Tit for Tat

usedgames

Today on the Geek Infusion Matthew talks about how Gamstop and EBGames can’t have their cake and eat it too.

More after the break.

It’s a well know fact, both on this blog and in my life, that I used to work at EBGames here in my home town. I’m still friends with the GM and the AGM, and I consider a few of my former co-workers to be some of the best friends I’ve ever made. It’s also where I realized that gamer girls existed, and I bagged me one for a wife. So that’s good.

It’s also where I first began to realize why used games are important. They literally keep the brick-and-mortar stores in business, especially in a world of digital delivery or overnight shipping. When I can go to EBGames website and order a game it’s hard to have a reason to go into the store.

However, the website doesn’t always have an up-to-date stock of the pre-owned (or ‘recycled’) games that the store has in stock. I buy used whenever possible, I use my Edge Card (platinum), and I pre-order from the company for nearly all my new releases. MMO’s would be the exception.

This is why I am currently finding it hard to swallow the complaint coming out of the company this holiday season. Microsoft and Sony are giving games away in holiday bundles, and EB is ticked off about this.

I’m not sure why EB figures it gets to stand on its soapbox this year concerning this issue. Holiday bundles have been a thing since I started working for the company nearly 11 years ago. Hell, when the Xbox had bundles it was including some of the most popular games of all time like Knights of the Old Republic.

Usually, however, these are physical games and there is a stigma that seemed to follow the games that came bundled that decreed them to be of no value to the player, and so they were hastily traded in. This allowed EB to double-dip, as it were, off of these titles. Selling them new with the hardware, and then turning around and selling them as pre-owns.

This isn’t happening this year.

Microsoft, par example, I said using French like the bilingual jerk that I am, is offering an Xbox One console, a Kinect, a headset and a copy of both Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag for the princely sum of $575 USD.

This is a stellar deal if you’re a gamer and in the market for a new console. EBGames isn’t thrilled because both of those titles are digital downloads, thus cutting out the middle-man.

In addition, they are losing money on the sale in a round-about way. If you were to purchase these all separately, you’d come up with a price closer to $700 or more depending on where you shopped and if you purchased pre-owned games or hardware.

I am well aware that the take EB brings home is far less than it should be. Large companies like EA and Bioware certainly take home the lion’s share of the profit on new games and hardware, but I can’t help but feel that EB is out of line with this one.

As a gamer, I care about what most customers care about: value for money. It’s how I approach my food at the restaurant as well, so allow me to offer up this analogy.

Let’s say I’m bringing in a fish, red snapper perhaps. And I’m paying $3 a pound. I sell my fish in 8oz portions, so now I have a base cost of $1.50/lb. Add in a sauce at a cost of $1.00/lb, a side dish at roughly the same cost, my wages for the 15 minutes it takes to make your food, and that of the server to deliver it, the cost of the gas etc. and you end up with a final price on the menu of about $18.50.

This seems like an incredible mark up from $1.50 I quoted earlier, but, when all is said and done, the restaurant is only seeing about $1.50 – $1.75 in profit after all of these expenses. This is why alcohol is so important in my line of work. It makes my owner his money. What he pays himself and uses to pay his bills, his mortgage etc.

It’s the same in EB, they make very little off of the initial sale of the console and games. But what they don’t get to complain about is the double-dipping. If I bring a game back, I’m lucky if I get 1/3 of its sell-value in trade.

I understand that EB needs to make a profit, and so I accept that. But they then turn around and sell the game for, usually, $5 less than new, plus the $15 bucks they paid me. So, on a $70 dollar game they have $50 to pay the bills with, and whatever is left is profit.

I assure you, after having worked there, the profit margin on these recycled games is large, especially at Christmas where they don’t stay on the shelves, and where they offer deals amounting to extra trade-in credit to fill the stock back up.

This is why they don’t get to complain, not to mention the profit on consoles. If Microsoft or Sony wants to offer digital games as their in-bundle bonuses, they are perfectly at liberty to do so. It’s up to EB, and other companies, to find ways to adapt.

And when you get right down to it? Sure. There are going to be some good console sales this year now that we have some games for the damn things. But the average consumer? The average parent? They are going to buy Farcry 4 for their son or daughter’s PS3 or XBOX 360 before they drop 500 quid on a new console, and another 80 on a game, so EB can take a number.

It boils down to this; if you’re going to cut the publishers out of their profit on recycled games, then you have to expect that they may do the same to you on digital downloads. Tit for tat.

Thanks, and have a good weekend.

-Matthew

P.S.: Work is getting insane what with Christmas coming up. Today, for example, I have the honor of cooking for Mr. Gordon Lightfoot before he plays to a packed house here in my town.

I have tables of 20 – 50 pretty much every night this week, besides regular business.

That being said, I’m going to do my best to not interrupt your reading any more than necessary. To that end, I’m going to be doing a LOT of writing today, and having it set up to post at 9am on the normal posting days.

Mixed in to this, I’d imagine you’ll have some posts by Michael to keep you happy.

Take care, and Happy Holidays if I don’t write live before then.

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Tit for Tat

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