GameStop lobbying platform holders over pre-owned block rumours

Global games retailer GameStop has been lobbying platform holder Microsoft to try and persuade it to abandon its rumoured plans to block pre-owned software on the Next Xbox.

"Sony has said publicly that they don’t intend to block used games on their next console. Microsoft has not commented on the rumours that have hit the marketplace,” CFO Rob Lloyd told an audience at the LA Goldman Sachs Technology conference, as reported by Gamasutra.

But over the course of the last year, we’ve had the opportunity to do research, and share that research with the console makers, and to demonstrate to them that consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games. They want portability in their games, they want to play physical games. To not have those things would be a substantial reason for them to not purchase a new console.

"I think approximately 60 per cent of customers have said that they would not buy a new console if it didn’t play pre-owned games."

Lloyd continued GameStop’s offensive by outlining once again the value that pre-owned software brings to the market.

"Publishers understand that a healthy pre-owned games market helps them to sell more new games,” he argued. And the reason is that our buy-sell-trade model puts over $1bn worth of currency in the customer’s hands every year. And that currency goes primarily toward the purchase of new games.

So by offering trades to customers, we sell more new games for the publishers. So the publishers understand that it’s important to have that ecosystem in place.

"What we see from consumers is that they will buy new games, and some games you can play through faster than others, and so those games will start to come back in trade. And then when customers are done playing their games, they’ll bring them back and trade them in.

What publishers understand, and what we’ve helped to educate them on, is that only about four per cent of our used game sales are games that were released in the last 60 days. So it does not have a big impact on the sales of new products. That’s why publishers understand how important the pre-owned business is to them.”

But GameStop has a second battleto fight. All this talk of pre-owned block has dented the chain’s share price, so Lloyd also stressed that whatever happens, GameStop will be able to adapt.

"We’ll be able to sell the new consoles regardless of what features, or what they do or don’t allow,” he insisted. "We’ll have leading market share on the sales of those consoles, we’ll adapt to what it does to the pre-owned business, and one of the ways we’ll do that is through a continued healthy pre-owned business for today’s generation of consoles.”

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