GameStop Doesn’t Deserve Your Retro Gaming BusinessApril 17, 2015
If you follow gaming news like me, you’ve likely heard GameStop’s recent announcement to once again buy/sell old consoles and games. I’ve read several articles about the news, and most of them are either neutral or positive. However, I fall into the apparently unpopular camp that thinks this is a travesty, and that gamers everywhere should avoid this obvious attempt to cash in on the recently hot retro gaming market.
You see, I love video games. There I said it. Perhaps this would be a better announcement to make at some sort of “Video Gamers Anonymous” meeting, but I went once and the coffee was terrible. Some may say that my love for gaming borders on obsession, especially when it comes to my nostalgia for games of my youth. Not a day goes by that I don’t regale my fiancée with stories of experiencing Super Mario 64 for the first time, or playing co-op ToeJam & Earl with my dad on our old Genesis (which I still own). Retro gaming holds a special place in my heart. As a result, I spend a good amount of time, energy, and yes, money hunting down some of the games from my younger days.
So why am I so opposed to GameStop once again offering to buy old games and system and sell them to people who seek to give them a new home?
For one, GameStop has a reputation for scamming customers with their used game sales. You may recall a scandal back in 2013 regarding the sale of the Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles. GameStop had exclusive rights to distribute the highly popular title in their stores, and it didn’t take long for the retail gaming giant to take advantage of consumers.
As Xenoblade Chronicles was exclusive to GameStop and made in limited quantities, factory sealed versions eventually sold out. In line with supply and demand, the price of used copies shot up to as high as $90. However, as used stock of the game increased, GameStop kept the price of used copies at the same inflated price.
Nobody is absolutely sure why GameStop chose to keep the $90 price tag fixed on used copies. Some speculated that due to their exclusive distribution rights and Nintendo having no say in the matter of second-hand markets, GameStop was free to do as they pleased with nobody to check them. Some people actually went so far as to say that GameStop was opening factory sealed copies and selling them as “used” to earn more money. Regardless of the truth, it tarnished their reputation in the eyes of many consumers.
But this is just a microcosm of what makes GameStop unworthy of your retro gaming (and general gaming) business: they’re all about profit.
I’m not saying that GameStop, being a business, shouldn’t seek to turn a profit. What I have a problem with is taking advantage of gamers’ nostalgia during a time when retro gaming is on the rise. Everyone is aware that GameStop buys games at a significantly lower price than one can get for them on eBay or similar outlets. For a company whose motto is “Power to the Player”, they sure don’t seem to care about those players when it comes to their bottom dollar.
So what should gamers do? Simple – ignore GameStop’s recent and obvious ploy to capitalize off your previously loved retro gaming gear, and give them a new home that they deserve instead.
Video games and systems of yesteryear should be treated with respect, not discarded with a billion dollar company to sit on a shelf. Even though you may not have a need for your SNES carts and your old blast-processing Genesis, there was once a time that they brought you joy. I implore you, before selling your retro games, look at what they’re currently worth, and ask yourself if you’d get that trade-in value at GameStop.
Perhaps you won’t get much more by selling them elsewhere. But even if you’d get the same or less, you’ll at least know that your old games and systems are going to a new home. They won’t be sitting on a shelf to be passed over time and again due to their inflated GameStop price sticker. They won’t be sent to some warehouse in Texas to be refurbished by someone who cares more about turnover than quality.
Rather, they’ll be in the hands of someone who wants them, and who knows that they hold value in a form greater than money. Nostalgia and memories cannot be bought or traded. If you’ve treated your games with respect in the past, then make sure you give them a proper future. Don’t buy in to GameStop’s recent cash grab; keep games with gamers.