Over on Kotaku, gamers are complaining about a little known retail practice that was uncovered by some GameStop customers, the retail markup. Under this scam, retailers will take a product and raise its price over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Why would companies do such a thing? Because the market allows for it. Because people are willing to pay the price for it. But this isn’t a scam. This is business and a regular aspect of any business dealing with rare and collectible consumer goods.
What is happening over at Kotaku is that the writers and gamers are complaining that GameStop is selling used copies of the rare Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles for $90 rather than the normal below retail price of most games. What is really rankling the feathers over there is that people are reporting that the copies GameStop is selling used are very near to new condition complete with unused Club Nintendo codes. This has led many to believe that Gamestop is removing the shrink wrap of new copies in order to sell them as used at an extreme markup.Why that would be an indication that the game is new is not clear. Not everyone who buys a game new will redeem the included codes, especially if they are already a member.
But what really doesn’t make sense is why GameStop would even be doing this when they could easily sell those new sealed copies of Xenoblade at an even higher price. You know that $50 price tag for new Wii games? That is the suggested retail price, not the only price for new games. Gamestop is well within its rights to sell new copies of Xenoblade completely sealed for any price they want that people are willing to pay. That means they could sell those new copies for $100 or more and be better off than opening them and selling them used. Just look at ebay and Amazon and you will see new versions of rare games going for many times the suggested retail price. Why would that be allowable on those services but not at GameStop.
This raises an additional point. Why are people complaining about getting a near mint copy of a rare game from GameStop at the used price? 90% of the time you are lucky to get the original case let alone the unredeemed code for Club Nintendo. One would think that getting a game in such great condition would be something to actually praise GameStop for rather than complain. But we live in a world connected by the internet where everything needs to be a controversy. But the only controversy here is that Kotaku feels the need to manufacture one when one doesn’t really exist.
So no. It is not wrong, evil or unethical for GameStop to sell near mint copies of used Xenoblade for $90. That is actually a great deal for how rare the game actually is. So stop being so butt hurt about not getting the game new on release day for $50 and suck it up and pay the $90 the market demands.