In a recent earnings call, Raines said he believes “it’s unlikely that there would be that next-gen console because the model simply hasn’t been proven to work.”
Raines is of course referring to the large percentage for which used game sales account for the company. According to Gamasutra, last year, GameStop accrued $2.6 billion in used games and accessories, which translated to 27% of the company’s total sales. The more impressive number is the $1.2 billion in profit that can be attributed to used sales, which was 46% of GameStop’s total gross profits in 2011.
There has been no confirmation from any console manufacturer about the validity of these rumors, but GameStop would obviously hope to curb something that would lose them such a large profit margin. Yet none of that profit goes to the game developers and publishers, and the possibility of preventative measures does not sound farfetched.
The easiest way for console manufacturers to cut out used games would be to become all digital platforms, but to completely forgo physical media would quickly anger retail stores. Particularly when in 2010 GameStop accounted for 60% – 70% of first week game sales and for over 21% of the entire retail gaming market, as Digital Trends mentions along with Raines’ statement, consumers are showing little sign of wanting to abandon their game discs and cartridges.
So while Raines’ comments should be taken with a grain of salt, expect to hear more from both sides of the used game debate as the next group of consoles becomes more of a reality.