If there is one thing I can say about GameStop, it’s that they are definitely looking to the future. It’s clear that its current business model, which relies heavily on secondhand sales of games and consoles, is in danger as publishers and console manufactures move toward a digital model. Recently GameStop started selling Android tablets preloaded with games in their stores as an attempt to break into the mobile market. Along with that, they are also looking into the secondhand tablet and smartphone market.
It’s no secret that the tablet and smartphone markets are moving at the speed of light in terms of new hardware. I bought a Samsung Charge back in July, which at the time was the bee’s knees; but now it doesn’t seem so great compared to smartphones that were released just a few months later. Because of this it would seem that a lot of people have a lot of “old” tech laying around:
We’ve seen research that says there’s about $8 billion worth of used smartphones, iPod Touches, iPods and even tablets that are in people’s homes that they’re not using because they’ve bought the next model.
Mike also mentions that secondhand sales works best when a product is in a constant cycle, and that no cycle is faster than in the tablet and smartphone market. While this is true, and I do believe that people would love the ability to trade on old devices for credit towards a new one, I wonder how well secondhand technology will really sell. Secondhand games don’t lose much in terms of value when they sit around. A fun game will be a fun game whether you buy it on release day or years from now. With smartphones and tablets it’s different; not only because better tech is out, but because applications that work with that technology also get more advanced causing performance issues on older devices and eventually leading to interoperability.
GameStop isn’t looking to replace secondhand tech with secondhand games. According to Mike, GameStop hasn’t seen a decline in business or game trade-ins, so this move is just to add to that part of that business. Whether GameStop see success in this venture is yet to be seen, but I for one believe they will have more used tech coming in than going out. Besides, GameStop employees can barely tell me anything about the games they try to sell; I really don’t think I would want to ask their advice about a tablet.