When Microsoft detailed the restrictions the Xbox One placed on used games, as well as game sharing, it wasn’t just gamers who found themselves worked into a tizzy. Retailer GameStop and online game-rental service GameFly potentially going to feeling the sting as well. However, the policies regarding both used and rented games have been reversed, along with the fortunes of those two companies, at least for the near future.
Both companies have recently issued statements that express their happiness with Microsoft’s decision to lift any restrictions for used or rented games off of their next-gen console.
GameFly co-founder and SVP of business development and content Sean Spector had this to say regarding the recent turn of events:
“I always felt good about the future of GameFly, but I feel better today. Today is a win/win for consumers, as well as GameFly. I think choice is always important and now consumers have more choice. And I give [Microsoft] credit for listening to their consumers.”
Spector had apparently been in talks with Microsoft in order to work out some sort of middle ground so that GameFly could continue to thrive in the next-gen, but now it would seem all those negotiations were for naught. Additionally, a spokesperson for GameStop shared the companies equally sunny disposition in light of the policy turnaround:
“GameStop welcomes today’s announcement from Microsoft about changes in functionality for its next-generation console, the Xbox One. This is great news for gamers and we applaud Microsoft for understanding consumers and the importance of the pre-owned market.”
Both statements backhandedly give credit to Microsoft for the change while reinforcing the idea of Microsoft as the big bad guy that was trying to introduce policies that were just devastating to consumer rights. While these were the officially released PR statements, one could easily assume letters from both companies appeared in Microsoft’s mailbox that read something like, “Hey guy, thanks for not crippling a major leg of our business.”
GameStop especially has reason to rejoice when their current business model is predicated on leeching off of the gaming industry and taking potential customers away from them. According to a May 2013 report from Forbes:
“More than 30% of GameStop’s revenues are generated through the sale of used video games. Higher margins on this revenue stream make it the biggest contributor to profits with over 40% of GameStop’s gross profits coming from used video games.”
GameStop always intends to sell the same copy of a game no less than three or four times. That means one purchase from a publisher and four sales for GameStop, with the publisher – more importantly, the developers – seeing no monetary compensation for those last three sales.
Of course, GameFly and GameStop both could have continued renting and selling, respectively, used PlayStation 4 games and used Wii U games. However, with the massive backpedaling done by Microsoft in the wake of the post-E3 2013 negativity, it looks like everything will be back to normal for both companies, and for consumers, again, for the time being. This should mean gamers being given an obnoxiously low trade-in value for their games while they get sold back for a mere $5 less than the new version, and that games rented by mail can continue to take seven days at a time to get into players’ hands.
Ranters, how do you feel about the future of GameStop and GameFly as the industry continues to try and upheave older business models while consumers cling to them like life-vests? Will GameStop need to continue to make serious considerations for existing in a digital future? Is there a happy medium somewhere here that could have been met? Tell us below!