I’ve had times in my life where I’ve gone hard against brands I disagree with, but perhaps I’ve gone too far because I saw unfulfilled potential and missed opportunities. I’m here today to provide what is hopefully much more valuable feedback and constructive criticism about one brand in particular. GameStop is the bane of many gamers’ existence, but it doesn’t have to be – and it wasn’t always this way. In my opinion the following three points are areas where GameStop needs to show improvement in order to win gamers back, and I genuinely hope that they do.
Number One: Stop telling people to pre-order games. This might sound like a really small thing but is actually the number one complaint that gamers have against GameStop. Believe it or not, this one small and simple change in wording could provide a huge impact on making people love the in-store GameStop experience again. Gamers feel like when they’re told what to pre-order they’re being forced into decisions that they’re not ready to make yet. Even worse, if the game disappoints them later, instead of blaming themselves for the purchase, they will blame GameStop.
Simply let people buy whatever they want to buy. Modern video game consumers are still going to pre-order games even without being harassed and have already educated themselves in most cases as to what they think deserves that risk. Maybe instead get to know them as individuals and be a better salesman by finding out their wants and needs and cultivating a friendship. Ask them what they like in a different way that is not so pushy and try asking what genres they like without immediately pushing for a pre-order the same day. This could be a way to open up conversations. Many people who still shop at GameStop say that they enjoy these types of conversations, but do not enjoy the pressure of the constant pre-order requests every visit at the check out line.
Number Two: Stop selling used games for so much money. What’s the point of buying a game used if you’re only going to save $5 or $10? Of course we understand that GameStop needs to survive as a business, but if they want to do that then they need to also understand that they’re competing with Amazon and eBay a lot more these days than they used to be. They also need to understand that gamers are aware buying used might not directly support their favorite publisher / developer, so a great bargain will go a long way to keep GameStop from losing that much needed profit margin with used game sales.
Number Three: Stop selling used games as new copies. Many GameStops open up games that haven’t been used yet to allow employees to play them. This is a great benefit for employees who work at GameStop, but it’s not okay for GameStop to sell these at the new game price. Just because a game is in great condition doesn’t mean that it is a new copy. If someone has taken it home and used it already and broken the plastic wrapping on the original case GameStop should not be allowed to sell that to gamers at new game price without the seal and act like it’s okay.
There are even extreme cases where GameStop has done this with very rare games sometimes resulting in driving up the price above $60 (such as when highly anticipated Action RPG Xenoblade Chronicles from development studio Monolith Soft was first released for the Nintendo Wii with an exclusive distribution agreement that saw the game only available in GameStop stores.) This caused a huge ripple throughout the gaming community, cost GameStop to lose a lot of their remaining reputation among skeptics, and overall left many gamers feeling upset or even betrayed.
There are many more ways in which GameStop could improve but before listing those I would like to see the company take an actionable interest in solving these three first. Only then will I be able to confidently provide more feedback and begin to take them seriously as a company again as well as feel like I’m being taken seriously as a consumer of video games. I’m not the only one who feels this way and hopefully they still care about what real gamers have to say.
Disclosure: The author of this article worked for Amazon on a confidential project during a six-month contract which was completed as scheduled.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are that of the author and may / may not represent views of the rest of RGN Staff / our audience. This article will not be removed and all takedown requests will be ignored.