choose to purchase the item they want for the best deal they can get. Unfortunately for the publishers, that is often times not them.

isometry:
I don't see why publishers tolerate the used game market at all. I think it's silly that they worry so much about PC game piracy while doing nothing to stop the sale of used games. From a business point of view, used games are worse than piracy, since with piracy there is no way to know if the pirate would have bought the game, but with used-games they are typically paying 80% of the new price, so each one really is a lost sale.

By the way, I'm not condoning piracy at all by comparing it to used-games. I'm glad that PC game makers are finding ways to overcome piracy, because that means more support for the developers that make great games. I just wish they would apply the same logic to the used-games market, figure out a DRM solution that fights the problem while not getting in the way of legitimate users. I guess the other idea is to force companies like gamestop to give them a cut of used game sales.

Well, for one thing, game publishers have no choice but to tolerate used game sales. Just like used book, CD, DVD, Car, clothes, etc., etc., it's completely legal. There's also a law in most western countries called the First Sale Doctrine (or some such variation) that allows a purchaser to lawfully transfer ownership to another person. First Sale Doctrine

For another thing, DRM is the worst way to try and control game, music and movie properties. Just like any lock made by a person can be picked or cracked, so too can DRM. Many DRM protections are cracked within hours or days of games being released and in most cases DRM hurts consumers more than it does pirates, as you mention. Media publishers have to find ways to make legitimate purchase of new copies at least as or more attractive to piracy or used purchases. That's the only way to defeat piracy. Of course there will always be a segment of the population that prefers to pay nothing no matter what, but many of us will happily purchase new if the perceived value is above what we get buying used.

Lastly, I think it would be a huge boon to customers if companies like Gamestop could actually work out some revenue sharing schemes with game publishers. Used sales would seem less of a demon and publishers would focus less on Online Passes and other shitty schemes and more on just putting out great games. Hopefully.

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