Electronic Arts: Videogame Stores aren't Long for this World

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tedpc01

Yes, Gamestop sucks for PC games and to top it off, they take the brand new games out of the boxes for retail display! I find that Best Buy has a somewhat fairly decent selection at often great prices.

 

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ScytheNoire

If we base things on Steam, then yes, stores are in trouble, Steam does a great job.

If we base things on Origin, where they "sell out" of things on the first day and overprice their digital goods drastically, then nope, stores will be around for a long time. EA can't even control and deliver their own product, let alone keep things working properly. Their SWTOR pre-order has been a complete mess and they are sold out of their own product. WTF?

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Holly Golightly

I think Wilson is right. Eventually retail giants like GameStop (who devoured their entire competition) is in for a big one. I don't like how GameStop over emphasizes on the console gaming market, and under estimates the PC Gaming market. Even with that said, I still prefer to get physical copies of my favorite games. I like to have a nice shelf to show off my collection. That, and I do not like being tied down to Steam, which is annoying to constantly log online just to play. So I think both formats will exist for a very long time.

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Ghok

I stopped buying games in store when there ceased being any reason to.

No manuals, bad DRM, boring standardized packaging... there's no advantages over getting the game on Steam (well, not for me).

I'm a big fan of Steam now, but if I could still get a good disc version, I'd be doing that.

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7.62mm

Why even pay for games anymore? I just look for SKiDROW or RELOADED or FAIRLIGHT on the release date or before the release date and download the game stripped of any Steam junk or DRM. Yes, go and pay $60 for games. Unless its something spectacular, I never ever will. Deus Ex? Yes, I'll download that. Saint's Row 3? Sure. I didn't even bother paying for most of the Call of Duty series. And forget torrents. Just go buy a FIlesonic account.

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avenger48

Um, you really shouldn't say things like that in public places.  MaximumPC has your IP, and they could be subpeona'd for it if anyone in any sort of authority reads this.  Yes, we all know about torrents, and direct download websites, but this is a bit like waving around stolen merchandise right outside the store you just stole it from.

Watch your back.

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Annoyance

Walk into your local GameStop and you're lucking if the single rack dedicated to PC games is filled on both sides, compared to console games filling shelves, racks, and discount bins around the store.

Your so right about the PC Games, one day doing some cleaning upstairs and came a cross some old PC games. Phoned Gamestop and EB Games I think it's called they wouldn't take PC Games but Consoles game sure. At the end I just left them in a crate upstairs, sellling the Xbox 360 + 5 Games for $300 and the old xbox games are gone too.

I Have a PS3 that's almost getting the For Sale sign slaped on it to. Why playing Battlefield BC 2 one night the SinglePlayer Campaign after I passed one mission and the other was done loading up I press the Home button to see the trophie I got from the last mission the game continued to play the cut seen I press the Home Button to go back in game it just continued to play but the home wouldn't let me back in the game.

Turned off the PS3 system started the game again Singleplayer campaign DELETED online data downloaded again ever got mad for the first time witch was funny tured off the Console again and never look/went back. Also I made $50 fixing someones PC, went out to buy the game only to be RIPPED OFF!

On Error Resume Next

Consoles Sucks! (Error)

PC Rocks! (No Error)

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rawrnomnom

As far as gamestop goes, i'm not a fan. but my local used game store rocks... they have a decent selection of games, not to mention old consoles and a huge selection of ds carts (picked up a limited edition ndsi for $90) and all around its nice to be able to go to a place like that. 

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Kinetic

I know that streaming is "the wave of the future" and all that jazz, but with a huge portion of America and other countries still without affordable high speed internet if any high speed at all -where I used to live it was either that draconian hughes net or nothing- and bandwidth caps becoming the true wave of the future, I simply don't see this happening.
Regardless, I think this sort of statement from EA is less about eagerness to progress into an all digital era, and more about an eagerness to progress into an era without GameStop. EA and others have whined about the buying and selling of used titles cutting into their bottom line time and time again, and it's getting really annoying.
The reason why people even buy used games from stores like GameStop is simply because on many titles (that aren't new releases) the price of a used game can be extraordinarily low. The majority of people will always go where the deals are the best, and if EA really wanted to move into a digital business model Origin would be a good place to start, and the easiest way to do it would be to cut $10 off the top of each EA game on Origin. PC games are already priced on average $10 lower than console games, and without having to print, package, and ship digital titles I think they could pull it off. Unless their server costs for Origin rival their physical production and distribution costs, which I doubt they do.
But I also doubt that will ever happen either.

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roleki

Brick and mortar game stores will never go away, just like brick and mortar book stores... oh wait.

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yooperboogs

Up here it sucks where I live only maybe half of us have high speed internet...everyone else is on DSL and Dial up...yeah thats right dial up....up here it'd suck if they went to download only...plus what happens when people have huge collections of games..are we going to be switching out hard drives to decide what game we want to play? that'd be worse than switching out disks. Unless game systems go the way of the PC and offer multiple bays for hard drives its almost impossible to go without disks...but to get back on subject kinda the game stores like gamestop if they wanna stay in business there going to have to lower there used game prices...if I can go to walmart and buy the game new with the Uplay pass for $60 or I can go to gamestop and get the game lets say there usually $5 cheaper if there used so essentially when you buy the game used for $55 and then have to buy the Uplay pass for $10 or $15 your essentially paying more. So eventually unless gamestop starts selling there used games cheaper to compensate for the pass you need to buy they are going to go belly up.

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Trooper_One

Many moons ago, when I used to work for EB Games, they had shelves and shelves of PC games and accessories.  Now, like the article said, it's mostly console games (mostly used).  You'll be hard pressed to even find one rack of PC games at one of these shops.  PC in the retail land is a dying breed nearing extinction; Wilson may have a point about the reduction of used console games since EA really does want to have their hand at picking the money in this lucrative market.

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Mastro Antonio

So we continue to get fatter because it's one more thing we don't have to get up off our asses for.

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Neufeldt2002

I agree with the console talk, discs for them are not going away. Something else to remember, kids don't have credit cards to purchase things online. I will once in a while purchase something through steam for my son, but when it comes to the console he uses his CASH to go the local game store and buys his own games.

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Peanut Fox

What if he could use his cash to buy a prepaid card to use on Steam, PSN, or XBL?  I think something like that would fill that gap. 

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avenger48

The problem with that is the lack of flexibility of those cards.  You lose money on sales tax when you buy the card, and you can only buy in certain denominations.  Usually, I see $10,$20, and $50, nothing else.  I have also never seen one for steam.  So yes, it could work, but it needs to be more flexible than it is now.

There is another problem as well: delayed gratification.  Why go to a game store, buy a card, go home, go to a digital store, purchase a game there, and download it when you can just buy the game at the store you originally went to?  For new releases, Steam isn't really any cheaper than brick and mortar stores.

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CDNTechGuy

I think the next gen of consoles will have a digital download option and the gen after that (if there is one) will be all digital download. Gamestop will be out of business or online only in the next 10 years. I prefer to buy my games on steam if i have the option, its easy to use, they have great sales and i dont have to worry about keeping some DVD or activation code.

I've worked at an EBgames and trust me employees and management know that they will not be doing business the way they are today for much longer. I see the future of Gamestop and EBgames being a kiosk in a big-box store where you buy the newest game on a thumb drive (to upload to a console) or gift card with a download code and that’s it.

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nmanguy

I used to refuse to buy anything online because I prefereed the physical media... and then Steam started having massively discounted sales.

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Ulrich

This is stupid talk. Bandwidth caps, low bandwidth, small harddrives... oh and how is OnLive doing... I rest my case.

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rawrnomnom

Small harddrives? thats your own fault... unless you're talking about consoles... And unless you have to download to play EVERY TIME then I think you'll be ok on the caps... 

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Peanut Fox

What does OnLive have to do with digital game sales?  They don't even sell games.  They sell access to games, and that's a whole different model entirly.  A better question would be "how is Valve is doing?"

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LatiosXT

EA is saying the same thing they said since 2008ish.

Video games aren't going purely digital any time soon. Look at the music industry, easily the first to go pure digital. But nope, I still the music CD section at Target is still bigger than the PC game section (although that's kind of sad)

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TommM

Like others have said, as long as consoles keep using DVD's for games and there's a resale market for them, GameStop isn't going anywhere.  That's a HUGE market.

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MikeE

I for one can not see these places "withering away". Number one, like it was mentioned in other comments, the standard console would have to hold a mighty hard drive straight from factory. While another comment mentions about the Bandwidth Cap. Game companies would have to be retarded to make games download only with this type of restriction being put on to the consumer.

As i see places like "Steam" or "Amazon" selling games online where you just have to download it, i just shake my head. I personally like that box on my shelf with a CD in the case. Not only can i show off my games, but also remember all the games i have. Also the feeling of owning a game where you just have downloaded and don't have a CD to prove it, just feels wrong for me.

I don't see something like this happening, but if it ever does, I believe my gaming days will be over. I have never bought a game off the web and don't plan on it. I'd rather jump on my quad and rip it up (something that i can physically see that i own).

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rawrnomnom

I wish steam would add a Cover Flow style sort to fix that issue... : /

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Wingzero_x

Personally, I would love to see the end of Gamestop, (Wow gotta love that $5 difference, between new and used.)

But while Moms and Grandmas are going there to buy their kids the latest games they will have customers.

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MikeE

Who shops at Gamestop (or other video game stores such as EB Games)? I would much rather go to Best Buy or something like that and pay less. And don't say it's because you can trade in used games or have warranty on the game, cause Best Buy does the exact same thing.

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Marthian

I do occasionally. They had Portal 2 for $30 on PC, I couldn't skip out on that. They also had Fallout New Vegas for $20, they sometimes have some decent deals. Just don't trade in games, thats where they suck (consoles too, they only offered $15 for my PSP)

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Biceps

As long as this current generation of consoles hangs on, I think gamestop will continue to do well with their storefront retail business.  Unless consoles move away from physical media in the next generation, stores like Gamestop should be ok.  As other posters have pointed out, Gamestop has already adjusted to the current market reality by focusing on selling console games in their stores, and minimizing their game selection.  They have also purchased Impulse, so they still have a good revenue stream from retail direct download pc games.

I do think we nees to take EA with a grain of salt here; not only do they have a vested interest in seeing stores like gamestop disappear (as the author pointed out), but they are now also thrying to compete directly in the D2D market.  How long until some executive at EA announces that "the end of Steam is near!"? Phhht.

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Wingzero_x

Let's not forget Microsoft has said this too...All the while as the XBox 360 featured a 20 GB HDD. So yeah pass the salt.

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Red Ensign

Andy may want to call up Reed Hastings and ask him how putting all his eggs in the digital basket has worked for Netflix. PC gaming aside, consoles will never be viable for digital only until the console makers start making 1+ tb hard drives the standard. It doesn't matter how many times you can delete and redownload anything as long as there are bandwidth caps and possible outages. Look how bonkers consumers went when Netflix was down for a few hours recently. As much as digital makes financial sense, you can't just click your ruby slipper heels together and wish it so that consumers want it also.

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MrBlueCheese

Who says we're still going to be using 1 TB hard drives when digital downloads become the industry standard?

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Wingzero_x

Hell just try downloading the game you just bought on Steam during one of those Steam sales! Oh and if you have ever purchased a game on line for the consoles .... Saaaaaaloooooooooo.

 

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Blues22475

I think PC games are more likely to go the way of the digital download more-so than console games. Gamestop doesn't' seem to have as much PC gamers on their shelf as I used to see in the early days.

Having all games go the way of Digital Download is not a good idea. This is because game are like data: it can be corrupted, lost stolen and deleted. I read someone had got their account hacked. Without keep the proof of purchase of their games, they just lost several hundred dollars in purchases made over the course of several years (and I am sure all of us keep our PoP over the course of several years).

Call me old-fashioned  I guess, but I still prefer to have the physical  media with me. Don't get me wrong, Steam is great making game purchase easy, but if you get corrupted data, or your account gets hacked you are potentially screwed.

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MrBlueCheese

I think the gaming industry could go a couple of different routes.

1) Put everything on the cloud

2) Pure digital downloads

3) Combination of digital and physical (like USB drives that store the games in a digital copy)

 

Digital Downloads can be a viable option, if there's an option to redownload the game (due to data corruption, reformatting of the hard drive, etc) and there's two level authentication process for the accounts (like using a digital token or biometrics, or even facial recognition)

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Edwincnelson

I just went into a Gamestop the other day and they looked pretty healthy. People love buying used console games and I can't see that ending in the near future. As for EA... I hate EA. 

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gruvsf

I'm right there with you, @Edwincnelson. My nephew loves going into Gamestop to pre-order and pick up newly released games (on release days), and there were tons of other kids older and younger than he is (he is 9) that packed that store at 10 friggin' AM on a weekend!

I love Steam but it is such a pain in the butt to download my games (most of them 4-8 GB in size) when I have to reinstall them. I find that busting out the DVD to install are always quicker and then just sync it with my Steam account after. Plus my Comcast data caps really don't help either when I consume most of my media via streaming (Hulu Plus).

I predict that EA will eventually fold Origin and go back to Steam and their usual retail outlets if all they have are a few good games and the rest being the same crap sports games that are released yearly with little to no updates. Consumers want choice and good pricing (hence why Steam does well). However, if I want a collector's edition, would I be able to get that through Steam and get all of the cool items at my doorstep? I think not.

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gruvsf

deleted for a double post :(

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