These days, when you purchase a new console, you’ll usually find several different console bundles which include not only the console you desire, but also one or two games for you to play as soon as you get it up and running. These bundles used to contain physical games, but with the increasing amount of digital distribution, most bundles include a code which allows you to download the game digitally rather than giving you a physical disc.
This may be the norm in other stores, but GameStop is having none of it. At a recent earnings report conference call, GameStop executives decided that they want to move away from digital bundles and go back to selling bundles that include physical games. This decision first went into effect with the recent release of Madden NFL 16 and GameStop has apparently “worked with Sony, Microsoft, and EA” in order to reach an arrangement wherein GameStop can provide physical copies of the game with their console bundles. It seem this is something GameStop intends t do from now on and the COO Tony Bartel has said that if Sony and Microsoft insist on releasing digital bundles, then GameStop will turn to third parties such as EA and Ubisoft in order to sell physical bundles.
But why is GameStop so eager for people to still buy physical games? Well, there are a few reasons. The most obvious reason is the fact that you can’t buy digital games directly from GameStop, so they want to try and keep physical gaming alive. Another reason is the fact that you can’t trade-in or resell your digital games. GameStop makes a lot of money from trade-in games by buying old games from gamers for a small amount and then selling it on for a marked up price.
It’s hard to say who is right in this case. On the one hand, GameStop has been selling used games for a lot more than they paid for them from gamers for years and some might think it’s about time the bubble burst. On the other hand, some people do prefer having physical copies of games as it allows them to sell it on if they wish. Also, digital games sure do take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
How this new business model will affect the industry remains to be seen, but GameStop certainly need to either sink or swim in this new age of digital gaming.