I talked a bit about pre-ordering the PlayStation 3 (or should I say, PLAYSTATION 3 — this is the way Sony denotes it in all of their press releases) as one of the first posts on the site. Based on the traffic, I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Well, get ready to start worrying even more. Joystiq is reporting that someone came across a flyer from GameStop/EB Games (they’re all the same now — GameStop and EB merged late last year) that indicates a plan for both stores to take PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii pre-orders….however, they don’t want your cash. Don’t walk in the store putting $599 plus tax on the table, talkin’ bout you want a PS3. They want something else. They want the gift that keeps on giving. They want your games. They’re asking for a $50 equivalent value trade in towards the privilege of even pre-ordering either system.
(Updates to the story have revealed that while this is true, currently it’s only being “beta-tested” in Hawaii. But this looks legitimate enough (and profitable enough) to almost guarantee that we’ll see these e-mails showing up in our inboxes from EB/GameStop).
See, the deal is this: both stores realize that selling the Wii and the PS3 alone are unprofitable. The margin on selling a system is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-9 per system. The margin for games and accessories is much higher (thus the reason for those 3 and 4 game bundles that we love so much.) But this is taking that greed to a completely different level. Selling used games is a huge business for GameStop/EB Games. They buy your games for anywhere from $5 – $40 (and if you get $40 or more, the game is definitely brand new or an extremely rare game.) Once they have your games, they sell them back at a profit of at least $10-25. No shipping costs. No hassle. Just pure profit.
The gaming community has had a growing disdain for EB and GameStop for a long time now. This is just about the last straw. The greed of these folks is unbelievable. Why there isn’t another gaming store that has better customer service and better consideration towards customers, I won’t understand. Just about the worst thing to happen was for GameStop and EB to merge. Now they can stick it to us without worrying about competition. I’m avidly searching for alternate places to do business. I don’t mind going online. The problem is that most companies don’t have the selection that this goliath has.
This is definitely depressing news. I think we should get together and boycott the store….let’s hit them in the pocket this holiday season. I’m calling for someone to start a web ring or a list of stores that sell PS3 and Wii systems that we can do business with. I’m sure regardless of what we do, they’ll sell out and have a great holiday season. But if we can build some momentum here, we can really make sure that have a horrible Q2 and Q3 of 2007. I’m dead serious about this one. Talk to me if you have ideas.