GameStop Working with Devs for Exclusive Gameplay as Pre-Order Bonuses
Well, the video game apocalypse is nigh. An analyst at R.W. Baird says that leading gaming retailer GameStop is looking at new ways of adding value to pre-orders and purchases of games at the store. One of those ways is working with developers to create exclusive “important” gameplay content for people who pre-order from GameStop.
While we’re used to retailers offering various rewards for pre-ordering games, these are usually a little piece of DLC, a character skin, a multiplayer level, or some extra weapons. They don’t really have a significant consequence on the game unless a gamer really wants one particular piece of DLC.
As a result, the current state of pre-order bonuses doesn’t really drive purchases unless a gamer is worried about not getting a copy of a game when it first comes out. One EB Games (Canadian subsidiary of GameStop) employee told me that the stores are generally sent double the copies that were pre-ordered before launch with the exception of the highest-selling games. With popular new releases, that policy quickly leads to shortages.
Extrapolating from the R.W. Baird report, it looks as though GameStop is trying to encourage pre-orders by making them worth more than just a guaranteed copy of the game at release. As such, adding major gameplay elements as pre-order bonuses for GameStop customers would not only encourage gamers to pre-order but pre-order from GameStop.
In a note to investors, R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian wrote, “[GameStop] indicated that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it… For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release, and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay.”
GameStop PR confirmed that they’re trying to get bigger pieces of exclusive content from developers in a statement that read, “We are working with our [development] partners to build in a longer lead time. And we are working with them to get both physical and digital exclusives for our customers.”
I guess that we can’t just blame GameStop for trying to get bigger and “better” pre-order bonuses for its customers. Clearly the developers and publishers are willing to play ball and let GameStop have a say in which pre-order bonuses come their way.
From a business perspective, the end game is a little muddy. GameStop makes far more money from used game sales than any other product revenue stream. As such, the end game has to be getting people to buy new and sell them the used games. GameStop makes far more from the sale of used games than new copies of games. Of course, that’s assuming that GameStop can’t unlock that exclusive content for people who buy used from GameStop too.
The long and short of it is that the end of gaming is nigh. It’s bad enough that gaming is fragmented by console but now it’s going to be fragmented by retailer too. It’s too bad that we all can’t get along.
Also, remember when Microsoft jumped on the DRM bandwagon to kill used games and the power of GameStop was to blame? It’s amazing what a difference a year brings. Now, they’re all bending over backwards to get in GameStop’s good books.
Source: Venture Beat