Well, we already know what disgruntled ex-employees think of GameStop; how do the head honchos think they're doing? Christian Nutt sat down with Bob McKenzie (senior vice president of merchandising) and Tony Bartel (executive vice president of merchandise and marketing) at the yearly GameStop Expo event for managers and management to talk about GameStop, games, sales, the market .... It's a hefty piece, clocking in at eight pages, with a lot of soft peddling on tough issues, but what would you expect from marketing management types? One of the issues brought up was the value of trade-ins — or perceived value (or lack thereof):
You're talking about the 150 titles every day, worth over $15. What we found was that the perception of our trade value was far different than the reality of our trade value. Far different. I'm sure you see that on the blogs, and so forth, you don't have to read very far. The reality is that there are a significant portion of our games that do actually represent a strong value. So that was the basis of our campaign — to let people know that a large portion of our games are over $15 when you trade them in. We see that really as a very unique part of GameStop. We provide currency for the purchase of new games. We really believe, and the reason that we're so passionate about our trade program, is that it drives new games. Last year, alone, we put over $700 million of trade credit back toward new games. I think that new games is about a $9 billion market. So if you stop and think about the currency that we're generating for the sale of new games, it's an absolutely amazing proposition.
It's long, but pretty interesting, even if you find yourself rolling your eyes somewhat frequently as I did. I generally go out of my way to avoid dedicated game store retail experiences (having gotten the 'Hey little lady, can we sell you something you don't need?' pitch more than a few times), and I've had some abysmal experiences at GameStop, so my laptop wound up with a mouthful of coffee on it when I read "It's the time that we get to spend and interact with the customer that really differentiates our experience from anyone else." GameStop in 2008: The Mega-Interview [Gamasutra]