GameStop warns against next-gen console used games block

Internal GameStop research suggests that a significant proportion of the retailer’s most active customers would not buy a console that blocks pre-owned games.

Sony has filed for a patent on a piece of technology designed to block second-hand game sales, while Microsoft has chosen not to deny recent rumours that the next Xbox will restrict owners from playing used titles.

And speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference this week, GameStop chief financial officer Rob Lloyd warned the platform holders that any such moves to block used games would be likely to alienate potential buyers. "Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games; they want portability in their games; they want to play physical games. And to not have those things would be a substantial reason for them to not purchase a new console,” he said, according to GameSpot.

Going on to cite in-house research, thought to be surveys of the 21 million US members of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards loyalty program, Lloyd added: "I think it's approximately 60 per cent of the customers who have said they wouldn't buy a new console if it didn't play pre-owned games."

On the benefits and drawbacks of the used games market to the various parties it impacts, Lloyd noted: "There's two constituencies that the publishers and the console-makers… have to consider. One is the retailer like GameStop that is moving their product through the chain. The second are the development firms that actually develop the games. Developers have historically not liked the pre-owned game business because they don't participate in the revenue streams.

"The publishers really get caught in the middle. [The publisher] understands that, but also understands the importance of the pre-owned game business to the overcall ecosystem of the video game business. And so, I think that as the console makers balance those needs, they consider, 'Is this an appropriate thing to do? Would we make more money by doing this in the future?' I think what customers have told them at this point is they view it as a very unfriendly thing to do."

In a recent GR Editorial we argued that gamer culture will suffer if next-gen consoles block used games.


  • rickyandtwyla - April 15, 2013 7:08 p.m.

    There is a lot more to banning used games than putting GameStop and Game Fly out of business. I'd be willing to bet that, once the full consequence of said action is fully realized, most people would be against it. I can't imagine not being able to trade games that I no longer play. If games I purchased were only good if played on my machine, and I no longer wanted to play them, they may as well be thrown in the trash. Companies like GameStop provide a service that consumers demand. You have a game that you don't want anymore? They'll buy it from you. You want a game, but don't want to pay full retail for it? They'll sell it to you. All with the convenience of a one stop physical place you can go. If you expect GameStop to buy a game from Bob for $20, then sell it to Joe for $20, you're retarded. It is a business that needs to cover operating costs, and make a profit. I don't hear Ford or Chevy crying that they don't make any money when the buy-here pay-here used car lot sells one of the cars they built. Short rant here: If you want people to take your opinion seriously, don't spell with numbers. Learn to type. How much time did you save using "2" instead of "to?" Are you doing it to cover up the fact that you failed 4th grade english class, and truly can't spell two letter words? I can't help but try to visualize the person writing what I am reading, and as soon as I see a number, or any other trendy word play, I automatically see a dribbling retard two-finger typing a response to what his mom just read to him.
  • chadmurphy - February 15, 2013 9:05 p.m.

    I will gladly give up paying for used games JUST to get rid of that exploitative vampire of a company. Total scum bags.
  • hintzke - February 15, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    Who cares about Gamestop? Their plight is that they won't be able to make 300-400% profits off used games anymore. They are the Congress of gaming. Bring about DRM only for the new consoles, let it all burn!
  • Shinn - February 14, 2013 6:59 p.m.

    This discussion shouldn't even be about used game sales, it should be about your rights as a consumer to own the things you buy. Right now there are only two advantages my 360 has over my gaming PC. More local multiplayer games, and being able to use my game disc on any console I choose without having to wait for an install. The game belongs to me, not my Xbox live account.
  • tehtimeisnow - February 14, 2013 3 p.m.

    i hope they bolck used ganes seruiosely used gameing is desotrying the industdy and if u by used ganes then ur no beter then a common theif but thats y im happy ipohne gameing has prety much taken over
  • Vincent Wolf - February 14, 2013 3:46 a.m.

    I think they should still try doing it once. If it goes real back -- allow used games again. It's all theory, what happens if, what happens when, but in practice it might have a chance to be a best solution for both sides. Hell, drop price to 40-50$ tops and don't allow used games. See how it goes.
  • JohnnyWalker - February 14, 2013 1:46 a.m.

    Don't worry I will start in 2 years a company that is DRM free, has all their games in physical copies,,All aseets under creative commons CC-BY,uses only open source software and all code under GPL.
  • brickman409 - February 13, 2013 9:15 p.m.

    I think sales of new games will go down too if consoles block used games. A lot of people sell their old games to afford new ones. If there is no more used games economy, then the new game industry will go down with it.
  • winner2 - February 13, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    Good thing I found the joy of steam recently and am already decided on a switch. Seriously, KOTOR for 20$.
  • brickman409 - February 13, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    Just because prices are low on steam, doesn't mean the PC game industry is doing that much better. Remember the video game crash of 1983? Prices of games plummeted back then, but it didn't mean games were getting better, it meant they were getting worse.
  • haxxoromg - February 13, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    yeah if they block used games thats the last straw and im switching to pc. the two reasons i bought a console was because i thought they were more convenient and economic than pc's, but that was before i found out how much better than consoles even a mid-range gaming pc is from a technical standpoint (and before i knew about steam summer sales :P). With used games out the window, even halo wont be able to keep me on the xbox next gen.
  • TheDCSniper - February 13, 2013 3:48 p.m.

    People SAY they won't buy it, but then they'll preorder the console the next day, and Gamestop can't do s%^& about it. Is a store that ONLY sells games going to boycott the next game systems?
  • CrashmanX - February 13, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    I think a lot of people are missing another huge victim, GameFly. GameFly is a MASSIVE network of game sales/trade/rental. If used games are blocked, their entire service goes kaput. They work by renting USED games to other people. It's not cost effective to buy a new copy of every game for every customer when you're charging so little per month.
  • talleyXIV - February 13, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    Gamestop is probably terrified.
  • Timstertimster - February 13, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    I go to a movie theatre and pay 10.- for 2 hrs of entertainment. I buy a video game for 60.- and get usually over 30 hrs of entertainment. In many cases I get even hundreds of hours. Some nerds will move from consoles to PC and use ripped and cracked games for free. GameStop will go out if business just like Tower Records did. And the world keeps turning...
  • steven-duncan - February 13, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    U may get 30hrs 4 most of your games but U pick and chose those games, that's not the average length 4 most games. The average length depends on what type of genre U play rpg's can get 30+ while some action and platformers can get as little as 8hrs.
  • StoneDreadnaught - February 13, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    I've been giving this issue a lot of thought. And while I still hope these next-gen consoles don't block used games, I won't be entirely upset if they do. Not just for having a gaming PC. But, as I look through my library of games, a lot of them were purchased 'New'. It was many months, or even a year later, but they were bought 'New'. I could understand this effecting the older gen classics, but even now they're starting to all be re-released as digital downloads. If you're patient, that shiny new title you want will be cheaper in a matter of months, then you can just buy it 'New' for under $50. When you do that, suddenly used games don't even enter your thought process. I do agree that if you wanted to lend your copy to a friend, and the system was set up in such a way that it would only work on your console and not theirs, that's pretty crappy. No denying that. And TB brought up an interesting point. If one of these next-gen consoles block used games, and only allow the consumer to purchase New, developers are going to migrate to that system. Since their games will generate more money there because you can only buy games New. And no doubt give that console better titles, and more exclusive titles as a result.
  • Omrikon - February 13, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    My default response to such griping on used game sales comes from a Christopher Titus stand-up special: "Climb down off the cross, use the wood to build a bridge, and GET OVER IT." Although I get that developers want to see a return on the games they make, it truly baffles me that they are so utterly adamant about circumventing the First Sale doctrine. As a result, consumer rights have been progressively eroded due to outright paranoid EULA's and nickel-and-diming tactics, and still the whinging continues as companies blame their own customers for their problems. In pursuing ways to block used games, companies are actively saying that the width of their profit margin is inversely related to the freedoms they grant their customers, that they are unable and unwilling to treat consumers with the kind of respect that they expect for themselves. Without a doubt, I am sure if you told any of them they couldn't resell their own belongings, whether it was tech, furniture, or books, they wouldn't stand for such a breach of their rights. But clearly that's a moot point now. Perhaps they'll provide enough features that protect and reinforce people's digital rights in other ways, but I seriously doubt it.
  • JohnnyWalker - February 13, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    This will cause a boom in indie companies that support Physical copies. Do you really think you can do this and not suffer. At this moment any companies who bashes them and says we don't care about used games will make money.
  • wampastompa - February 13, 2013 11 a.m.

    I know that Gamestop has an obvious horse in this race, but every poll I've seen (including one on Microsoft's site) shows that gamers are OVERWHELMINGLY against blocking used games. If the new Xbox blocks used games, and the new Playstation doesn't, you will say a massive switch in console preferences. I'd much rather see an online pass system, where you have to pay $5 or even $10 to unlock a used game. You guarantee that the publisher still sees some money for second-hand game sales, and buyers still get a used game at under new-game prices

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