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.