GameStop Accused of Reprinting and Raising the Price of Xenoblade Chronicles
The one critically acclaimed Wii game that almost no one you know has been able to get a copy of is Xenoblade Chronicles. That’s because the game had a fairly limited print run and was only available through GameStop and Nintendo stores.
This week, mysteriously, GameStop stores seem to have been innundated with used copies of Xenoblade Chronicles and are selling them for $90 each. The problem is that people are accusing GameStop of shady practices saying that they aren’t actually used copies but reprints being passed off as used to justify selling copies at higher than the original $50 price.
Speculation has been ongoing on NeoGAF, 4chan and Reddit. This story has also been picked up by Kotaku.
There are a few pieces of evidence backing up the reprinting theory that many are floating. First is that the boxes that these used copies of Xenoblade Chronicles are different than the usual Wii boxes. Wii boxes, including those for Chronicles, had a Wii logo imprinted inside the box. These allegedly reprinted copies have the Nintendo logo imprinted which matches the current Wii U boxes. In other words, they appear to be in the wrong boxes.
The condition of these copies of Chronicles are also being described as “like new” by people who have bought them. It appears that everyone who has bought copies says that it comes with the instruction booklet and an unused Club Nintendo code which would be unusual if you asked me.
A source at GameStop told Kotaku that the company reprinted thousands of copies of Chronicles and shipped them to the stores. One former GameStop manager posted on Reddit that the retailer has reprinted games and sold them as used copies previously with the PS2 game Rez.
For their part, GameStop is denying that there is any wrongdoing or misrepresentation on their part. In a statement to Kotaku, they claimed that they were able to obtain numerous copies of the game over recent months to meet demand for the title and the price is set to what the market will bear. Basically, they’re claiming that they stockpiled and released rather than reprinted copies of Xenoblade Chronicles.
I’m all for the free market and charging a price that meets the demand for the product but there’s a difference between selling a used game as a used game and printing a new copy and calling it used so you can charge a higher price for it.
I can live with selling Xenoblade Chronicles for $90 if it’s actually a used game (so long as GameStop isn’t paying $8 for a copy or whatever their standard rate is). There’s nothing legally stopping them from doing it. However, getting around a $50 MSRP by calling a game used is a heelish tactic by a big corporation. I can live with the former, even if it means I won’t be buying a copy. I will certainly stay on GameStop’s case if they’re reprinting.