Monday, February 25, 2008

What's a "Ship Date"?

Recently GameStop has further obscured the availability of their inventory by announcing "ship dates" instead of release dates.

GameStop can now further enforce their mandatory pre-orders by claiming that a game hasn't been stocked yet.

Let's talk about how street dates work. A street date, is the day a retailer is allowed to begin selling a product.

Since you can't depend on all retailers receiving the product at the same time, you set a "street date" so no retailer has an advantage over another.

Here's an illustration; your local movie theater gets the print of the newest disaster movie on a Wednesday. The Cineplex downtown doesn't get it until Friday afternoon.

If they haven't agreed to the film's street date, the local theater could begin running the movie two days early, thereby having an economic advantage over the Cineplex.

Back to GameStop, we have street dates to ensure that retailers have ample time to receive and stock products prior to the day they can be sold.

There is no reason to announce their so called "ship date" because the game has been shipped in advance.

Now GameStop's "VIP" availability has another excuse to turn paying customers away.

"No Pre-order? Sorry, the game hasn't been received yet."

'Army of Two' is scheduled to come out Tuesday, 3/4. Will GameStop sell you a copy on that day?

EA, when would you like your game to be available for sale? Better check with GameStop, it seems that they are in control of your release dates now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

GameStop withholding Devil May Cry 4?

Yesterday 2/5 was the release of the highly anticipated game Devil May Cry 4.

Many gamers have complained that GameStop informed them that it would not be sold until 2/6, a day after the standard Tuesday release.

Others received conflicting information from GameStop that DMC4 wouldn't be sold until 5pm, much later than the usual 12am.

Why would GameStop keep from selling a game on it's release day?

It seems that they are experimenting with "VIP" based availability. Customers who pre-ordered the game are allowed to buy it on release day, and "regular" customers have to wait.

Is this what Capcom had in mind when they announced the release date?

Did they know that GameStop would allow the "privilege" of buying it only to those who surrendered a deposit in advance?

Is this the end of "free market" consumerism?

What will happen next week with Lost Odyssey? Can we buy it on 2/12?

Is GameStop dictacting street dates to profit from pre-orders?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

GameStop's Pre-Order Racket.

Is GameStop running a retail "protection" racket?

Let's look at how protection works in organized crime.

A criminal warns you of possible harm, and then explains that for a fee, they will protect you from it.

When a customer goes to GameStop, they are warned that if they fail to pre-order a game, it will not be available to them.

If you leave a deposit with GameStop you will be "protected" in the event that not enough copies are available.

GameStop has a motivation to get as many pre-orders as possible, as this money (in the interim) can be invested elsewhere.

When a customer doesn't pre-order a title, GameStop employees will refuse to sell them a copy of the game to create the illusion that paying protection is necessary. (See previous post)

If GameStop freely sold in-stock games to customers, then there would be no reason for anyone to pay them "protection".

Can you spot the difference between GameStop's retail policies and a protection racket?

Yeah, me neither.

Monday, January 14, 2008


When I found out that there was a new Katamari coming out for 360, I couldn't wait.

On the launch day, I stopped by Target on the way home. Not surprisingly, they didn't carry it.

After I got home, I checked the GameStop website to see if they had any. It said they had a few in stock, but I called ahead just to be sure.

The employee told me yes, Beautiful Katamari was available. I got in the car and arrived approximately fifteen minutes later.

"Hi, I called about Beautiful Katamari".

The manager appears to assist cashier, "Did you preorder it?"

"No" I said.

"It's sold out." he replied.

"Oh, I just called and someone told me you had it".

"We sold them".

"You sold out in the last fifteen minutes?"

Keep in mind that while the Katamari series is excellent, it's by no means mainstream. People don't mob a store to "Roll with the Prince".

Just prior to the GameStop/EBGames buyout, this store had been an EBGames competing with a GameStop across the street. I was directed to the old GameStop to see if they had a copy.

"Hello, welcome to GameStop!" called out he cashier.

"Hi, do you have any copies of Beautiful Katamari?" I asked

Then the manager appeared from behind the counter, "Did you preorder it??"

I confessed that I hadn't.

"Sorry, it's sold out."

I thanked them and turned to leave.

"WAIT!" called the manager.

"You only want one copy?"

I replied that yes, one copy of the game is enough.

"Well, alright, I'll sell it to you." he said.

Let's look at this situation. In one evening, I have tried to buy a game, and been turned down by two separate GameStop managers.

Then, one BROKE DOWN, and decided to sell the game to me. Keep in mind, I am paying for this game with legal tender.

Not subway tokens, not carnival tickets, MONEY.

Isn't that how the system works? A retailer sets a price, and if the customer offers that amount of money, they can exchange it for the item.

There's no other factor.

What is GameStop's motivation for NOT selling items to customers?

Find out in our next exciting installment of;

GameStop Boycott.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I Need a PSP

I'm not into portable gaming, but when I saw Jeanne D'arc, I had to get it.

I picked up a copy on eBay, and planned to get the PSP when it arrived.

Yesterday, I checked my local Target and Best Buy to find that all the PSPs are sold out.

Of course there are two GameStops within a mile of my house with new and used PSPs, but the boycott stands.

This is $169.99 dollars they won't get.

I'll wait until Target gets more.

I refuse to shop at a store that perverts capitalism for it's own gain.

Sell in-stock games to anyone who asks for them GameStop, it's that simple.

until then...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Boycott Gamestop

If you've shopped at GameStop you're familiar with the question;

"Would you like to pre-order anything today?"

This may seem like an innocent way to create repeat business or, entice you to commit to a future purchase, but it's actually part of a larger revenue generating conspiracy.

Every time a customer leaves a deposit for a pre-order, GameStop has gotten money for nothing. You may say the customer will get the product eventually, but in the meantime they have thousands of preorders either for $5 or $59.99 on their books.

This translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars in GameStop's pockets.

Good for them you say? Well, they took their scheme one step further, and they've created deceptive retail practices to keep gamer's cash in their registers.

There are two independent retail practices in play here that GameStop is using to mislead and exploit their customers.

"Dead Product"

To keep customers from shoplifting games, GameStop displays empty video game cases, and keeps the actual games behind the counter, or in the stock room. As there is nothing "live" on the sales floor, this is called "dead product".


When a customer wants to be certain a game is available, they can "pre-order" a game by leaving a nominal deposit, and know that a copy of the game is reserved for them on release day.

GameStop decided that since pre-order deposits equal "free money" they are interested in getting as many pre-orders on the books as their sales staff can get.

As there is no product on the shelf, the customer can't tell if a game is in stock or not. It's up to the sales staff to let them know.

GameStop pressures it's staff to meet pre-order "quotas". This pressure has created an environment where the staff wants to "punish" or "reward" customers who have gotten a pre-order or not.

GameStop knowingly withholds product from customers who have not pre-ordered the game. This is supposed to "teach them a lesson" so they will pre-order next time, and GameStop's cash cow will be healthy.

Since the product is "dead", the customer has no way of knowing if it's truly available or not.

I have had some experiences with this behavior, but as I am not a frequent customer, I tended to let it go. A recent discussion on Penny Arcade made me realize that this behavior is not just in my neighborhood, but company-wide.

That day I sat down to write a letter to GameStop to let them know I would be boycotting them until these practices ended.

I never got around to it.

A few weeks later, I thought, what better way to boycott than with the gaming community at large.

My goal is simple; force GameStop to end their deceptive practices and simply....

..y'know, accept legal tender for videogames.

That and a public apology to gamers everywhere.

GameStop acquired EBGames, and are a gaming-only behemoth, but they aren't the only retailers in town.

I haven't been to GameStop for two months, and I don't miss it. There are several outlets such as Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others to buy games and equipment.

So let's get the word out, and boycott GameStop together. Let them know we won't let them change "free market" retailing into a subscription based service.

I'll post more information soon, but send in your LameStop experiences and I'll post them.

Here's the link to the Penny Arcade article. (skip down to Gabe's post)