GAME is an outlet to trade in unwanted video games and perhaps pick up a second hand bargain, similiar to EBGames, Play ‘N Trade or the ever popular in the US, GameStop. Now Game stores have finally admitted defeat and have piled on thier best deals for the ‘going out of business’ practice we’ve seen occur in many other retail outlets in the entertainment market. It’s interesting that most journalists that have covered this story add a very spitefull “…and good riddance!” to their tag lines. Why such animosity for a supposedly fun place to go to purchase fun items like video games?
Touching on the previous years history of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video closing their doors in a majority of their major locations, it is important to realize that the digital age is most definately upon us, and platforms like Steam, OnLive, PSN, XBox Live, and other digitally acquired media has now finally started to put their retail conterparts to shame.
Recently I semi-volunteered to work for a GameStop location (due to it’s size and traffic it was a good way to get video game insider details) and doing so allowed me to also get some better insight as to the dealings and goings on within these larger companies when it comes to marketing and customer service. The main thing that put me off (and many customers) is the push the company forces down their employees throats to ‘grab as many pro memberships, and make sure to get pre-orders’ even when many customers either already have a pro card or haven’t even picked up previous pre-orders (which is money sitting in the company’s account that most customers have completely forgotten about).
I’ll never forget what a mother said when just trying to buy a couple games for her kids about the pushy and aggressive business behavior. I mean sure i’ve been in sales, and to ask the courious 3 times in different ways for an upgrade is were I would personally draw the line that this was a non-upgradeable customer. But when a pushy angry ‘senior’ game advisor is at the healm, there’s no saying no unless you just go. I remember watching this occur and hearing the nice mother who finally agreed, then looked at me and simply said, “This place is horrible.”
It was representation like that which made me consider the presence they have been portraying over the years when the getting was good, if it was working so well then, they have definately set that level of pushing the hard sale a few notches higher. For instance, if an employee at GameStop doesn’t make a minimum number of pre-orders, scratch protection orders (free money is what they called it), or pro card memberships within a given shift, they will cut your weeks working hours as low as one or two days a week. This allows you to take home roughly $120-$180 (if you are lucky) in a given two week pay period. Hardly a good business practice where employee moral is concerned, and barely enough for school books or gas if you are in college.
It’s no wonder that a store as big as “GAME” is also following suit with this kind of hard nosed business practice. What’s a brick and mortar company to do when all they are selling are discs that most people can now purchase online, cheaper off Ebay, rent for a few bucks at a Redbox or GameFly and save themselves $70.00 ordeal?
Considering that PC games are still a very large video gaming market, Direct2Drive allows full purchase of most of the latest video games, and stores like EBGames, GAME, or GameStop no longer carry 90% of PC game titles anymore. What did you think guys? We’d look the other way and just ignore that we could get a better deal elsewhere?
Another thing to consider with the whole ‘pre-order’ racket is this. Sure major video game publishers appreciate pre-orders, but it’s not about stock, supply and demand as much as you’d think. It’s about getting the consumer to commit to buying something sight unseen, and just because reviewers (usually paid –unlike the writers for this site–) say it’s the greatest blockbuster hit of the season, five stars, you’ll never want to play anything else, doesn’t mean that two days after release it’s not just another frisbee ready for the junk pile. Think smart, save your cash. Avoid pre-ordering anything unless you KNOW you want a game for your own personal reason. The incentives to pre-order a title will still be there after release, if you like something enough, trust me, you’ll be able to buy the ‘add-ons’… you think they won’t want your money again later?
If this author sounds jaded, it’s in humble disgust from the exploiting of the many employees (mostly kids trying to get through college and even senior personell pushed to become very angry and unhappy customer service reps) and all those worthwhile customers that simply wanted a copy of Super Mario and had their arm twisted to leave with an almost worthless magazine subscription and a card that gives them a whopping 10% off all pre-owned purchases (generally titles ranging from $2 to $20)… I guess the cash in their drawers are blinding them from the simple fact that people can do simple math, aren’t stupid, and would rather be appreciated than taken advantage of. Be kind to yourself, buy online and avoid having to argue your way out of a store to get what you really came for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily shared by all authors of GameGuideDog.com and its staff.