GameStop Working with Developers to Get More Significant Pre-Order Bonuses
GameStop is planning on expanding its pre-ordering incentives by getting involved earlier in a game's development process for the sake of offering exclusive gameplay.
VentureBeat reports that GameStop has met with R.W. Baird, a major investment firm, to discuss where it intends to move the retail side of the gaming industry. Colin Sebastian, an analyst for R.W. Baird, revealed the behemoth game retailer wants to offer deeper, more involved incentives to really push its customers to pre-order anticipated titles at GameStop. As of now, most of GameStop's pre-order incentives tend to be a bonus piece of downloadable content, such as an additional character, a bonus mission, special items, multiplayer skins, a single multiplayer level, etc. Most of these pre-order incentives are nice to have, but are usually nothing major in terms of content you can skip, until now.
GameStop makes a lot of its money from buying back used games (for either store credit or a reduced amount of cash), and selling it back to the masses at a higher rate. Major retail stores have started to copy GameStop's claim to fame in order to openly compete with it. Best Buy, Target, Amazon and Walmart are just some of the retailers who have started offering their own in-game exclusives to encourage people to pre-order and purchase their games just like GameStop does. These same retail chains have started to implement their own game buyback systems for the sake of selling used games as well. This suggests that major retailers are watching what GameStop does very closely.
“[GameStop] indicated that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it,” Sebastian said to company investors. “For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release, and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay.”
Sebastian said to VentureBeat that Gamestop is “getting involved at the time of game development where there could be some content exclusive to [the retailer] included in the game.” GameStop also confirmed that it is planning to work with developers earlier on for more important pre-order exclusives.
“We are working with our [development] partners to build in a longer lead time,” GameStop public-relations spokesperson Jackie Smith told VentureBeat. “And we are working with them to get both physical and digital exclusives for our customers.”
GameStop did not specify what kind of physical and digital exclusives it has planned in the future, but it is trying to fight against digital distribution as hard as it can. Getting involved with developers earlier on in a game's creation could result in GameStop's pre-order DLC being much more significant and important to the overall game instead of just a couple of character skins. This could mean that a percentage of a finished game that you paid for could only be fully unlocked by pre-ordering it at GameStop. Think of Capcom's on-disc DLC, but if GameStop had it locked.
When you factor in what Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart and other retailers have been doing in the past to compete with GameStop, then the tug of war between all of these stores for your purchase get even stronger. What if GameStop and Walmart offered two completely different pre-order missions for an upcoming title with each incentive being two hours of in-game content? This could mean that your games are going to pulled thin in the upcoming war for your pre-order. It also could mean that hours of content from your game could be gone for fans who prefer to purchase digitally. There is also a chance that these retail chains could try to make some kind of deal with specific game publishers and their subsequent studios.
In short, we hope this doesn't happen. If it does, there could be an immeasurable amount of backlash across the board.