Blockbuster Defends Used Games

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Blockbuster Defends Used Games

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Without the second-hand market, there's no way for specialized game stores to survive.

At least according to Blockbuster's UK boss, Gerry Butler, who explains that supermarkets - or superstores, if you prefer - are taking a loss on games in order to push smaller retailers out of the market.

"Supermarkets use games as potential loss-leaders, so specialists can't survive," he told MCV. "That's why there are less games shops than there were three years ago. Without pre-owned, those companies cannot survive."

That seems to ring true. The musty ran-by-a-terrifying-man-with-a-beard game shops of my youth have been superseded by Walmart's glass cases and glossy-eyed stafflings, the latter of which could probably watch a man get eaten by wolves with the same chilling, emotionless stare they maintain while packing your shopping bags.

"If you're a specialist you need certain margins to run your business," Butler continued. "When you are in a commoditised industry, those margins evaporate."

According to Butler, publishers and developers are using used games as a scapegoat to explain why some games aren't meeting sales expectations.

"When the market was growing, nobody spoke about trade-in. It didn't matter. Everyone was hitting their numbers," he said. "But as soon as someone starts missing the numbers, they are like: 'Well this trade-in is killing us. How do we stop it?'"

Permalink

used games shouldn't be a problem....you dont cut it out for some arbitraity reason..you deal with it

well i see it this way without used games i wouldn't be able to play some of the games i do since finding them new is impossible. at least its a legal way to get them unlike torrents and such

edit: ah the good old bottom line they don't like it when you mess with that

stop making shitty games so game reviewers can stop giving you shitty scores for your shitty games.

(BTW Gerry Butler CEO of blockbuster in the UK is so right on this issue)

Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

I honestly agree with him. The minute numbers take a hit, they look for something to explain it. Modding systems and torrenting games have been around forever. Its nothing new. And pirating was never even considered a big issue until recent years, when everyone expects game to always sell a million copies on launch.

Games were just better 10 years ago. They were better 5 years ago. They didnt have to find something to blame, because games were worth buying.

People pirated Duke Nukem Forever? I wonder why.... Nah, it couldnt be that it was a massive letdown, and a complete betrayal of the original Duke Nukem games. Omg~ MW3 was download "illegally" by a lot of people? It couldnt be that its a copy paste of MW2! Noooooo~ that would be silly.

Im not saying good games dont come out. Im just saying diverse games that are worth purchasing dont come out enough. Imagine if every game were to be as unique as minecraft. New Jade Empire? I think it would sale amazingly. HD Remake of FF7 (just updated graphics, and only updated graphics)? Sales would be through the roof! A new Baldur's Gate in the Style of "Dark Alliance" games, or even just an HD update of the existing ones? My god! This is an untapped market!

If they are so worried about money, why dont they release a new HD update of games that sold well every month? Because in all truth, they arnt really worried about how much money is coming in, so much as having something to blame for bad sales when they set their expectations to high.

Grey Carter:

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

yep i'm still wondering how it died here in canada

This is operating under the assumption that specialty game stores are necessary... supermarkets will serve, and if gamestop vanishes, they will take its place in the world with ease.

Why do we need GameStop anyway?

Without used games the whole video game industry would take a hit. All new games are to expensive for gambling. What I mean is if you come across a game you haven't heard of but you might like it. Maybes aren't worth $60 so I only try new series when they are at the preowned price. That way if they are garbage it dosn't reduce my overall faith in video games like buying a $60 train wreck would. That's why games like Mario and Call of Duty insist on reminding consumers of there unchanging titles. People won't go to a midnight launch of some game called Black Ops however, Call of Duty: Black Ops will get a better turnout since it has a trusted brand name. So when franchises come out that aren't recognizable people won't spend a heap of cash on something that could be crap. People will take a chance on a $17 game like I did with Dead Space. Now after loving Dead Space, when Dead Space 2 came out I bought it first day.
Ya hear that EA pre-owned games helped sell a fresh copy of Dead Space 2 and every Dead Space sequel that you release in the future!

kouriichi:

Games were just better 10 years ago. They were better 5 years ago. They didnt have to find something to blame, because games were worth buying.

Really, what we didnt have 5-10 years ago was metacritic. places really didnt compile all of the review scores and judge solely based on them.

A lot of developers know they are just going to get fucked over by the system now because of metacritic, look at Obsidian, they got denied a (iirc) 300k bonus because they missed their mark on metacritic by .1!!!

If they got an 8 for FO:NV they would have got a bonus, but no, they only got a 7.9, thus lost all of their bonus money for completion.

Now, I am not saying this is on metacritics hands, but between metacritic, idiot consumers who think only 8/9/10 scoring games are worth their time, and the ASSHOLE publishers who base bonuses on these metrics, it doesnt exactly inspire the best working environment when you know you are likely to get fucked over by jaded critics unless your game is virtually flawless or has brand recognition.

Grey Carter:

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

what the shit is that staring at me as your avatar, and please tell me it isn't real. I enjoy sleeping at night and suddenly picture it in my window.

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

*offers a hug*

I too had thought they had vanished off of the face of the Earth by now. Oh well, we'll hear about that sooner or later.

tony2077:
at least its a legal way to get them unlike torrents and such

Yup. Provide better service than the pirates or make better games and people want to pay for them new. 60 bucks a title isn't cheap if you're on a budget like mine.

=y:

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

*offers a hug*

I too had thought they had vanished off of the face of the Earth by now. Oh well, we'll hear about that sooner or later.

tony2077:
at least its a legal way to get them unlike torrents and such

Yup. Provide better service than the pirates or make better games and people want to pay for them new. 60 bucks a title isn't cheap if you're on a budget like mine.

its not cheap but looking at gas and food makes it not seem as bad

tony2077:
its not cheap but looking at gas and food makes it not seem as bad

The problem is games are not essential to my life like gasoline or food is. An unfortunate truth but if I can't drive out to work I make no money and of course ya need to eat.

I suddenly feel bad for that GameBoy Color cartridges I "forgot" to return...oh, any way...

He makes a good point.

Whats sinking the industry are not trade-ins or used games. The total lack of creativity and innovation most publisher have, not to mention the almost psychotic level of fear towards any type of change or risk, is what running this industry.

Lager publishers are basic demanding that every developer must create the same WW3/BT3 clone over and over. Re-releasing them under old-school franchises with the unrealistic expectation that 20+ gamers that grew up with the original titles would suddenly rush into Walt-Mart and buy a crappy FPS. Then blaming the low release sales on used-games and piracy.

Everybody is then shocked when a indie title like Minecraft suddenly bashes through the door like a enraged pixelated zombie, or when DoubleFine asks for support for a quirky little adventure game and end up with a total $3.3 million budget.

Screw EA and Activision. Screw online passes and day 1 DLC. Screw inflated IGN and Metacritic scores...

Im going to play some pokemon blue now...

=y:

tony2077:
its not cheap but looking at gas and food makes it not seem as bad

The problem is games are not essential to my life like gasoline or food is. An unfortunate truth but if I can't drive out to work I make no money and of course ya need to eat.

i know but it still doesn't seem as bad

Next thing: "Places offering our games for $1 less than full price are making us lose all the numbers! Oh noes!"

tony2077:

Grey Carter:

Worgen:
Wait, blockbusters are still around? and are able to make good points about things?

.... I'm scared, I need a hug.

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

yep i'm still wondering how it died here in canada

Simple. They were overpriced for rentals, both games and movies. Also, the games rentals went away with free demos online (which I still don't trust) and things like Netflix did in the movie rentals.

They also didn't have any one knowledgeable on hand when they were getting into used games in 2004. I was buying up $1 to $5 used games at places like EB because Blockbuster wanted stock and were giving away new copies of games like GTA: San Andreas for trading in any four (non-identical titles) used games. They weren't even interested in the condition of said games. In total, I picked up 13 copies of GTA across the city at various Blockbusters and spent less $100 dollars on it.

Don't worry... Rogers Videos are vanishing too. Then we'll have nothing left.

Companies don't realize how their early adoption sales are funded by used games. If you're clever, you can turn a 60 dollar new game into a 30 dollar new game which in turn becomes a ten dollar used game. So for 60 dollars I get to play three games. Granted, the publisher of the ten dollar game never sees a dime from me but the 30 dollar purchase was a sale based on a trade in. And I've seen many people flip three or four games for a new release.

And lets not even get into Walmart being the devil. They didn't have any special bonuses to give for the release of Batman: Arkham City so they just gave away free copies of Arkham Asylum with it. How is any small store supposed to compete with that?

FoolKiller:

tony2077:

Grey Carter:

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

yep i'm still wondering how it died here in canada

Simple. They were overpriced for rentals, both games and movies. Also, the games rentals went away with free demos online (which I still don't trust) and things like Netflix did in the movie rentals.

They also didn't have any one knowledgeable on hand when they were getting into used games in 2004. I was buying up $1 to $5 used games at places like EB because Blockbuster wanted stock and were giving away new copies of games like GTA: San Andreas for trading in any four (non-identical titles) used games. They weren't even interested in the condition of said games. In total, I picked up 13 copies of GTA across the city at various Blockbusters and spent less $100 dollars on it.

Don't worry... Rogers Videos are vanishing too. Then we'll have nothing left.

Companies don't realize how their early adoption sales are funded by used games. If you're clever, you can turn a 60 dollar new game into a 30 dollar new game which in turn becomes a ten dollar used game. So for 60 dollars I get to play three games. Granted, the publisher of the ten dollar game never sees a dime from me but the 30 dollar purchase was a sale based on a trade in. And I've seen many people flip three or four games for a new release.

And lets not even get into Walmart being the devil. They didn't have any special bonuses to give for the release of Batman: Arkham City so they just gave away free copies of Arkham Asylum with it. How is any small store supposed to compete with that?

why should i not worry i liked blockbuster it give me a way to get games without buying them used or full price. you forget the usa part of the chain screwed the Canadian part over as well

Grey Carter:

According to Butler, publishers and developers are using used games as a scapegoat to explain why some games aren't meeting sales expectations.

Permalink

In related news, bears take crap in forested areas. Unconfirmed sources report the sun may in fact rise tomorrow (if you're American).

/sarcasm

Who let Blockbuster talk? Better yet, who was still around to talk FOR them?

Yeah, this is exactly what ive been saying here over the past couple of years. Blockbuster, IS a part of the gaming industry, Just like gamestop, just like smaller specialty stores, just like walmart, amazon, ect. These are just the guys who have taken a serious beating over the past couple of years thanks to the rise of digital distribution and the consumers who for all their good intentions of wanting to help the developers and publishers, and stop the evil gamestop from hurting their entertainment really have helped give these people the clout and methodology of choking out parts of the industry that dont return their profits to them.

Its sad, and yes I have elected for a blockbuster movie pass specifically so I can rent games and movies. Blockbuster might have been that same "evil" that people now see gamestop as, but they never were and they have only suffered despite offering a service made necessary by media companies charging too much for their media.

Ah, ye olde "run by a terrifying man with a beard" gameshop. They're still around, they're just for tabletop games[1]. And don't be terrified; he's usually a teddy bear, not a dire bear. Usually.

OT: I just find it sad that this is even an issue. This is the result of standing by and letting a corporation say we don't own what we pay for, just because they can pay lawyers. It's also a sign that our legal system is seriously screwed up that this can happen; no laws have changed, we've just had some well paid lawyers convince some aging judges that the law said something other than what it said. That should not happen.

[1] As they always have been, unless you count a skinny 30 year old with a goatee as a "terrifying man with a beard."

Yep, that sounds about right. Maybe if they scaled back their budget a bit and started focusing on game mechanics as opposed to top-tier graphics it wouldn't even be a problem.

Captcha: good riddance

Heh.

I like Blockbusters; they're literally 5 minutes drive from me, they give me good prices when I trade games in and their second hand titles are typically reasonably priced with some good offers (the whole 2 for £20 and so on).
The guys who work there are, for the majority, gamers. You can have a chat with them and they're pretty forthcoming with helping you find any games that they don't have on the shelves. I appreciate that's kind of their job but they genuinely seem to want to help.

The most important thing Im taking from this article is that Gerard Butler is the boss of Blockbuster, and sits in his massive glass-walled office in full Spartan regalia all day.

OT: To the people saying "why do we need specialist game stores" - the main reason I can see is that someone working in a mega-store cant be expected to know about the games that are on sale. If you were to expect them to be an expert on them, you would also have to expect them to be an expert on cheap clothes, pomegranates, household cleaning products and cheese. Whereas specialist game shops you can walk in knowing absolutely nothing, ask "what do you recommend for my 8 year old son who likes bears" and walk out with something more likely to be suitable than "well, this is the game the manager says to shift this week".

Also, since mega-stores typically have less room for games on their shelves than a specialist shop, games are rotated out for new ones after a much shorter time, meaning that if you dont have the money for a game when it first comes out, its going to be gone before it comes down to your price range.

Im not well informed enough to know exactly whos fault specialist stores dying out is, but I wish it wasnt so.

Grey Carter:
Without the second-hand market, there's no way for specialized game stores to survive.

That's not really much of a defence. "If these mechanical looms take over, there's no way for artisan weavers to survive.". Absolutely correct, there isn't. What's missing is the important part to make it an actual defence "... and that would be a bad thing because...". There's a reason "Luddite" is now generally considered a negative term. All I'm reading here is that if people don't have a reason to visit a particular shop, that shop will go out of business. So what? If people don't have a reason to visit that shop, why should anyone care that it goes out of business?

Kahani:

Grey Carter:
Without the second-hand market, there's no way for specialized game stores to survive.

That's not really much of a defence. "If these mechanical looms take over, there's no way for artisan weavers to survive.". Absolutely correct, there isn't. What's missing is the important part to make it an actual defence "... and that would be a bad thing because...". There's a reason "Luddite" is now generally considered a negative term. All I'm reading here is that if people don't have a reason to visit a particular shop, that shop will go out of business. So what? If people don't have a reason to visit that shop, why should anyone care that it goes out of business?

Except the analogy isn't the same, because they're both selling exactly the same product. One is just able to sell it cheaper because it's used.

A better analogy would be "if used cars salesmen weren't allowed to sell used cars, they'd go out of business". Which....is actually a very GOOD argument, because what is being discussed is whether or not they should be allowed to sell the product at all. What game companies are trying to do is claim that their sales are directly handicapped by the sale of used games, but the problem that has always existed with this argument (and precisely what Blockbuster is pointing out) is that it was never considered an issue back when games were cheaper and everyone was developing them at cheaper prices with lower expectations for profits. Yet now it's "suddenly" an issue when the games cost $60 a pop even for shitty non-AAA titles, they cost 6-7 figures to develop anymore, and everyone expects to turn a huge profit. Well, um, perhaps it has something to do with all of those things previously mentioned? It's rather hard to turn a profit for a game when you pour gobs of money into it and it's still a stinking turd of a game that doesn't merit the $60 price tag you gave it.

In that light, sure, I'll bet the used car salesman down the street is getting a nasty glare or two because he's basically selling the same product but he's doing it for significantly less, ergo he gets the sale that you might otherwise have gotten (though that's not how it really works, that's merely the mentality of game companies that clearly don't understand the factors that go into buying a product). But the problem is, people don't go to the used car salesman for a brand new car, either, and sometimes people want to be able to buy one or the other in their lifetime. Both markets NEED to exist to encourage healthy competition and fairer pricing.

I use Blockbuster a lot. It would be a real shame for them, and the second hand market, to go.

There needs to be second hand games.
People don't want to pay £40 for a game that they don't know if they'll like. Renting is a great way to test, or play a game, that you otherwise wouldn't try. For example, I've rented and played Sonic Generations, Operation Raccoon City, Force Unleashed 2 etc. The latter two especially aren't particularly good games, but I wanted to play them, but not spend all the money, which I think is fair, seeing as once I'd finished with them...I'd finished with them. Furthermore, my housemate and I enjoy playing shitty coop games and recording it. That wouldn't happen if we had to fork out £20+ each time for a game that we're going to play once.

Also, some games are hard to come by new.

omicron1:
This is operating under the assumption that specialty game stores are necessary... supermarkets will serve, and if gamestop vanishes, they will take its place in the world with ease.

Why do we need GameStop anyway?

if you are happy with only the top 20 for each platform, then you wont need them.

kouriichi:
Games were just better 10 years ago. They were better 5 years ago. They didnt have to find something to blame, because games were worth buying.

No... not really. Games were equally shitty and equally good. And a lot of purchaseworthy games do get released. I just get the big feeling you're talking out of your ass because of 2-3 big titles which get a lot of hate by the gaming community (and funny enough are always a financial success).

tony2077:

If anyone knows anything about being forced out of the market, it's Blockbuster.

yep i'm still wondering how it died here in canada[/quote]

The failing Blockbuster US used Blockbuster Canada which was always profitable as collateral for a loan, a loan that they defaulted on. It actually happens all the time. Moronic US company loses a ton of money and scraps profitable foreign subsidiary.

FoolKiller:
Simple. They were overpriced for rentals, both games and movies. Also, the games rentals went away with free demos online (which I still don't trust) and things like Netflix did in the movie rentals.

They also didn't have any one knowledgeable on hand when they were getting into used games in 2004. I was buying up $1 to $5 used games at places like EB because Blockbuster wanted stock and were giving away new copies of games like GTA: San Andreas for trading in any four (non-identical titles) used games. They weren't even interested in the condition of said games. In total, I picked up 13 copies of GTA across the city at various Blockbusters and spent less $100 dollars on it.

Don't worry... Rogers Videos are vanishing too. Then we'll have nothing left.

Companies don't realize how their early adoption sales are funded by used games. If you're clever, you can turn a 60 dollar new game into a 30 dollar new game which in turn becomes a ten dollar used game. So for 60 dollars I get to play three games. Granted, the publisher of the ten dollar game never sees a dime from me but the 30 dollar purchase was a sale based on a trade in. And I've seen many people flip three or four games for a new release.

And lets not even get into Walmart being the devil. They didn't have any special bonuses to give for the release of Batman: Arkham City so they just gave away free copies of Arkham Asylum with it. How is any small store supposed to compete with that?

Wrong. Thats how the US division of blockbuster failed. The Canadian division was always profitable right up untill it got closed down.

Make games worth the money and most people will buy them. Yes, you will always have the pirating minority, but if a game is worth the money, people will buy it. COD is nowhere near worth £40. Most games aren't.

If games companies stop expecting shit to sell like solid gold, and charged prices that were idicative of game quality, people will pay.

kouriichi:

Games were just better 10 years ago. They were better 5 years ago. They didnt have to find something to blame, because games were worth buying.

Watch a few Angry Video Game Episodes and say that again.

Some games were so bad that they had to bury thousand of unsold cartridges. :)

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