We don’t have a used games crisis – we have a Gamestop crisis

The more I read about this stuff, how Microsoft is trying to get around retail, I don’t think that there’s a used game crisis. I think there’s a Gamestop crisis. Amazon also sells used games, but I don’t believe it’s as big a deal to them as it is to Gamestop.

Consider if, somehow, Gamestop was wiped from the planet. Who would cry? Would the used game problem still exist? Gamestop’s MO has been all about the use (abuse?) of the first-sale doctrine.

That puts Microsoft in a strange position because Gamestop is one of their biggest partners. I haven’t been to a Gamestop in years, but strangely they’re still around while other retailers in entertainment have faltered.

I don’t believe the Xbox One’s first DRM scheme was about eliminating used games and trading with friends. I think it was Microsoft trying to find a way to dry up Gamestop’s used-game business. But the market needs to decide to dry-up Gamestop to make it possible.

I don’t understand why people buy used games at $55. My gut says it’s fueled by teenagers who save for the latest games, trade them in for a paltry amount of credit, and then take $5 off the latest titles when they buy used. They’ll take any discount they can get.

Imagine if they waited a few months. Mass Effect 3 is at $20 right now. Would that be the case if new games didn’t have to compete with used games?

Used games are gross, too. They always smell like cigarettes. It’s worth $5 to me to not have someone else’s grossness in my home.