Thursday, 15 August 2013

More GameStop Woes: the Xenoblade Issue

Oh boy....

It's not been too often that I've talked about one company twice in a row regarding somewhat different topics, but there are always exceptions and this is definitely one of them. The issue is again one of games and prices, and does involve used games ... in a sense. However, this one is about price point that is nowhere near the problem of just five cents or so.

Xenoblade Chronicles was a game that may have never even come to North America. For a good long time it looked like it wouldn't at all. It was only partly due to GameStop stepping in that it managed to get on this side of the globe. However, since GameStop stepped up, they also got something out of the deal: exclusivity. If you wanted to get your hands on a copy of the game, there was nowhere else to go. Still people were happy, they got to play a game that was released to pretty much universal acclaim.

Fastforward now to about a year and a half after Xenoblade's initial release. The game is now rather hard to find, part of the reason of course is that only one retailer can actually sell it. That's why when recently started going on sale again because of an influx of pre-owned copies people that might not have been fast enough the first time considered picking one up. Of course when they attempted to do so they also found that the game was selling for ninety dollars, used.

This sparked a two-fold controversy; first was the obvious fact that the game was almost double the retail price that it originally sold for. Certainly the game is hard to find, but many people think that such a price for a game that isn't even two years old is quite exorbitant. Even though this means that a new copy of the game would likely go for even more (depending, but we'll get to that in a second), it's also quite prohibitive for people that want to, you know, enjoy a good game that they've heard about.

The second, and far more serious, charge is that GameStop is taking new copies of the game, and marketing them as used. Now, I can understand that this seems counter-intuitive considering that I mentioned last paragraph that a new copy of the game could go for even more. However, a retailer will generally be compelled to such new, factory sealed merchandise for the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price), in this case $59.99. Even though nothing mandates that the game be sold for that price, people would probably raise hell if it were not for whatever reason, even if GameStop cited the rarity.

Of course, people are raising hell now over the idea that GameStop had a batch of new copies sitting around, but took off the plastic and then sold them used at a higher price due to the fact that they were rare. Granted, there is nothing more than anecdotal evidence at the moment that this is what occurred, but the accusations here are fairly serious in nature.

The idea that a store would change the nature of stock to get a better payout isn't new, but it seems that only rarely has there been an attempt that may have been so overt. Regardless though, whatever the reason is behind all this one thing is clear: if you want to play Xenoblade anytime soon and don't already own a copy, you had better be prepared to shell out a good sum of cash for any copy that you can find.

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