Sunday, August 5, 2012

Unwelcome to GameStop
As a kind of social experiment awhile back I actually hung out in a Gamespot one weekend, just to see the types of customers that frequented it.  One of the employees was a college buddy of mine so he didn't mind me sitting off to the side of counter area chatting it up with the staff when they weren't busy.  Ironically he looked a lot like the person in the image to the left.  Something that surprised me while eavesdropping was just how stereotypical the customers were; the spoiled kid and his mom, the clueless grandma, the sports game jock, the token girl gamer (who loved Katamari), the anti-social snob and just about every other generic template of gamer came through that door during the hour or so I was there.  What surprised me more than the customers though was the amount of info dumping, sales pitching, and general transaction talk that Gamespot employees were required to do.   So much so a significant amount people were getting mildly annoyed with the whole process.

From GameSpot's perspective this is just a way for them to increase revenue, but I can't help thinking that their choice of tactics is loosing more money than it's gaining.  For ever person who makes additional purchases how many are turned off by the aggressive sales strategy and decides to take their business elsewhere?  I have a feeling for a lot of people, one of the main advantages of buying games at other retail outlets is the benefit of not having to deal with GameStop's video game equivalent of used car salesmen.  I'm not really blaming the employees themselves.  They're practically forced to do the whole complement the customer on his purchase - ask if he wants a magazine subscription - used game trade ins - members reward program - insurance thing.  That said it still gets old really fast for everyone.  Just to bring up a quick comparison, Japanese used game stores tend to make it a much quicker and smoother transaction with the most your likely to hear being if you have a members card (and if whether you would like to sign up for one or not).  That's it.  Personally, I think this a much better system.  It doesn't hurt either that they give you about 60% of the value of your original game purchase on trade ins as opposed to GameStop's 30% ripoff.  The truth is though this doesn't matter so much to me since I prefer to swap games with friends or simply give them away.

Another thing that strikes me as odd is the constant crusade developers and publishers wage against used game sales.  Especially since only about 5% of total video game profits are made up of reselling used titles.  The amount of resources put into trying to capture that small piece of pie is pretty ridiculous.  Especially when all that effort could be better spent on the actual game.  Then again these are the same guys that will waste huge amounts of energy just to slightly inconvenience pirates at the expense of their honest customers.  Remember just because they stole your games doesn't mean they would have paid you for it otherwise.  But I'm getting off topic.  So to conclude I don't think GameStop deserves the flack it gets from the guys who make games.  At the same time though I really wish customers would get treated with more respect.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree. I don't like shopping at GameStop mainly because I feel harassed every time I buy something. Also, you can't beat the price or convenience of online shopping.