Death of a (used games) Salesman?

-Eric Lee Lewis

A hot topic as of late has been about a few game companies struggling. Most notably; THQ. THQ, like most companies, has made some pretty bad mistakes. But bad decisions like children’s games and bad tech aren’t the underlying issue when it comes to why some game companies are dying.

In recent years, many game shops have opened and started selling used games. One of these stores is GameStop. While buying new games from any store allows the developers and producers of the game to make profit and often times nets the buyer special content, buying a used copy of the same game (often for only five dollars cheaper) gives 100% of the profit to GameStop. This is good for GameStop but this is horrible for game creators. 

As of 2010, it is estimated that a “triple A” title costs about $20 Million to produce. Apparently these companies must be doing fine then. Completely incorrect. More and more game developers are having to be bought out by larger companies. While this seems fine, this is costing the companies that buy the other company or just their properties money. 

So, what is this all about? I am a gamer. I love gaming. I love to support gaming. One of the last things I could possibly want is for this industry to die out. How can we save it? The answer to saving the gaming industry is quite simple; stop buying used games and always buy new. 

Now, you may be saying, “Eric, you write for a place called Empty Wallet Gamer, how could YOU be telling ME to buy new games only?” and this also has a simple answer. As previously stated, when a game is bought used from GameStop or another store in the same vein, you are only saving, on average, $5. While one can think of a few things to do with $5, what if you buy a game that you want to play online? Well, prepare to spend another $10 for an online pass. In this instance you are actually paying $10 more for a USED game. I would rather be an empty wallet gamer than not be able to play games at all.

As of right now it is rumored that the next generation of gaming consoles are trying to figure out a way to block the use of used games. This has kind of put a damper on GameStop’s stranglehold on the industry and caused them to start figuring out their next business move. This could possibly lead to GameStop no longer carrying certain companies’ games or consoles. This, in fact, is a risk I am willing to take as a gamer. 

So what happens if this move forces GameStop stores to close down? Many jobs would be lost and this is one less gaming retailer. It seems like a cold thing for me to say, “Well, they lost their jobs but the industry is going to prosper now.” when it’s not the way anyone really thinks. 

Please, do buy games from GameStop. Hell, pre-order games from there and get some of the bonus content, but stop buying used games. This doesn’t help the industry, it lines the pocket of thieves.