GameStop has recently found itself in hot water. All of this controversy centers on one game, “Xenoblade Chronicles” for the Wii. According to different media sources, GameStop has been accused of holding on to some of its stock of “Xenoblade Chronicles,” waiting for demand to rise, and then releasing the leftover stock as pre-owned games at an inflated price.
For those who do not know, Xenoblade is known as one of the best games to ever be released on the Wii. Not only that, but it is one of the rarest games to find for the Wii due to its limited distribution. In fact, the game was released only as a GameStop exclusive. So once GameStop ran out of copies, that was it. You could no longer find the game anywhere.
Until recently, the only way that you could find Xenoblade for the Wii was online or in the used bin at your local GameStop. Either way, you were likely to pay a hearty fee for the game. In fact, it costs more to buy Xenoblade used at GameStop than it did to buy it brand new. The only problem is, you cannot find the game new anymore, so used is your only option.
So what is the problem? A lot of games go up in value and can eventually cost more used than they ever did knew. Well, the problem is that GameStop has suddenly seen an increase in the number of Xenoblade copies it has to offer used. In fact, its stock of Xenoblade copies has gone up by the thousands. On top of that, the collectors who actually own a copy of Xenoblade are not trading in their copies. So where did all of these “used” copies come from?
According to a source inside GameStop, who has not been named, the company actually held on to a number of copies of Xenoblade and never sold them. They knew this would help inflate the value of the game. Now that the game is rare and hard to find, they are releasing these games but slapping a used sticker on the case despite the fact that it is brand new. They are doing this because they actually make more money selling the game used than if they sell it brand new.
How do people know these games are new and not used? Most of it comes down to just simply deductive reasoning. The games have no shrink wrap, but besides that, the discs are in perfect condition and most look like they have never even been taken out of the case. These used copies all still have their Club Nintendo point cards inside, which is pretty rare to find when used-game shopping.
On top of this, GameStop makes more money off used games than it does a new game. Xenoblade costs around $49.99 new. Which was typical for Wii games at the time. Off a new game, GameStop and other retailers only make around $5 to $6 per game sold. Now, let’s say that they sell that same game for $90, which is what a used copy of Xenoblade is going for. Now the profit jumps from just $5 to $45, and it is easy to see why GameStop might have tried this little scam.
GameStop has been struggling to find its way in the ever-changing gaming industry. It sure dodged a bullet when Microsoft removed its used game polices for the Xbox One, but that is not the only problem that GameStop is dealing with. The industry as a whole is going digital. It is cheaper to make a digital game and release it on a digital platform than it is to make a physical copy and ship it to stores around the world. As more and more publishers start offering their games at discounted prices for a digital copy, more gamers start giving up on physical copies.
There are few people left that still buy physical copies. In general, people who like to collect are the only ones who are still buying at retail stores. On top of that, most of these gamers would even switch to digital if the price was right.
GameStop is clearly in trouble, and selling tablets and iPhones is not the answer. One quick fix for the company is to sell rare games at a high price. Xenoblade is not the only game this is happening to. Other Wii games, like the Metroid Prime Triology collection, is also going for close to $85 used. Not only that, but GameStop has said that they will likely be able to get their hands on more copies of the Metroid Prime Triology in the near future.
When GameStop was questioned about this, they were pretty short with their explanation. They pretty much said that they have come into some copies of Xenoblade, and they will be made available at retail stores and online. Now people are just waiting for GameStop to clarify this statement a bit more.