GameStop’s next step for preorder exclusives: Getting into a big game’s development process

Above: Gamers line up for a midnight launch at GameStop.

Image Credit: GameStop

GameStop has made big bucks over the years by promising to deliver exclusive content if you preorder games at its store. Now, it is devising a plan to get even cozier with developers and publishers to help it nab bigger, better, and more important exclusives in the future.

The retailer recently sat down with investment company R.W. Baird to talk about the games industry’s present and future, and Baird analyst Colin Sebastian revealed that the brick-and-mortar chain wants to find ways to give customers more value when they preorder games. GameStop often offers special items and downloadable content when customers reserve big-name releases like Watch Dogs or Call of Duty, and that’s one of the reasons (along with its trade-in and rewards programs) that are helping it gain record market share for software sales on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In an effort to deliver more attractive exclusives in the future, the company has confirmed to GamesBeat that it is looking to get involved early in the development process of big games — something it does not do now.

“[GamesStop] indicated that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it,” Sebastian wrote in his note to investors. “For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release, and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay.”

We reached out to Sebastian for clarification on that, and he explained that GameStop is thinking about “getting involved at the time of game development where there could be some content exclusive to [the retailer] included in the game.”

We also reached out to GameStop and asked if it is trying to get involved earlier in a game’s development to secure better and more important exclusives for its preorder customers. GameStop said that is “accurate.”

“We are working with our [development] partners to build in a longer lead time,” GameStop public-relations spokesperson Jackie Smith told GamesBeat. “And we are working with them to get both physical and digital exclusives for our customers.”

What kind of physical and digital exclusives? GameStop doesn’t know yet because it is only just starting to implement this strategy, but it’s clear that it wants more than what it is getting now. If it has intimate knowledge of a game still in development, that may give it more leverage to negotiate better exclusives.

And while some gamers might not love the idea of GameStop getting involved in the development of upcoming releases, it makes sense financially for both the retailer and publishers.

GameStop is making a killing right now thanks to the new-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft. A greater percentage of consumers are making their Xbox One and PS4 purchases at GameStop than they did at this same point during the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation. That is because of GameStop’s aforementioned used-games program, its membership-rewards system, and the exclusive content it already advertises. If it can convince gamers that they’ll get more from their purchases if they preorder at GameStop, then that may help it defend against digital distribution.

More information:

GameStop Corp., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, is the world's largest multichannel video game retailer. GameStop's retail network and family of brands include 6,544 company-operated stores in 15 co... read more »

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Matt Rayfield
Matt Rayfield

I don't trade my games for a reason and this just adds to that fire for me.

keith maxx
keith maxx

And then before we know it there will be no version having the single complete experience because retailers will be funding different side-quests, areas or sub-stories. I see consumers end up getting more confused and losing in the process. Also, beware in-game product placements coming soon.

John Smith
John Smith

"wants to find ways to give customers more value when they preorder games." ... My ENTIRE ass. Funny how with a little clever rhetoric, you can spin anything at all to look appealing to those you're fucking. They're not content to rape you on the price of new games, give you dick on your trade-ins, and then sell it for $5 below retail, giving the game publishers no part of that profit at all. They are now going to try to bully developers into specific GameStop gameplay and story elements and force/bully consumers to buy games through them if they want to play the entire game's story line. See, Microsoft had the right damn idea with their DRM model and not being able to sell the games used back to GameStop. They were actually protecting the game publishers from shit like Gamestop used game sales. Their execution was horrible, but the sad thing is, even if it had been a better executed plan, fan boys would still have bitched and bitched and bitched that they couldn't trade in their game for 20% of its actual value a week after they bought it. Americans are fucking stupid. Especially the 18-34 year old crowd. This is like if a cinema franchise paid movie studios to have exclusive scenes only viewable in certain theaters. It's complete fucking bullshit, and absolutely warrants a boycott.

Sanjo Natern
Sanjo Natern

@John Smith "Microsoft had the right damn idea with their DRM model and not being able to sell the games used back to GameStop." 

Actually smarty-pants, it was going to be implemented so that you couldn't sell it back to anyone not just Gamestop, completely eliminating the possibility of reselling a game that you purchased to anyone (Pawnshop, garage sale, ebay, craigslist, etc..). You may hate gamestop (I dislike them as well) but if you lack the intelligence to see that taking away ownership and resale rights of consumers is a bad thing and that there are other ways and places to sell your used games other than gamestop, then you may want to include yourself into what you called the " fucking stupid - crowd", unless of course you're just too stupid to realize it.

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