Being Used?

In the years that I was a Gamestop manager — dark days in which the sun was blotted from the sky and malevolence slouched through the halls of dingy shopping malls in the guise of poison-tongued high schoolers – I took quiet exception with countless official policies and products. Eventually I purged myself of these demons in a number of articles back around 2005, a very public exorcism which discussed at length how the company conducted its business and more importantly how talking about it made me feel a hell of a lot better, or at least cleaner.

In all that time, however, the one widely lodged complaint for which I could never really generate enthusiastic ire was on the matter of used games. To my addled mind, used games continue to seem like a pretty nice idea; a prime example of how the rare capitalistic initiative can benefit both retailer and consumer.

If you are a developer or publisher, I get it. I sympathize; really, I do. There’s a big damn hole in the bucket, dear Liza, and Gamestop chairman Dick Fontaine is standing there unapologetically holding a drill. But as a consumer I have to say that in the first, second and third place I’m watching out for numero uno, and I like not spending money. Or more precisely spending a little less money, so I continue to be baffled when well-meaning game buyers rise in a single voice against the anathema of used game sales.

Let’s not sugar coat it, when you trade in your game at Gamestop you are getting a return dramatically below the retained market value of your product. The company then turns around, often without doing anything but printing up a sticker, and resells your game at a substantial increase. As a trade-in customer, I accept when I walk in with my trades that I am substituting value for convenience. Yes, I could probably, nay certainly, demand higher through Ebay, but honest to God who has that kind of time any more?

That said, I don’t think there’s a big “A Ha!” moment when the monster profit margin is revealed between the cost at which the retailer buys the game from you and the price at which they resell the game. Here’s a hint, it’s big — really big. It is, by far, the biggest margin in the stores, but — and here’s the key — only if they manage to sell it.

The profit potential on used games is without question the goal of a strong used games market, but the real benefit to consumers in the deal is that we have an unlimited market for our used games. In short, Gamestop never says no.

Outside of clearly broken games or product for systems that aren’t sold anymore, if you walk in with a current or nearly current generation console game, you get something. It may be pennies on the dollar, but it is guaranteed. Imagine, for a moment, the monumental overhead and inventory nightmares this creates on a national level. How many beat up copies of Kameo are sitting in some Indiana Jones warehouse never to be sold? How much loss will the company have to soak up on Tony Hawk: Ride buyback as consumers looked to sell quickly while the value was high.

I don’t argue that Gamestop doesn’t make quite a bit of money by reselling games like Dragon Age or Borderlands, but the error that many armchair critics make is in not realizing how much of that money goes against the loss on Fusion Frenzy 2 or CSI game trades.

Still, it’s not like the proposition hasn’t worked out. This is a little bit like oil companies complaining about the cost of refinery and drilling development as they make tens of billions in a quarter, or pharmaceutical companies cashing in only on designer drugs for profitable illnesses … except of course, we are talking about a luxury product whose stagnant price point hasn’t kept up with inflation for decades. But, I’m not equivocating or making excuses, because let’s face it. Gamestop has been rolling in the money pool for a few years now.

Even if the Gamestops of the world pulled in monster profit on every single used game taken in, I still can’t get behind the consumer based fury. I am a fan of choice, of being offered the option of a reduced price. The math behind how Gamestop manages their inventory doesn’t factor into the question of would I like a given game for $59.99 or $54.99.

This is the point in the conversation, I suppose, where hearts bleed for the starving developers who never see the profit of those resell transactions. Bleeding hearts which I assume are asleep at the switch in the discussion of Ebay and other consumer resell avenues. Bleeding hearts which seem to get a nice healthy clotting agent when issues of Day One DLC or the proclaimed need for price point hikes to address the rising costs of development and piracy issues come up.

Forgive my cynicism, but a lot of the arguments against trade-ins and used game sales seem awfully convenient. There is something, which I admit I understand in my amygdala if not my more cognitive brain centers, about knowing that when you hand over your $50 bucks to the counter jockey, you are paying for something at double the price the company bought at. What I don’t understand is why it is better to buy essentially the same product for five or ten dollars more just because it bites into the margin of your supplier.

And, that's the point. It seems totally unreasonable to me to reject, even demand the elimination of a lower price point option simply because you don't like how much money the provider is making on the deal. It is a gut check reaction that seems more based out of an anti-Gamestop cultural undercurrent than anything else. If, for example Valve offered a way to resell your games back to them through Steam -- and this is a genius idea that I endorse with what can only be termed 'gusto' -- and buy through a digital used market, I have a hard time imagining the same fiery torches and proverbial pitchforks being raised.

I am willing to concede the argument from those who simply prefer a product in pristine, new condition. I have no beef with them, and even join their ranks on many games, but that doesn’t discredit the idea of having choice. Ultimately, used sales work to the benefit of both retailer and consumers keeping costs low and retailers competitive. Yes, one side usually comes out of the deal a little better, but that’s the way of good business.

For all the things that Gamestop and other retailers deserve to be criticized for, this once perhaps we should just take our $5.00 off and go about our business.

Comments

RATIO: After careful consideration, I've decided that selling our game through Gamespot is the least bad of all our options. The scale tips over to convenience away from profit. Agree?
EMO: Whut? For every dollar we make they profit ten! That ain't right!
RATIO: I know, but otherwise we have no time left to play any of the games we might buy with the extra profit. Does not compute!
EMO: But they also lie and are pushy and arrogant and know nothing about games. In a GAMESTORE!
RATIO: There's just no reasoning with you, you emo hippie socialist.
EMO: SHUT UP you soulless nazi CREEP!
RATIO: Did you just Godwin me? Go listen to Linkin' Park, pinko commie wuss!
EMO: YOU go listen to Linkin' Park!
RATIO: *sigh* Look, why don't we compromise. I get to sell and buy (used) games at Gamestop, and you get to feel angry, entitled and self-righteous towards Gamestop and anyone who shops there who isn't us.
EMO: Hmm... certainly FEELS right. Deal!
UNISONO: f*ck YOU GAMESTOP! ALSO PLEASE TAKE OUR MONEY!

If you want to buy any other games, you have to pre-order. They aren't going to be printing extra disks if they aren't guaranteed a sale anymore.

Wait what?!

Did you say, "Ok, thanks, I'll go to Wal-Mart where they have 60 copies on the shelf."?

I stumbled across this article while attempting to Google PaxWest 2010. Go figure.

As I read through the comments, I can't help but wonder how my fellow GameStop employees have time in their busy schedules of being smelly, ostensibly misinformed, grunts to eat or sleep? We're not all the monsters you think we are. In fact, I pride myself not only on smelling relatively well, but being as informed as possible so I can help customers and offer honest advice and opinions. I almost have to have an above average knowledge of a myriad of industry facets; I'm a woman, which is strike one, two, and three for many males that come in. It's not my personal mission to make sure you personally spend a mountain of money. Yeah, I'm occasionally pushed to pander Edge cards and reserves, but I promise, at least from a lowly Game Advisor's point of view, there's no malice behind it. I usually only ask when I think it truly would benefit someone. Scout's honor.

I agree that GameStop has some questionable price points, and sure, you can get it somewhere else for less. . .by all means, go for it. I also understand that many smaller stores are closing their doors, thereby furthering the hatred for GS and making it the only feasible entity to blame. If you like those smaller shops (and I'm among the majority here; I love going to my local game store to pick up some random titles for my Genesis or PSX), then continue to give them your business. Just don't take your frustration out on us.

Elysium wrote:

I also think there's an interesting undercurrent of distaste running around about Gamestop shoppers that might be worth exploring at some point. I've seen words like lazy and uninformed casually spat about quite a bit.

I think the distinction being missed here is that the lazy and uninformed was in reference to those who make a habit of trading in their games at Gamestop and then turning around to buy used games to save their $5 off the new titles. This is a subset of shoppers at Gamestop not all encompassing. There are a great deal of people (perhaps even the majority of people) who just go to Gamestop to pick up the latest title (new) or picking up the random older title used.

If you are part of that trade in / used game buying subset then it makes sense that either the person accepts they are being abused but are being too lazy to engage in other options or they are simply unaware they being taken advantage of by a rather anti-consumer business model.

A 5% premium ($2 per $40 game) for renting the store space, stocking it, and staffing it? Things on Ebay are cheaper in part because it's just a dude with a game on his shelf he doesn't want, not a dude with 100s of games he's trying to flip, in rented retail space, being sold by multiple pimply faced teenagers (and occasionally a depressed bearded guy).

I just don't get the hate. Gamestop provides a convenience to those that are "informed", as you would say, and a service to those that know of no other means to sell used games. Do you feel this way about all retailers? No matter what product you can think of, someone is out there knowingly selling for a higher markup than someone else for no other reason than because they can.

Honestly, I don't care what the markup is as long as it's not outlandish. A 20% premium would probably be more reasonable. Gamestop has such a massive inventory and goes through so many units every day that I'm sure you'd be surprised at how far even a 10% markup would go. The company had over $8,800,000,000 in revenues in 2008 ($2,026,600,000 in used game sales) with almost $400,000,000 in net income. The company does have a fair amount of debt, but they've been spreading across the globe like wildfire, so it's not a bad thing. If you're going to sit there and argue that they NEED to make 120% markup on a trade in to make it then I don't really know what to say to you. In fiscal year 2009, the company is expected to make even more than the fiscal year of 2008.

On a side note, the company made the most on NEW video game sales ($3,685,000,000). Which I have zero issue with.

I don't have a problem with retail at all. It just seems that for the most part the market place is dominated by one company in this instance. As there is very little to no competition, Gamestop has the ability to charge whatever they want. They almost hold the Walmart philosophy in video game land. Come into town, force everyone else out with a hard sell on convenience (or buying them out) and then we're all stuck with them whether we like it or not. The only difference is Gamestop has so little competition that prices are not subject to the same rules as Walmart. Walmart has lower prices because of competition. That's their biggest selling point (lower prices). Since video game resale is not a saturated market like warehouse retail, Gamestop basically gets to make their own market. Remember, we're only talking about USED games here.

Also, Remember when hurricane Katrina hit and gas prices went out of control because of gouging? That's what I see Gamestop doing. People want something and, because they want it, prices go up dramatically. Gouging is illegal isn't it? There was plenty of supply to meet the demand after the hurricane, but gas stations fed off of the public's fear (almost aided in the confusion) by jacking up prices to crazy levels. In that situation there was an increased demand for a product (gasoline) and there was an artificial supply issue created which was justified by the gas stations by charging higher prices (even though there was no actual shortage in gasoline). When you have any industry that has the ability to set their own prices, you are going to have issues with this. I simply feel like Gamestop has taken advantage of their position as the leader in the used game market.

For the record, I'm not a bleeding heart. I don't really care if you want to go spend your money there. If you like trading in games, do it. I just can't justify a used game purchase there because I don't (personally) feel like they offer a positive service to their patrons. I'm not an anti-capitalist, quite the opposite. However, I disagree with their practices and chose not to participate.

By the way, if you are playing the buy today, trade tomorrow game, you will always lose. Just get a Gamefly account and save yourself a bundle.

Honestly, I like buying new games. Hell, I can't even stand getting the display copy! This is probably because play games is only part of it for me. The other half is sort of a collective aspect to it. I like it new, and I like it from day one. I don't like buying a surprise that I may or may not have to take into a Disk Doctor several times.

I don't like GameStop. Never have. However, they are the only place that seems to ALWAYS get games in ON time the day they are released. BestBuy usually doesn't get stuff in till Wednesdays, and that's only if you're lucky. My experience has show it usually comes in a week late. What are my other options? Walmart? Toys R' Us? Fred Mayer? Yeah right!

Gamers usually need satisfaction right away on the day of a big release date. No other video game supplier panders to our needs. What GS needs, is some decent competition.

McChuck wrote:

Where's that GameSpot from the photo at? If they all didn't look like a used game slum, I might consider going into one.

It looks like the ones around here. Mind you, I live in and around well-off suburbs.

I don't need to hate GameStop because as a PC gamer, I'm in an almost entirely different orbit from them. Their PC sections dwindled from two wall shelf sets to one shelf set to one free-stacking rack. You can still sometimes find old used classics for super cheap. Otherwise, I shop at Amazon, GoGamer, and digital distribution when their prices are good.

MaxCoyote wrote:

What are my other options? Walmart? Toys R' Us? Fred Mayer? Yeah right!

Amazon Prime with release-day delivery. Works like a charm.

NSMike wrote:
MaxCoyote wrote:

What are my other options? Walmart? Toys R' Us? Fred Mayer? Yeah right!

Amazon Prime with release-day delivery. Works like a charm.

Exactly.

I very rarely go into a GameStop, but the ones in South Loop Gate and Greektown have always seemed fairly clean to me. Not so much XXX store as around the level I expect from a Blockbuster. Then again, I'm not used to the scummy descriptions I'm hearing here.

Wibderkib wrote:

As I read through the comments, I can't help but wonder how my fellow GameStop employees have time in their busy schedules of being smelly, ostensibly misinformed, grunts to eat or sleep? We're not all the monsters you think we are. In fact, I pride myself not only on smelling relatively well, but being as informed as possible so I can help customers and offer honest advice and opinions. I almost have to have an above average knowledge of a myriad of industry facets; I'm a woman, which is strike one, two, and three for many males that come in. It's not my personal mission to make sure you personally spend a mountain of money. Yeah, I'm occasionally pushed to pander Edge cards and reserves, but I promise, at least from a lowly Game Advisor's point of view, there's no malice behind it. I usually only ask when I think it truly would benefit someone. Scout's honor.

I'm glad you posted this. There's a huge line between the corporation itself and the people working for the corporation that all too often gets blurred in people's minds. When you have bad shopping experiences or a philosophical objection to a major retailer, it's easy to forget that at least some of the people working there are generally decent human beings who are actually trying to help you out.

During my brief stint at a retail bookseller in college, I had the same attitude as you - I had stupid quotas for reserves to fulfill, but I generally tried to talk to customers and figure out what they might genuinely enjoy or want before launching into the pitch. Your average bored teenager sleepwalking through his/her shift might not have the courtesy to do so, but that doesn't mean the store or its employees should be categorically derided.

The last time I went to Gamestop (a few months ago) was to buy a Rock Band 2 set. The clerk who helped me out by grabbing the kit from the back room was a pretty excitable guy who seemed genuinely jazzed that I was finally getting into Rock Band. We chatted for a bit about games I was into while I was waiting for the line at the register to shrink, and he started to launch into a little pitch about reserving Modern Warfare 2 in the normal course of conversation. I had no interest whatsoever in the game, but it was pretty cool that it didn't immediately kill the conversation when I politely made that clear. In fact, that led us to talk about some other shooters he had played, and I got to learn about a few games I'd never heard of. Even though he didn't get the pre-order or an additional sale, I hope I left the store having helped his shift go a little better.

NSMike wrote:
If you want to buy any other games, you have to pre-order. They aren't going to be printing extra disks if they aren't guaranteed a sale anymore.

Wait what?!

Did you say, "Ok, thanks, I'll go to Wal-Mart where they have 60 copies on the shelf."?

Yeah, pretty much. I wanted to be nice because he was hooking me up with a copy of Street Fighter that they didn't have at the Best Buy yet.

Wibderkib wrote:

I stumbled across this article while attempting to Google PaxWest 2010. Go figure.

As I read through the comments, I can't help but wonder how my fellow GameStop employees have time in their busy schedules of being smelly, ostensibly misinformed, grunts to eat or sleep? We're not all the monsters you think we are. In fact, I pride myself not only on smelling relatively well, but being as informed as possible so I can help customers and offer honest advice and opinions. I almost have to have an above average knowledge of a myriad of industry facets; I'm a woman, which is strike one, two, and three for many males that come in. It's not my personal mission to make sure you personally spend a mountain of money. Yeah, I'm occasionally pushed to pander Edge cards and reserves, but I promise, at least from a lowly Game Advisor's point of view, there's no malice behind it. I usually only ask when I think it truly would benefit someone. Scout's honor.

I agree that GameStop has some questionable price points, and sure, you can get it somewhere else for less. . .by all means, go for it. I also understand that many smaller stores are closing their doors, thereby furthering the hatred for GS and making it the only feasible entity to blame. If you like those smaller shops (and I'm among the majority here; I love going to my local game store to pick up some random titles for my Genesis or PSX), then continue to give them your business. Just don't take your frustration out on us.

Part of my issue with the "helpful" employee is that I don't really want that interaction when I go in to buy a game. I don't want to friend up the Game Stop clerk on XBox Live. I'm old, mean and grouchy. I know what game I want, and I'll gladly pay for it and leave. I like going to Best Buy if I'm not using Amazon because I can just take the game off the shelf, bring it to the register, and leave.

I have had some cool people at my Game Stop. The last time I went in there was to grab Silent Hill Shattered Memories, because they didn't have it at Best Buy. I asked for the game (after making sure they had it in stock on the website before going there), and the guy said "Hey, man, this game is pretty short. You might want to just rent it." I bought it, but thought it was cool that he was looking out for me.

Also, and I speak as someone who used to be The Man Behind the Counter, when you are wearing that Gamestop name badge you are a representative of the company. I don't know what the initiatives are these days, but back when customer service was a nice watch word, but the real deal was that if you didn't meet your multiple SKU, preorder, Edge Card, warranty or other goals then it didn't matter how nice you were to customers.

I drove my employees to get the attach rates where we needed them. I expected them to hit their goals, if they didn't they lost hours. Make numbers or get a smaller paycheck (I know managers have a lot less authority in that department now).

If you could do that while being informed, great, but I wasn't hiring gamers. I was hiring sales people. Honestly, if you could move product I didn't care if you knew Mario from Metroid. I'm not proud of it, but that was my job and because I was in the district manager's store I was under the microscope and I sure as hell wasn't going to screw up. At least once a month or so I could expect the Regional Sales Manager to show up out of nowhere, and if my job was in jeapordy because one of my sales guy was asleep at the switch for pushing whatever the latest initiative was, he could count on getting an ear full.

Each store is certainly run differently, but I think it's fair to make a distinction between who the employees are at work and the people they are outside of that. At work you aren't you -- you are a Gamestop employee. I think customers sense that and they are waging their war against the soldier's uniform, not the soldier itself.

Also, Remember when hurricane Katrina hit and gas prices went out of control because of gouging? That's what I see Gamestop doing. People want something and, because they want it, prices go up dramatically. Gouging is illegal isn't it?

See, you're comparing fearmongering used to raise gas prices to a constant, mostly accepted set of prices on a entertainment good. It's a stretch.

I'm not really sure what to say. It's a tough argument for you to make -- suggesting a voluntary transaction on a non-essential good is unethical because they (1) make a bunch of money on it and (2) don't aggregate and post the current Ebay prices for the benefit of their customer. When people that are informed voluntarily enter into such transactions (as I and others in this thread occasionally do), it's tough to convince me that the uninformed are getting "ripped off" because there exists a substantially different and more labor intensive type of transaction (Ebay, Craigslist) that yields more money for the consumer.

Darko wrote:

Also, Remember when hurricane Katrina hit and gas prices went out of control because of gouging? That's what I see Gamestop doing. People want something and, because they want it, prices go up dramatically. Gouging is illegal isn't it?

Yes, it is. But this isn't price gouging, by any definition. It's simple supply and demand.

Mass Effect 2 mini-spoiler.

Spoiler:

I LOVE the game store on the Citadel in Mass Effect 2. Classic!

Wibderkib wrote:

As I read through the comments, I can't help but wonder how my fellow GameStop employees have time in their busy schedules of being smelly, ostensibly misinformed, grunts to eat or sleep? We're not all the monsters you think we are.

I didn't get from any of the comments that anyone was attacking the employees. My comment was full of vitriol against the storefront itself, the companies' policies, and the customer base, but didn't mention the employees once. I'm sure you're all very nice people - but don't take it so personally when we attack your company. Just because you're really nice people doesn't change the fact that I loathe going into your stores - for reasons other than you guys.

This thread has an amazing amount of coffee grinders in it.

NathanialG wrote:

This thread has an amazing amount of coffee grinders in it.

We just want to be loved.

Yes, it is. But this isn't price gouging, by any definition. It's simple supply and demand.

Go into a Gamestop and look at the number of used MW2 titles sitting there and tell me there's a supply problem that justifies a $55 price point. It might not really be price gouging (I realize that was a stretch) but it's most definitely not pure supply vs demand.

It's a tough argument for you to make -- suggesting a voluntary transaction on a non-essential good is unethical because they (1) make a bunch of money on it and (2) don't aggregate and post the current Ebay prices for the benefit of their customer.

I don't really think it's unethical to make money on any good, I simply believe they are taking advantage of their position as practically the only big guy by charging (in my opinion) too much money for a used product. I don't think they need to give the prices of their competition (obviously not a positive business practice) but I do very strongly believe that healthy, direct competition would benefit us all in this situation. IF you consider ebay and cragslist good indicators of a "marketplace" for used titles, then I don't really see how anyone could argue that Gamestop's markup is fair, or trade in value for that matter. I'll say it again, IF you agree. Big IF.

One thing I did notice while looking through Gamestop's financials is that the percentage of revenues reported for used products vs new products has shifted slightly. In 2008, used product sales represented 23% of revenues while new product sales represented 63%. In 2007 used products represented 22% of revenues while new products represented 63%. In 2006 it was 24% (used) vs 58% (new). In 2007 and 2008 the US economy was booming (which would probably explain the increase in revenues period (not to mention the boom in video game interests). I realize that 1-2% isn't a big shift, but I still find it interesting. I believe Gamestop financials for fiscal year 2009 are going to be release in a few days. I wonder what they're going to say after a poor economic year?

Arguing either way is flawed. You can't really say one person's opinion is right or wrong and that's all we have here (opinions).

NathanialG wrote:

This thread has an amazing amount of coffee grinders in it.

Could be. Or they could be...
IMAGE(http://images.crateandbarrel.com/is/image/Crate/SucculentPottedPlantsSC06)

...Various Cacti?

Cacti grinders?

Darko wrote:

I don't really think it's unethical to make money on any good, I simply believe they are taking advantage of their position as practically the only big guy by charging (in my opinion) too much money for a used product. I don't think they need to give the prices of their competition (obviously not a positive business practice) but I do very strongly believe that healthy, direct competition would benefit us all in this situation. IF you consider ebay and cragslist good indicators of a "marketplace" for used titles, then I don't really see how anyone could argue that Gamestop's markup is fair, or trade in value for that matter. I'll say it again, IF you agree. Big IF.

Sure, they are taking advantage of their position. However, they are the only game in town for a reason. It's nearly impossible to make money selling only video games. There are no margins on hardware, and small margins on software. The consumers are generally smarter than your average bear (or cactus), and the big box stores will aggressively try to take your new game customers. So, Game Stop has to focus on used game sales, and to a lesser extent exclusive pre-order items or collector's editions, to make money. There isn't a healthy competition because it's not exactly the best business model around.

There isn't a healthy competition because it's not exactly the best business model around.

Agreed.

the big box stores will aggressively try to take your new game customers. So, Game Stop has to focus on used game sales, and to a lesser extent exclusive pre-order items or collector's editions, to make money.

Sorry for the double post....

I don't know about them needing to focus on used games as much. I'm sure the company could survive off of new game sales only. Granted, they probably wouldn't have such a draw if they didn't offer trade ins. They would most definitely survive at this point if they dropped used sales simply because of their global saturation and brand awareness. Used sales absolutely help them though.

SallyNasty wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

This thread has an amazing amount of coffee grinders in it.

We just want to be loved.

I can help you with that, but you're going to have to pay me in coffee. None of that Dunkin' or Horton's garbage, either. I demand the hand-picked, fresh-roasted, fair-trade organic shiz.

Darko wrote:
Yes, it is. But this isn't price gouging, by any definition. It's simple supply and demand.

Go into a Gamestop and look at the number of used MW2 titles sitting there and tell me there's a supply problem that justifies a $55 price point. It might not really be price gouging (I realize that was a stretch) but it's most definitely not pure supply vs demand.

If they don't sell used at that price, it was GS's stupid decision to price them so high and they'll lose a lot of money for being dumb, even if they can write them off. So who's being harmed if the used games are priced so high that no one is buying them?

If they do sell, then clearly the demand is there.

I don't know how many used copies of MW2 are sitting on shelves since like I said, I rarely have any dealings with GameStop as a PC gamer.

It doesnt really matter how many copies of MW2 are sitting on that shelf for a particular snapshot of time if those copies are moving and being replaced.

Though I'm not one of them when it comes to videogames purchases of used over new, there are people which recognize even 5 dollars saved on a used copy as 5 dollars earned and that justifies used over new whenever available. It doesnt mean they are shills, it just means that they would rather have that 5 dollars for something else. Me, I'd rather pay the 5 dollars for the new copy and get that unboxing feel. Maybe I'm the shill.

Used game sales are just a help? I think it goes way beyond that. Their entire market penetration would be much smaller without their used games business. Gamasutra did a breakdown of GS's profits in April 2009 based on their SEC filings and they concluded that between 41 and 46% of GS gross profit comes from used sales alone. Used software sales are more than a help, they are the fuel for GS' growth and it is their differentiator in the marketplace. They offer a consistent on demand buying experience.

Folks wanting a greater discount on a used brick-n-mortar shopping experience can always wait until a B2G1F promotion, which basically brings their product in line with prices that can be found online.

If their price points were not supported by customer purchases, then we'd see greater discounts on used copies of recent releases. They keep those prices because the market supports it.