While Xbox One gamers gladly welcomed the announcement of the Xbox Game Pass, retailer GameStop isn’t feeling the same excitement. GameStop experienced a major drop in its stock price following the announcement, dropping a whopping 8.5% in just one day.
For those not in the know, the Xbox Game Pass looks to become akin to the Netflix of gaming, allowing players to download games from a large library of Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible titles directly to their console for a small monthly subscription fee. While GameStop and other brick and mortar gaming stores have already seen a significant drop-off in business with more gamers gaining access to high-speed internet and digital game distributors, the Xbox Game Pass will pose a direct threat to one of GameStop’s remaining markets – used games.
Although GameStop’s stock could potentially rebound in the days to come, for now, stockholders most likely believe that gamers won’t have as much of a reason to buy physical copies of older, used games at stores like GameStop. GameStop has been criticized in the past for maintaining relatively high prices on used games that are several years old, so the concept of spending just $10 a month to play up to a hundred games will most likely appeal to many gamers. However, that selling point is what will most likely cause a reduction in business for GameStop.
Thankfully for GameStop employees, GameStop just recently discontinued its “Circle of Life” program. Previously, GameStop would analyze how many games were being sold new by each store and employee, then handed in to be resold as a used game. While the discontinuation of this program preceded the announcement of the Xbox Game Pass, employees may be breathing a sigh of relief, considering they won’t be at risk of losing their jobs if the number of gamers showing up to buy or sell used games drastically drops off.
Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed exactly what the first 100 games it will be making available via the Pass are just yet, or how many of them will be from the Xbox 360, rather than the Xbox One. In addition, there isn’t an official release date for the Xbox Game Pass outside of a general window of Spring 2017, so while the stockholders might already be anxious, chances are GameStop stores won’t have anything to worry about for a while yet, especially with the upcoming Nintendo Switch launch rush.