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Blockbuster Defends Used Games

| 14 May 2012 00:40
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Without the second-hand market, there's no way for specialized game stores to survive.

At least according to Blockbuster's UK boss, Gerry Butler, who explains that supermarkets - or superstores, if you prefer - are taking a loss on games in order to push smaller retailers out of the market.

"Supermarkets use games as potential loss-leaders, so specialists can't survive," he told MCV. "That's why there are less games shops than there were three years ago. Without pre-owned, those companies cannot survive."

That seems to ring true. The musty ran-by-a-terrifying-man-with-a-beard game shops of my youth have been superseded by Walmart's glass cases and glossy-eyed stafflings, the latter of which could probably watch a man get eaten by wolves with the same chilling, emotionless stare they maintain while packing your shopping bags.

"If you're a specialist you need certain margins to run your business," Butler continued. "When you are in a commoditised industry, those margins evaporate."

According to Butler, publishers and developers are using used games as a scapegoat to explain why some games aren't meeting sales expectations.

"When the market was growing, nobody spoke about trade-in. It didn't matter. Everyone was hitting their numbers," he said. "But as soon as someone starts missing the numbers, they are like: 'Well this trade-in is killing us. How do we stop it?'"

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