Gamestop's approach to the Xbox One's nebulous pre-owned game policies
– which may include charging players a fee for booting up a used game – involves emphasis on digital adaptation, and letting Microsoft do the talking.
"I figured that question would come up," Gamestop President Tony Bartel said during a financial call's Q&A segment. "Definitely Xbox has said that they do support the trade-in/resale games at retail and that they want to handle communication from this point forward on that. I think what is important to note is that all three of the consoles that have launched have now come back and they say, 'I realize the value of the buy-sell-trade model,' and they have built that into their new consoles moving forward. We anticipate that we are going to be able to leverage that, like we leverage it on the consoles today."
Microsoft has yet to clear up its used-game policy with the Xbox One, including whether it will charge a fee for pre-owned playtime. Gamestop generates the majority of its profit
from used game and hardware sales, and following Microsoft's Xbox One event, Gamestop's stock fell five percent
Responding to another Xbox One question, Gamestop executives noted that its stores have systems for selling digital content, and they've sold digital products in the past.
"Digital content can be easily discovered," Bartel said. "We will actually work with Microsoft and we will work with Sony as they come out with – I guess what you would call 'non-gaming entertainment properties.' We'll be selling those in our store." Customers will be able to pay for this content with trade-in currency, other executives said.
In the previous generation transition, Gamestop saw people trade in all of their old games and systems to start fresh, and said it expected customers to do the same this time around. In the first 48 hours after the Xbox One's reveal, 250,000 people signed up for Gamestop's first-to-know list.
"There's lots of rumors out there," Bartel said. He later continued, "I, for one, am very interested in what they're going to say at E3."
Aren't we all?