According to the chief financial officer of a top video game retailer, only two in five gamers would be willing to buy a console that blocks them from playing used titles.
In a recent presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, GameStop CFO Rob Lloyd had this to say about the issue:
“Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games; they want portability in their games; they want to play physical games … And to not have those things would be a substantial reason for them to not purchase a new console.”
When asked for an estimate on how many GameStop customers have said they would avoid a console that proscribes used games, Lloyd said, “I think it’s approximately 60 percent of the customers who have said they wouldn’t buy a new console if it didn’t play pre-owned games.”
Right now, it’s not clear if new consoles from Sony and Microsoft — which most insiders expect to see unveiled this spring — will allow gamers to play used games. It’s been rumored for months that the two companies would tether games to the initial buyer, the idea being that this would help struggling software developers.
However, gamers have lashed out at the idea. And it’s tough to blame them — after all, would you buy a Ford automobile if the Detroit automaker barred you from ever selling it to someone else?
As for GameStop, Lloyd says he’s confident his company will be able to sell gamers consoles that block used games from working.
“We’ll be able to sell the new consoles that come from Microsoft and Sony regardless of what features they have or what they do or don’t allow,” Lloyd said.
But Lloyd might be getting ahead of himself. After all, GameStop — which has been negatively impacted by the rise of digital distribution services like Steam — has announced that it will be closing 250 U.S. stores in the next year.