Is GameStop playing us? A Xenoblade Chronicles conspiracy




Xenoblade Chronicles came out on the Nintendo Wii in Japan in 2010, in Europe in 2011 and eventually in North America on April 6th, 2012.  Xenoblade Chronicles is a Japanese role-playing game, has received strong reviews and is considered by many to be a gem on the console.

Nintendo of America had worked out a deal with GameStop in North America to have Xenoblade Chronicles exclusively available at GameStop locations and through GameStop’s website.  No other retailer outside of GameStop can sell a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles.  When the game first came out it retailed for the same price as other Wii titles at the time.  In fact for months it was readily available and sales were strong.  Then all of a sudden Xenoblade Chronicles couldn’t be found anywhere; copies disappeared.   GameStops everywhere didn’t have any new or pre-owned copies available for sale.  This drove up the demand significantly for the game, and on the secondhand market Xenoblade Chronicles was selling on sites including ebay for over $100 a copy.

Recently however Xenoblade Chronicle copies have reappeared on Gamestop’s shelves, and this time as pre-owned copies.  GameStop claims that they are pre-owned copies that people have turned in.  If you visit GameStop’s site you’ll even notice that they are promoting the game on their homepage.  Here’s the kicker; Gamestop is asking $90 for each “pre-owned” copy.  These copies however have codes in them that haven’t been used yet, and appear to be in brand new shape, other than not being shrink-wrapped.

So did magically all of a sudden all of these once very hard to find copies suddenly reappear?  Or did GameStop decide to intentionally drive up the market value for the game by limiting the initial quantity available, and then release the unsold copies at a higher “market value” price of $90?

Here is GameStop’s response:

“Gamestop regularly receives feedback from our PowerUp members regarding old titles they would like us to bring back, such as vintage games like Xenoblade Chronicles. We were recently able to source a limited number of copies of this title to carry in our stores and online.

In fact, we have sourced several more vintage titles that will be hitting stores in the coming months, including Metroid Prime Trilogy.

As always, our pricing for these games is competitive and is based on current market value driven by supply and demand. PowerUp Pro members always receive a 10 percent discount and earn PUR points on pre-owned purchases.”

What…did GameStop seriously use the word “vintage”?  Yes they did, and it even states “vintage” on their website. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word vintage is ” a : a period of origin or manufacture<a piano of 1845 vintage>.  b : length of existence.

So is a game that was released three years ago in Japan and a little over a year ago in North America considered “Vintage”?  The fact that GameStop used the term “vintage” alone shows how out of touch they are with their consumer.  Most gamers refer to games that are actually old and classic as “retro” and not “vintage”.

Ultimately it’s the consumer who decides the price of games, and it’s the consumer that determines the true “market value”.  Only time will tell with Xenoblade Chronicles. 

GameStop & Xenoblade Chronicles

How do you feel about the situation?

It’s OK. GameStop has the right to charge what they want.
It’s crap, and GameStop is playing us.
I’m indifferent.