So I’m back after an exhausting week in the ancestral stomping grounds where the people are just so frustrated that they cling to their guns and religion. At least that’s what I’m told happens. I’ve never seen it.
I didn’t have anything to post about today, but someone made mention of Gamestop’s attempted “deal” with Penny Arcade regarding their upcoming game and I simply did not believe them. So I found a link to a Wired interview from a few weeks ago that confirms it. Here’s a snippet:
We had a meeting with GameStop to talk about selling a boxed version of the game. Once we had a bunch of episodes together, we would collect them and put them in a box, you know? And GameStop said, oh, that’s fantastic. We’d love to do it, we’d love to carry the game… but it’s not going to be available anywhere else, is it?
And Robert said, well, we’re going to digitally distribute it first.
They got really upset. And they said, no, you can’t do that. We can’t have it in our store if it’s coming out digitally first. And he said, well, I’m sorry, that’s the way it works. We’re publishing our game and we can say where it goes. And so the deal that they tried to strike with Robert was okay, well, listen: If you cut us in on the profits from online distribution, and XBLA, and everything it comes out on, then we’ll think about carrying it in the store.
Let’s dismiss for the moment the ethics of the situation as I think I’d be pretty one-sided with that analysis. What I’m interested in is how to get huge cajones like the suits at Gamestop.
Here is a company that needs publishers to survive – not the other way around. And they are faced with this dilemma of digital distribution that could bankrupt their company in the next decade if they don’t navigate the waters successfully. And if they were an agile, progressive company, they would be figuring out how to make that model work for them. Instead, they are trying to bully smaller publishers into giving Gamestop money for what is essentially tribute unaware that Rome burns around them? Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but I’m having a hard time believing it.
This is a game that will make Gamestop a healthy profit and they are turning it down because they won’t get all the retail-level profit? Who is running that company? Who is buying their stock for the long-term? I want to like Gamestop because despite their numerous instances of bad press, they do provide a good service for gamers. You know they will have the new releases on day one. You usually will be able to find older titles that are off of store shelves at the big boxes. And it’s really the only store that has a chance of serving as a cultural meeting place for gaming events. But they take that heft that they’ve established via hard work and expansion and they squander it piecemeal at seemingly every opportunity.