GameStop staffer: Used games have trapped us

A GameStop employee takes on Develop conference keynoter, claiming that without used games, GameStop would go under

During a biz conference keynote, a GameStop employee in the audience told InstantAction CEO Louis Castle he doesn't like selling used games, but that without them, it'd be game over for the mega-retailer.

The not-so-surprising revelation emerged during a business conference in Brighton, UK (covered by Spong) where an audience member who identified himself as a GameStop employee admitted "We don't like being in the used games business, but we have to be there," and that the company "would have to exit the games business otherwise."

The GameStop employee was actually defending GameStop's business from Castle's keynote declaration that games should be "free to experience." Castle has previously assailed used games retailers, admitting that he "has no love at all for the Wal-Marts and GameStops of the world."

"They've abused the industry horribly with selling used games, and rentals," said Castle in an April Gameindustry.biz interview. "There's no love lost there at all."

"They're all desperately trying to figure out where to go next too, but at the end of the day they've killed the distribution method."

Castle's right. New or used, physical media always had a fixed shelf life. It'll soon be another artifact of the early twenty-first century. Whether replaced by "gaming in the cloud" or en masse via digital downloads hardly matters. Given that safe, unspectacular assumption, it's equally safe (and unspectacular) to assume that physical media retailers like GameStop -- who "would have to exit the games business" without used games -- have a fixed shelf life too.

Of course GameStop also sells the odd PC game digitally, but how many people know or frankly care? With more sophisticated services like Steam, Impulse, Gamersgate, and Direct2Drive (not to mention Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network) utterly dominating that space?

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Matt Peckham

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