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GameStop Has a Plan for the Future of Preorders, and it Sounds Awful

I love this industry. Video games are a uniquely exciting medium that’s fueled by talented developers, passionate fans, and the desire to push the envelope, both creatively and in the technology that lets us interact with and experience these virtual worlds in ways that no other medium can ever hope to match.

It’s an awesome industry to write about every day, but it’s still young, and it’s far from perfect.

There’s something that’s always bothered me about video games, and that’s the idea of preordering games for retailer-exclusive content. Forcing consumers to decide between buying a game at a specific retailer for special content they’d otherwise miss out on if they purchased it elsewhere only benefits the retailer and the publisher.

It’s horribly, blatantly anti-consumer, yet for some reason — despite our power to combat crap like this by simply refusing to waste our hard-earned money on the retailers that practice them — people continue preordering games. Much like DLC, which started out as free post-release content that developers used to keep their communities alive and interested months or even years after a game’s release (Burnout Paradise and Killing Floor are both excellent examples of developers that did DLC right) has gradually shifted in an alarming direction.

Publishers began strapping price tags to their DLC, and when we happily spent our cash on it they started charging more and more until we’re now paying $20 for map packs or $30-40+ for season passes that included most or all of the DLC that hadn’t even been released. I’m sure anyone who dropped $30 for the Dead Rising 3 season pass didn’t leave happy.

Stuff like this has a snowball effect, and if this report from GamesBeat proves true, it’s about to get substantially worse.

Apparently, GameStop recently met with investment company R.W. Baird to chat about a few things, including the future of their lucrative preordering business. In a note sent to the company’s investors, Baird analyst Colin Sebastian detailed the retailer’s plans for what preorders may soon become.

“[GamesStop] indicated that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it,” Sebastian wrote. “For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release, and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay.”

As for what that means, exactly, Sebastian explained to GamesBeat that the company is interested in “getting involved at the time of game development where there could be some content exclusive to [the retailer] included in the game.”

This goes a step above unlocking retailer-exclusive maps, weapons or character skins. In the very near future, GameStop may have a hand in the actual development of a game, so they can use their influence (and money) to get developers to waste precious time and resources on exclusive content — potentially entire sections of a game — that will only be available to those who preorder it at their store.

The implications this has down the road are nothing short of disastrous, but that’s just my opinion — what do you think of all this?

If you’re not a fan of this, the best way to fight it is by no longer giving GameStop, or any other retailer who implements these harmful strategies, your money. I haven’t spent a dime at GameStop in years because of stuff like this, as well as the ridiculously pushy clerks who hound you to preorder a game in the hopes that you’ll eventually break down and give them more money.




  • joelwaters

    gamestop is fucken stupid, they charge nearly full price for a somewhat new game yet when you go to sell it back to them they only give you like ten bucks or six dollars in “credit” they are too fucken greedy. I’d rather keep my old games b/c they’re worth more to me and zero to them.

    • zombie84_41

      I know thats what kills me as much as I hate that fuckin place, I still go there. Idk for somereason when I traded in my PS3 they wanted the AC cable back who fuck uses an AC cable these days anymore. And so they knocked off a huge chunk off my trade in value cus this freaking lady who worked there had ot take one from the store. Horse shit.

  • Chandler Of-Adelaide

    Let them do it, they’ll continue to damage sales of physical copies of games and put themselves out of business.

  • Fantasma George

    Not sure how to approach this seeing as it’s probably just going to affect those super duper popular AAA titles Game Informer hypes to the moon, and most of the time that’s just not what I find myself interested in. If it affects every developer like say People Can Fly or Suda51 or even Kojima then yeah it might get too weird for them to work with.

  • Lyle Chip Chipperson

    Gamestop is the equivalent of those cash for gold places. “Oh, so this is worth 50 dollars…..we will give you 10 dollars and a big middle finger in your face.”

  • Charlie Kelly

    fuck gamestop. If there was a real-life Purge, I wouls steal their shit and burn that store to the ground.

    • ThunderDragoon

      XD Amen!

  • Sick_skwerl

    This is the same shit I’ve been saying since Xbox made you pay for internet access. If you drop $60-$70 on a game, the developer should appreciate you and not nickel and dime you to death for what should be (and used to be) free.
    I boycotted Game stop six years ago, and I suggest all of you do the same. They will only keep fucking us if we keep letting them. Viva la revolution!

  • Gregory Miller

    Having worked for Gamestop in the “long ago” I have more reason than any of you to utterly despise that company. To this day, if I were to see certain higher-ups walking down the street, I really cannot say what would happen. I just found out today that the Nostromo Edition of Alien Isolation only comes with a secondary DLC if you pre-order it from Gamestop. I swore I would never give them a dime of my money again and now I’m forced to balance my hate for that company against my love of the Alien franchise. Alien won, of course, but I still can’t believe I’m giving them my business.

    • Adam Dodd

      I worked at a GameStop for two months back when I was in high school. Never again. Never. Again.

  • VictorCrowley

    Screw Gamestop. I agree with the writer here. You cannot set foot in there or make a quick call for any kind of question without feeling like you’ve wandered onto a used car lot. Cracks me up how they still use that stupid, worn out, out-dated, and just plain false hook that if you don’t pre-order the game (through them) you won’t find it anywhere else until days after the release date. Yea, ok. I remember when Modern Warfare 2 came out some years ago. I was hyped to continue story mode from the last game and strolled up to Best Buy for their midnight release. Of course Gamestop had given me and just about everyone I knew the tired song and dance about “MAKE SURE YOU PRE-ORDER OR (insert random catastrophe)!!!!!” There’s a Gamestop location right next to my local Best Buy and as I got out of my car to walk into BB I couldn’t help but notice the line stretching all the way around the building, filled with people who pre-ordered the game through GS. I passed on pre-ordering some weeks beforehand and walked right up into Best Buy, bought the same game for the same price, and was on my way back to my car within 5 mins. The Gamestop line had barely moved. I withheld comments such as “TOOLS!” and “SHEEP!”, but couldn’t help but laugh out loud (hysterically).

    I never go in there anymore. Why would you, honestly? There are a good handful of second hand stores in my town that trump them in pricing, and of course there’s eBay. Gamestop (remember when they were Babbage’s?) is needed about as much as movie rental stores these days. I don’t care what exclusive content they come up with. It won’t budge me at all in consuming.

  • Krug09

    Yeah… I just buy my games else where i haven’t been to a Gamestop in years. It sucks.

    All this crap about buying DLC after paying for a game is complete bull shit. If you buy a game especially new you should get every thing. Not 60+ dollars for the game but an extra 30 dollars for DLC.

  • Ben Buckler

    I hadn’t been to a Gamestop in a solid 5 years or so because I got tired of the cashiers pushing every pre-order down my throat when I just wanted to buy my Left 4 Dead and leave. I caved and went in a few weeks ago to find a pre-owned copy of Modern Warfare 2 (lost mine), which I got for $8. Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad. I get home, pop it in, disc can’t be read. I pull it out to clean the disc and it’s scratched to hell. I try 5 more times to get the disc working with no luck. This is what I get for going to Gamestop.

    Also, this article really sums up why I don’t bother with DLC. I refuse to pay $30 for some extra maps. Why would I do that? If you actually give two shits about your customers’ gaming experience, you wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg for some new playable characters and maps. What happened to just wanting people to enjoy your games? I’ve actually found myself playing N64 with my brother more than I play my 360 lately.

  • zombie84_41

    I just wished that they would stop charging us money for DLC and Passes, it makes no sense. I had to spend fuckin 50 on BF4 then another fuckin 50 to get the stupid pass. I’m just happy that I got the freaking map packs for free. But anyways stop charging us more and more money. If thats the case, do something favorable for the fans. Or make the games cheaper, IDK do something useful. instead of making us paid insane ammounts of cash. Not everyone is a fuckin millionaire. Its become quite disgraceful. Thats why I buy shit used. Because even though i save like 5$ or so. Thats still saving in my eyes. So maybe if enough people complain people will listen and we can get DLC for free. Or you know what would be awesome, if XBOX 1 lets us use our gamerscore to buy stuff. That way getting aivecements will worth something.

  • Stanislaw Twitchymeat

    Ah, GameStop… one of the most vile, disgusting businesses around. I worked there for four years (oh christ, the memories…) and I saw shit that could turn you white. Went from seasonal help to lowly assistant manager during my first two years there and everytime I had to convince people to preorder something (like, every transaction), a piece of me died.

    Considering how DLC and store exclusive versions of games have become the new norm, I would have hated to still work for them. I’m so glad I got fired from there as this allowed me to regain my self esteem and willpower, as I had none.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have to go cry for a bit.

  • huntermc

    My ex-wife used to be a manager at Gamestop a few years ago. The managers and sales associates were given sales quotas for the number of pre-orders and Game Informer subscriptions they had to sell. If they didn’t meet their quotas, they’d get written up and eventually fired.

    Personally, I never pre-order anything. Other than some stupid DLC bullshit (ooh, and extra costume, or another bonus weapon) I don’t see any point. I mean, what, they’re going to run out of copies of the game if I don’t reserve mine? If they don’t have it in stock, I’d just get it off Amazon. Actually, it doesn’t matter since I’d just be getting it off Amazon, anyway.

  • Sammy Lane

    Bastards!It WAL MART all over again!

  • Evan3

    Blah Blah Anti-capitalism Blah. Nowhere in the article (beyond Dead Rising 3) did the author of the post say this extra content wasn’t fun/beneficial/added to the gaming experience. DLC and specials cost money to design and integrate into the game. Nobody is forced to shop at Game Stop and I don’t see anywhere in the article saying the full game itself isn’t going to be provided in all other formats.
    This is akin to getting upset to pay more for a Blu-ray just because it has more special features than the last one. Buy the basic version if you don’t want it, or fork over the cash for a more in-depth experience. Same applies here.

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