Who says that GameStop is a horrible business that destroys millions of dollars in potential profits for developers and publishers, large and small? Perhaps those people don’t know that a vast amount of sales generated by the video game retailer is driven solely by the purchase of new titles, which directly benefits the teams behind those games.
At least, that’s spin that GameSpot gave Gamasutra during an interview, as company president Paul Raines noted that $1.8 billion in sales is funneled right back into the gaming industry.
As Raines tells it, most GameStop customers use their store credit on new titles, and not other used games. According to his company’s metrics, a whopping 70 percent of the digital money that GameStop hands out to consumers goes into pre-ordering and buying new items.
Moreover, they insist that the people who complain about GameStop on the Internet aren’t really the same type of people that walk into their stories:
“There are a lot of people on the internet who are going to say some negative things about us from time to time. It’s going to get picked up. There are a lot of people [on the internet] who tend to be very developer-centric, they love the developers. Anyone who is perceived as doing anything whatsoever to detract from the developer is going to catch some vitriol from the [internet] folks.”
Whether that’s true or not, the case remains that most developers have to play ball with GameStop, as the retailer’s store shelves are one of the most critical and visible places for their games to be seen. That’s becoming less and less important as more publishers and developers turn to digital distribution, but for now, it’s the status quo.
Raines also poses this questions, citing the backlog of titles that can be found at most GameStop stores. Specifically, he points to one of the remaining console libraries that hasn’t been phased out of rotation just yet:
“The pre-owned business is not going to go away overnight. No matter what happens, there will be people who want a $9.99 Madden 07. They don’t have $59 to pay for the new game. We’ve got a ton of customers still playing PS2 games. I mean, where do you buy PS2 games anymore except GameStop? There’s a consumer for that.”
As an open answer to Raines’ question, PlayStation 2 titles are available at a few online retailers, including a little company called Amazon, or if you’re into the import scene, CD Japan and Play Asia. It’s a good thing that Game Boy, PSP, and GameCube titles never came up in the interview, since GameStop is (or has been) eliminating those games from their shelves in most locations.