Nonstop (Game OverThinker)

Nonstop (Game OverThinker)


So if you haven’t been watching the news
and who could blame you GameStop has been trying to sell itself like the
entire company over the last few months, but as of this past Tuesday I decided to
abandon those plans because it turns out nobody actually wants to buy GameStop.
We had a joke all set to go about several buyers having expressed interest,
but deciding against it when GameStop refused to take any more used copies of
Sears as trade-in credit, but honestly there’s nothing funny about any of this.
GameStop less than a decade ago still riding high at the center of a boom time
for console gaming now being unable to attract a buyer basically means that the
market reality is shifted so profoundly that the clock is probably about to
simply run out on the company and with it the idea of specialty games retail
itself. And it’s as irritating as it is unsurprising that the gamer culture
largely didn’t seem to know about this or worse consider it to be either an
innate irrelevance at this point or even a good thing because, “Hey screw
GamesStop,” right? Now look GameStop sucks you won’t hear me
argue that it’s shady, it’s pricey, it’s tacky, you have to deal with the mall,
they try to upsell you on crap you don’t need, scummy policies, mostly a toy store
at this point, and there’s a certain karma to the idea of them going under
because digital sales are basically wiping out physical media because they
pushed smaller chains and indie game stores out of business to get where they
are in the first place I get that attitude. I just also know that it’s
wrong because it’s the same attitude people had when things started to go
south for Blockbuster and yeah blockbuster was a shitty company that
itself did a number on mom-and-pop video stores before Netflix and Amazon did the
same to them. But it didn’t change the fact that it still effectively meant the
end of physical movie retail and as a film critic and film fan I can tell you
that movie culture has indeed been made permanently worse as a result in
specific important ways. Chiefly the loss of connection, loss of community, loss of
access, loss of consumer power not uncoincidentally all things that the
loudest self-described hardcore gamers will always shout the loudest that they
are committed to, but will (in my experience) also be the first to trade
away at the slightest inconvenience. Meaning that I have effectively zero
confidence that the gaming scene will suffer the same loss if the retailer we
all love to hate really is in as bad a shape as it seems to be now. At the
basest level no matter how useful online shopping is, and I’m certainly not some
Luddite against internet retail, the loss of brick-and-mortar retail of any kind
as an option for consumers is in fact a loss of community and human connection
one less place to go and encounter people in multiple different contexts
for the sake of it and also for the necessary perspective reset that the
other end of a transaction still involves a person or persons whose life
is as valid as yours. But specific to gaming the retreat from physical digital
spaces in general has been an overwhelmingly toxifying transformation
for a media that previously relied on physical and tactile component of
interaction both in playing games themselves and just interacting with the
medium more broadly to curb the ugly flip sides of isolation and detachment
innate to so much of the video gaming experience. Yes online gaming is expanded
communities and connections in its own right, but it’s no accident that be
fading away of actual human contact acknowledgement and consequence once
found in the atmosphere of the arcade and local multiplayer directly preceded
the rapid emergence of a genuine dark side within the subculture. (inaudible voice off camera) Yes, I’m aware
that they still sell physical games at big-box stores…for now. Hey I’ve got
an idea why don’t you go down to Best Buy and tell me how their CD section is looking. Exactly! Oh and speaking of which are there any oldish quirky stuff you
maybe wanted to grab off the Wii Shop Channel? Well too bad it’s gone now. This
isn’t about being anti digital distribution any more than it is being
Pro GameStop all right. I like digital media sales especially for gaming it
provides a space for independent developers to thrive and be visible, cuts
down on waste, good for the environment, good for gamers in difficult regions, and
accessibility issues all vital and positive evolutions of the medium and
the market. But, I like it best as a companion to physical sale it’s not a
replacement because the key important thing that digital can’t replace about
physical media is the freedom and power it creates, you the consumer, you the
gamer, you! Look there’s a lot of nagging irritations I do dislike about digital
sales and store fronts in gaming many of them surrounding the frankly pathetic
Apple’esk corporate fellating consumption cult religious fervor people
attached to f— steam. (music) (singing) “Come along, you belong. Feel the fizz of Coca-Cola…” And the manipulatively pander-ific
pro-consumer ass padding valve engages in to keep it at a rolling boil, but my
main problem is that digital only effectively erases media ownership as a
concept. We’re all just renting at full price now and they change the terms or
yank things away whenever they want. And if you do call yourself “pro consumer” or
“anti-censorship” especially you should have serious concerns about the
implications of that because the world where physical media ceases to be and
everything is digital is when we’re any company can decide they don’t want that
game you bought to have the same designs, or elements, or anything else about its
content as it did when you bought anytime they want or even to exist at
all and you can’t do a damn thing about it. Now I know someone out there is
sneering, “Yeah well GameStop is really just for toys and use games anyway” to
which I say again this is less about GameStop than it is about why you
should care about the impending end of physical game sales period. But since you
asked firstly, a thriving used game scene is one of the ways we kept some level of
consumer level archiving in existence. the games industry clearly isn’t interested
in its own actual history. And as to toys, you know up front I talked about the
idea of community and how much the real life component to that continues to be
lost in gaming and I know not everyone who’s into games is also into the merch
and associated products and plasticky nerd culture ephemera associated with
even their favorites, but a lot of people are. And moreover, I genuinely think that
a lot of the positive, social, communal, humanistic aspects of the games culture
gets expressed through these extended elements of gaming narratives, characters,
iconography being incorporated by people into their own self style aesthetic
acting as a tactile piece of the shared experience. You know there’s value or
there can be valuing the idea that those elements can be appreciated apart from
their source function as expressions of the ones and zeros and challenge
components of the games themselves in the idea that a plush Pokemon can become
a cherished object that potentially outlives one’s connection to any of the
individual games or that a gaming shirt, coffee mug, keychain, or whatever becomes
someone’s favorite “one of those” and that the bigger broader idea that this yes
often tact usually disposable and unnecessary stuff
can be the signifiers by which gamers identify each other outside of gaming
centered spaces and friends who might not have become so, meet in the first
place. Look everyone who’s ever shopped there
has a dozen shitty GameStop stories. But, how many gamers also have happy stories
of being able to find the game they couldn’t anywhere else there or happened
on a game they’d never have heard of that turned out to be a favorite? How
many incidental memories about figure collecting or card training don’t exist
without multiple visits? How many first jobs were had there? So yeah, GameStop is
basically a chintzy gaming themed pawn shop at the end of the day. But,
especially in the US, if you’re not in a major city with a thriving con circuit
or even a gaming meetup scene (which is a lot of places people seriously, the
further you get from the parts of this country that touch like salt water or
Canada there’s quite a few stretches that are basically just Fury Road with a
couple more mega churches and Chick-fil-A’s) I mean not everybody gets
to go to E3 or PAX or whatever. The local GameStop is, was, often it for any sense
of real world games community. And if your response to that is, “Well that’s sad.”
Yeah, it is. And I’m not looking forward to it getting any worse. Just a thought.


100 thoughts on “Nonstop (Game OverThinker)

  1. This is worrying on a lot of levels. But on an emotional level GameStop gets zero sympathy. It turns out when you act like a complete shithead toward your employees nobody cries when you go under. Go figure.

    This sucks. Archival is a thing I care about. But from all I've heard GameStop was basically the walking Avatar of corporate greed. Not exactly a lot of goodwill there.

    On that note, steam needs some competing storefronts. That market ain't healthy

  2. Haha. Man, Bob. As if your insight wasn't great enough (you raised some good points; many of which I've never considered), you just had to include a reference to one of my favorite Rescue Rangers episodes, too.

    Bless you.

  3. When you buy a game online i think it should like buying a song. You download it and it's yours. This shit of "you buy it we own it" is why i never got into online gaming.

  4. The idea that digital purchases of, anything, might and can be pulled from your library after paying full price for it is disturbing.

  5. Is he just progressively adding more shit around the TV? I can’t wait until it gets so cluttered with Nintendo hardware where that all you can see is a pair of glasses.

  6. After seeing this video, I went to my local GameStop and bought a copy of Resident Evil 5 Gold and Operation Racoon City all for $15 and I'm genuinely having fun with these two games. Looking back, GameStop was instrumental in building my old game collection since I never had the money to buy brand new games. I hope they stay around since I will miss them if they go under.

  7. I remember when I was a kid I used to beg my parents to take me to GameStop so that they could buy me a game that I wanted. I didn't even have a set game in mind, I just wanted to peruse and see what caught my eye. Sometimes they were great, sometimes they were shit. The company itself I have no qualms about going under, but the concept of Video Game Retail Stores going away is very disheartening.

  8. I disagree that digital download culture has destroyed a sense of community in movie buffs/gaming circles/etc. It's just relocated to reflect its digital counterpart. To talk with people of the same interest you used to have to go to a rental store or game arcade. Now it's all in online forums and I think I've made more meaningful connections in those communities than I ever did with some jabroni telling me that Independence Day was the best movie ever made or that Tekken will what's be king of fighting games.

  9. My second job was at EB games, where I went in very often and made friends with everyone behind the counter, before it was purchased by Gamestop. I value the friends I made while working there and am still, even nearly two decades later friends with some of them. However, Gamestop has never been a good company to work for, let alone visit. The skeezy upsale tactics were a requirement of the job and they left less room for genuine connections, because the people who you made worthwhile sales to were ignorant mothers/families and not somebody you'd ever want to talk video games with. Digital media has opened up better lines of communication between people who are like minded about certain titles/genres via online forums/community pages like reddit, or chat services like Discord. I feel no loss of life in the gaming community as a whole by losing brick and mortar stores, if anything I feel the opposite. The only point in the video I seriously could connect with is the permanence of a physical copy in the sense that the software could not be changed to suit the whims of an ever changing creator's mind or state of the world's climate, things like that can be scary to face, but ultimately the memories we have of games old and new are more permanent than a disc or cartridge ever could be. If you're unsure of this, go back and play your favorite game from your childhood, right now. Even if you still enjoy it, the first time you played it, it was an experience no amount of nostalgia can replicate. Not to say nostalgia is a bad thing, but there's no experience like your first time with something, our brains are wired to reward us more for novel experiences, and tie those feelings to memory.

    TL:DR: Losing brick and mortar stores isn't a big deal, just participate in the communities that matter to you in the current ways they exist and concentrate on making good memories with the way things are now.

  10. Not necessarily a gaming community in the store kind of moment, but one that really only can happen in the physical store:
    There have been multiple times I've talked with parents trying to decide what game to buy their 10 year old kid for a birthday/Christmas gift, and encouraged them NOT to get an M rated game. These kinds of encounter can really only happen in a physical store while looking at physical games.

    I also completely agree on the archival and ownership points you bring up in the video. And I like having the physical game because you can't always guarantee an Internet connection.

  11. All my good experiences came from Electronics Boutique… Before GameStop bought and tainted it with their astonishing incompetence.
    Good Riddance.

    Also: pirates are archiving everything 🙂

  12. The actual solution to this problem is to open and support more locally owned game stores. GameStop sucked and it's good for them to go.

  13. I feel gamestop overcharge but I would surely miss them should they go under.
    I have many memories of picking up games I liked — for ex, Custom Robo for Gamecube
    Anyone else live in the New England area and always miss out on conventions?

  14. Unfortunately, physical purchases have become basically pointless in recent years as they serve as little more than a key that allows you to download the game. I miss the days when I put a game in my console and just played. I can't remember the last game I got that didn't need a download upon booting it up.

  15. I'll admit. I usually enjoy buying a digital product over a physical, since it's less work and my PS4 has come down with "eject disc for no reason syndrome" But I do remember standing in line for the Batman ark ham asylum game midnight release and there basically being a mini nerdy tailgate party going on. Also remember going with my best friend to go get MKX the day it came out and a second controller so we could play against each other right away. And while rare cases, I have found games in a GameStop store that I would have never known existed had I not been able to physically shift trough their selection. So hearing the store is going the way of Blockbuster is sad to hear.

  16. Have you heard of a small used games / movie / music chain call the Exchange? It is what Gamestop need to move towards if they want to survive in the future. Selling toys, clothes, and collectibles is a good first step at diversification. The Exchange sells used collectors edition of games, games going all the way back to the Atari, and used toys as well. They even allow you to liberally negotiate the prices on purchases and trade-in. I've managed to change prices up to $10 at those stores when I was buying and selling multiple items.
    What I'm getting at, is that Gamestop needs to loosen up their corporate control and let each store do their own things. Allow employees to make deals and buy back more varieties products, especially if they know their customer base well. Say let a Gamestop in a hipster area sell more retro stuff. Use the Gamestop brand as a network to find used products if the local store don't have it.
    And they should partner up with digital retailers to become a download hub for game updates and install files in rural and less connected areas or places where internet providers charge by data usage or has data cap. Sell Gamestop branded USB 3.0 500 GB drives for downloading game install files or charge customers a small fee if they use their own drives. Sell smaller drives for customers to download patches. Or better yet, call to the store in advance so they can download whatever you need and you can just pick up the drive and return your previously used one.
    If Gamestop wants to increase their own value, both to customers and to corporate buyer, they need to evolve, let individual stores have more control over what happens in their own stores, and even sacrifice some older business tactics.

  17. As a 31 yo gamer who lives in the middle of no-ware, I agree with you Bob. Ive had a few bad times at GS, but ive mostly had great times. Ive gotten a few collectors editions that the manager saved for me. Then again I pretty much get physical games and enjoy the figures/statues ( I have a gaming room with F4f, gaming heads, sideshow statues, ect) so I may be bias. Its no doubt Gamestop has done some stupid and shady stuff, but to hear another brick and mortar going away, especially one I grew with, sucks. My wife goes into gamestop all the time to buy me game merch, its just something fun we do together.

  18. GameStop was my favorite store at the mall. Back then, used games cost only $10-$20 and trade-in value for new games were about $7-$15. It was great being able to play all the new games I wanted while trading in older ones.

    I always buy physical copies (and will continue to do so) because I like being able to lend/borrow games; plus I like collecting cover art.

  19. My biggest concern with going digital only is that at that point game publishers will be able to charge whatever they want for a digital game and then take it away from your their behest, not just by changing the game itself, editing bits and pieces out but also If they just decided "I don't want them to be there anymore" so they just take it down because the licence ran out or because of other factors that they then won't tell their customers.

    At least with a physical copy although they may shut down the servers, you could still play the base game

  20. Oh and Bob? Thanks so much for using that clip from rescue rangers, I've had the coocoo cola music going round in my head for the last 10 minutes now… Damn earworm that it is

  21. I'm very much into getting physical copies of my games, I wouldn't want to lose that at all. I'm still not super convinced that physical games are dead though, after all, I still see huge bluray sections for all kinds of movies in any eletronic store I go to – in the age of Netflix and Hulu mind you – So, the fear that digital sales will end physical sales seems like an overreaction. Buuuut… they will become the dominant way to experience games for many in the future, for sure.

  22. I do not feel like the end of Gamestop would affect the gaming community this badly.
    The point being made about merchandise is ridiculous, as gaming merch is on an all time high and is mostly bought in conventions or online. Socializing in the world of games today is as great as ever, most people talk with their friends and online (especially ingame) so i do not see any need for a retail store being a point of connection to other gamers.
    Lastly, you can find most old games and older versions of those online if you dig hard enough, i would even argue that the internet is a wonderfully accesible archive of gaming history.

  23. I like Bob but I don't understand if he hates gamers, the industry etc. so much and doesn't want to keep properly up to date on the issues or even the medium itself why he insists on weighing in on his at a glance take on the state of things. I mean this comes across as doomsaying from a retrogamer who dropped out of the evolution of the gaming in the 90's. It's interesting if misguided but what I can't figure out is who thinks the audience for this is.

  24. So once record stores went under and we all converted to our digital music streaming service of choice (Mine is Google Play Music) I suddenly had no idea who else liked the same music as me. I no longer bumped into someone grabbing the same CD as me in my local record store. Oh wait I still have the basic skills of human interaction and can simply ask what music another person is into, or over hear them playing a song and ask them what it is. Interesting.

    The same with movies, I think things like AMC A-List are going to be where the future of movie going will go. I have a couple of my friends who all have it and we go to a ton of movies, we discuss them afterwards or even talk to other people or staff at the cinema.

    Just because Netflix exists doesn't mean I can't go out and purchase a full priced movie of my choosing.

    You sound like the loudest minority when it comes to this subject and I am glad that we are converting to digital goods.

  25. So, why does GameStop die and gameXchange live? I don’t see the future as dim as you; Walmart and target will still sell your video games; gameXchange is still around for old copies of NES/SNES games (Ps1,2,etc.). Oh and there’s craigslist, and eBay.

    I’m just making the argument that just because GameStop (a company that often lies to the customer to push pre-orders or whatever crap, that makes them more akin to a street vendor In my opinion, peddling boxes of iPhones that turn out to be regular bricks, doesn’t mean physical games are ever going to go away. At least not for consoles.

    And if you’re a PC gamer, you’ve already lost the fight for physical media. You can’t go out and buy 1/1000th of the games physically (and I was exaggerating because I know steam puts to market soooo many more games than 1,000).

    It’s going to be fine. There’s always alternatives.

  26. The most recent events that have happened at a Gamestop for me were pretty positive events that have little to no chance of happening at any other store. I was looking for the day one edition of Nier: Automata (because I prefer the original cover that was included on the opposite side of the slip for the Day One edition) and I found it and bought it at a Gamestop in pretty good condition. Yeah, it was used, and yeah, it was $40, but that was cheaper than any other place I looked online that I was sure was the Day One edition and I could feel it in my hands to judge the condition as opposed to getting a picture that doesn't give me as much of an idea, or at worse was a stock photo from Google. Finding that game at some other store like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or Target would've basically been impossible because of how niche a game Nier: Automata was despite being critically acclaimed and finding a copy of the day one edition at those stores would've been equivalent to finding the Holy fucking grail for as late as I bought it. And just recently, Kingdom Hearts III released and my Gamestop had a 9pm launch event for the game with a raffle for free stuff. I went to that launch event and had a great time and no other store in my area was doing even a midnight release, let alone a 9pm one. Only the Gamestops near me were doing anything similar and that's something else that we would end up losing with Gamestop are launch events. Nothing hypes up a game more than being able to join others would are just as excited as you to wait until the very minute the game releases to get it into your hands to rush home and play it. Sure, you can get the game at the same time if you preorder it digitally, but there's not as much excitement in that because you're just looking at a screen waiting until 9 pm or 12 am hits to play the game as opposed to being surrounded by a bunch of people with a common interest in the game who are just as excited to get it as you are.

  27. GameStop does suck, but without them it'll become a bit harder to find games I want and people will lose their jobs. There are a billion GameStop's around me, if they go under, I'll have to drive an hour out of my way to find a second hand store that consistently has quality used games. I don't look forward to that

  28. I get what you're say, Mr. Chipman. I remember when Wrath of the Lich King came out and there was a huge launch event at the Fry's Electronics. I was bummed missing out because with digital downloads becoming a thing there would be less of these community events. Everyone standing in line, swapping stories, rumors and expectations. I identify with your argument about interactions and community. (Here comes the but)

    But, This is more a technology problem than a cultural one. Netflix didn't kill Blockbuster, the Iphone did. Because once you could watch a movie on a device with no slot for a disc or tape, their fate was sealed. Likewise Steam and Valve maybe the usual suspects in Gamespot's demise, but the memory card is where you should direct your questions. We have had popular retro versions of the NES, SNES, and the PS1. Not only where they smaller, but memory storage has advanced to the point dozens of games come preloaded. Games that used to take cartridges or several discs to play through.

    As for the culture. It is constantly changing. Transforming so rapidly it is beyond the ability of any one person or company to effectively control. League of Legends began life as a mod to a different game entirely. It gained a following through a community and became what it is because of that. Minecraft and Fortnite have similar stories of an independent following growing to the point of corporate interest. Gaming Culture will find away,.

  29. I won’t lie I have just as good memories of picking up games in GameStop as a kid as I did blockbuster. But I won’t lie digital media has made being a gamer way easier and affordable too. I probably wouldn’t have played half my favorite games were it not for platforms like steam. Still I wish they weren’t dying but to a degree it is their own fault, not consumers.

  30. Someone who says that the solution to toxicity and lack of community connection is physical game stores was never a woman in a 2000s era game store.

  31. What you're saying isn't true of digital media, it's true of DRM. Today, you can download and keep games from Humble and Gog. I think the reason people aren't afraid of Gamestop going away is that there are enoguh digital retailers offering DRM-free games.

  32. I can DEFINITELY live without the “human connection” one supposedly receives at a gamespot. I literally would rather hang out in hell.

  33. oh know a bad business model that rips of kids and strides on screwing over customers is failing come back when independent and big box stores don't sell games

  34. Seems like a shift to classic used games and nostalgia would be a way to save the company, rather than selling brand new releases in an already opened box.

  35. Stuff like this right here are why I follow Bob's content wherever he goes.

    Not to walk his dog, but this was a near perfect encapsulation of my thoughts on the transition to digital media. Especially that bit about relinquishing control of the finality of a games experience, which furthermore lends itself to more games, or the possibility of nearly all corporate studio games transitioning to online services in some capacity or another.

    I'm 34, and by a lot of standards, especially those which move money, that makes me old, i get it. But I hate when younger people use ideas like being older puts you out of touch with the times, without considering the wisdom that comes with experience.

    Take from this old guy, this transition away from tangible media is bad for everyone. Gamers, literature buffs, thespians, TV nerds. Everyone.

    We are giving all liscence to idea, imagination, and intellectual expression to companies whom are, at the forefront, driven by profit, not a need for artistic expression. And when they have all the liscence, who OVERSEES their direction?

    quis custodiet ipsos custodes

  36. If game stop goes companies like EA will fuck you hardcore online and companies like them. Also keep in mind they will snatch your games from you all those games gone if you get a banned. Imagion if a company gets offended (super easy any more these days) 10 to 20 games will be gone so like 500 to 1000 dollars worth of your money gone because a company says so. Keep that in mind while you cheer for cancle culture. Also keep in mind you destroy this market they will never allow another to be built ever again. So lose this power now and it will effectively be gone for good.

  37. The future is now old man, we have online stores. We buy directly from the manufacturer. Why pay a premium for these garbage ass stores?

  38. Convenient though it may be, Netflix takes shows off all the time, but they can't take your DVD's away.

    A loss of physical media does result in a tangible loss of ownership.

  39. Digitalisation means less power to the common user, but better services and flexibility and compatibility – not counting a digital copy won't get irremediably broken as a normal thing, whereas a disc quite usually does.
    I'm neutral on this one – it just *is*. This is going to happen because that's what we get, and we'll evolve from here on.

  40. Gamestop is kind of a love/hate relationship for a lot of people. A lot of people hate on it but at the same time they couldn't imagine their lives without it

  41. I prefer physical shopping because it feels like I'm going on a treasure hunt. I don't go to gamestop often, but I do frequent CD Game Exchange and Gamestar.

  42. I have to admit you are right on so many levels. I may have never worked for gamestop but I have helped them get so many sales for games I myself have really loved. Were just me telling them how awesome it was or how well the story hooked me. If they do fall its going to be a dark day indeed.

  43. You're wrong about physical copies being able to preserve game history anymore. There are already so many post launch patches to games that retail disks placed into machines 30 years from now, will be unrecognizable 1.0 versions of our kids cherished memories. My kids Minecraft nostalgia already has version #'s attached to it . . . literally his minecraft stories all start with "remember in 1.x.x when you could do x?" Yea . . . so much stuff is about to be lost.

  44. Gamestop stopped selling PC games years ago, and i'm a PC gamers… And for digital ownership, GOG at least allow you to download the installer and keep it, you can keep the game by backing them up.

  45. Digital distribution works both ways. I.e. Gamestop no longer sells physical copies, so then people who do own physical copies sell them online to people who want physical copies.

    Also if triple A game makers all went digital what's stopping people from ripping or downloading to physical media and selling it themselves. ROMs are still a thing and yes it's illegal but people still do it, they make "hacked" NES minis SNES minis etc and sell them.

    And lastly. Other places including small towns run into the same options. If a town loses a Gamestop that doesn't mean they lose games, you yourself even say it. Pawn shops, hobby shops, trade In places most now have online shopping with shipping. eBay Amazon the list goes on. One store closing is not enough to kill a Media. The idea that best but no longer has a CD section was not due to lack of sales, it's because mp3s are available everywhere free or not, and you can make them physical by burning them.

  46. Digital distribution works both ways. I.e. Gamestop no longer sells physical copies, so then people who do own physical copies sell them online to people who want physical copies.

    Also if triple A game makers all went digital what's stopping people from ripping or downloading to physical media and selling it themselves. ROMs are still a thing and yes it's illegal but people still do it, they make "hacked" NES minis SNES minis etc and sell them.

    And lastly. Other places including small towns run into the same options. If a town loses a Gamestop that doesn't mean they lose games, you yourself even say it. Pawn shops, hobby shops, trade In places most now have online shopping with shipping. eBay Amazon the list goes on. One store closing is not enough to kill a Media. The idea that best but no longer has a CD section was not due to lack of sales, it's because mp3s are available everywhere free or not, and you can make them physical by burning them.

  47. Hell I miss the radio'esque nature of HBO etc… just for being forced to tune into movies I wouldn't choose to block out time for as I have to do with Netflix.

  48. Makes me remember the time I snagged a copy of the Vice City soundtrack box set from my local electronics boutique. Those cds brought so much joy to my high school years.

  49. "games industry doesn't care about gaming history"… Ekhm… Who's Steam's biggest competitor? GOG. As in: Good Old Games. As in: the digital retailer that has a huge library of golden oldies that they specifically made to work on contemporary hardware. Digital gaming is not oblivious of it's history. It's actually it's custodian, and one that is doing a pretty good job too.

  50. I agree with what Bob’s saying about physical stores and purchases, but I think people’s biggest problem with GameStop is mischaracterized here.

    The biggest problem is that their used game resales give no money to the game studios, so all game developers, from corporations to indie devs are forced into this market where they have to make all their money in the first few months before people finish the game and start reselling it.

    I’ve heard this blamed for the rise of dlc and in-game purchases as game devs scrambled to compensate. I’m a little disappointed Bob didn’t mention this as it’s the main reason digital markets were pushed so heavily by game companies in the first place, but I do realize that’s not the main point of the video.

  51. I'm through with Gamestop. I'm sick and tired of being constantly pushed, nagged, and driven, and I don't give a crap what the excuse is. Worse, on the extremely rare occasions I do have something to ask, these employees don't have any special knowledge. I haven't learned a single useful fact from any of them that I couldn't have looked up in 15 seconds online. I remember the days of Blockbuster Video, where I could wander the aisles and look through movies for over an hour, and nobody would pressure me at all. As far as I'm concerned, taking away the human element is the best part of shopping online.

    Just one problem…no disk.

    I don't like stuff getting yanked for reasons out of my control, the reasons of which are almost invariably either outrageously petty, involving issues I don't give a microrip about, or just plain stupid. I don't like the possibility of losing stuff after I've paid full price for it. That's exactly why I've never gotten into digital music. And taking away the physical medium means giving big, shortsighted corporations that kind of power.

    So I've more or less reached the point where I have to take the least-bad option on a case by case basis. I'm fortunate that there are still a few places here that sell games other than Gamestop, but these are primarily local businesses. My condolences to anyone who's stuck in flyover country. And for numerous reasons unrelated to video games.

  52. I've never had any problems with GameStop, and I like the employees at the one I go to. If it ever shuts down, it's really going to suck. Also, any step towards a digital-only future is a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned.

  53. Damn it, Bob! You did really great till about the 8-minute mark when you let your arrogance and classism show through.

  54. I respect the obvious passion you have for this topic, however your argument doesn't bear up to logical scrutiny. It doesn't necessarily follow that the loss of physical game stores will necessarily create the outcomes you propose.

    You mentioned the demise of Blockbuster and subsequent shift away from physical media to digital for movies. You stated that the loss of physical movie retail resulted in some specific things that hurt movie culture, namely loss of connection, community, access, and consumer power. Would you mind providing some sources for this? Point to some concrete examples of what you are referencing? This is a big set of claims and, while I know its not the topic of your video, it would be a good idea to create another video unpacking and explaining these claims, as well as providing an argument that supports them.

    Digital media has allowed film historians to save movies created on decaying or outdated physical media. It has allowed easier distribution of movies, especially to places where government censorship or control of imports is high. Smuggled flash drives with digital movie files are a common commodity in such countries. These are examples I can think of right at the moment.

    You state the loss of brick and mortar retail options is a loss of community and connection. If people can purchase a game online, they don't have to leave the house to do so. I see the point you are making, but there many other options for connection that aren't affected by the loss of brick and mortar retail. If we accept the position that connection is a good thing that people want, that means there is a need for it that the market will fill. Consider the rise of gaming cafes, of bar-cades; these are places that have sprung up to fill that need for community as brick and mortar stores go away.

    GameStop and similar stores are not the only way that gamers can achieve the goal you set forth. They are one option, that we as consumers are turning away from.

    Your point about digital media changing the concept of games ownership is a good one to make. There is a definite issue to consider in that when I purchase a game over a digital channel, I'm really just licensing a copy of that software to have on my console. However, that's not a problem inherent with digital media and distribution. That's just how the market has evolved over time. If we as consumers don't want things to be that way, we can advocate for change and push companies to create new methods of digital sales that mimic the ownership of physical media.

    Also, physical media can have this same issue. The first few generations not so much, but with the advent of games with a strong online component, even if you have a physical disk you still have to register the software with the company. They can then do all things you state are possible with digital media. That's how we got patched content on games released on physical media.

    Patches and hotfixes are another component to consider as a benefit of digital media over physical. Granted, the knowledge that "we can fix it with a patch" has led to a lot of rushed games, but it's really hard to patch a game that's solely released on a physical medium.

    Regarding your statement that we should be considered at this if we are pro-consumer, again I have to stress that the scenario you posit is not something that's due to the inherent, unalterable nature of digital media. Yes, right now companies can change and even delete digital games at any time due to EULA's and such, but that just means that we as consumers need to work towards changing those EULA's. If you want the goal state of consumers having more control over their games, fighting for the survival of brick and mortar retail and/or physical media is not the only, or even the most effective, ways of doing that.

    The need for consumer level archiving is real, for sure. Recording the history of the art form of games is a thing that gamers should want and strive for. However, again I must point out that brick and mortar retail stores and/or physical media are not the only, or even the most effective, ways of doing that. It's not a valid argument to say "we need to preserve the history of games, therefore we should make sure GameStop stays in business" because stores like GameStop are not the only way of achieving that goal. If gamers are convinced that there is a need for this kind of archive, then they can create one on their own. Perhaps a museum of gaming, or stores that specialize in buying older games and digitizing them, or other such models.

    TL;DR, the goals or services that you argue that GameStop and similar stores provide are good things, but there are many other ways of doing them, ones perhaps better or more engaging to the consumer.

  55. My "gaming community" was always basically close friends and siblings, same as my "drinking community" and my "Community watching community", other than work, I've always done cool stuff with the people that happened to be around, I just can't understand the loss… Games are still there and there's still people, we do the connecting part if we want to, we don't need a company or a store to do it.

  56. I'd thumb this down because you were pissing on steam, but everything else about the loss of physical media and how many devs (or at least publishers) are willing to brick their game before abandoning it for varied reasons (some justified such as a publisher kicking out the devs to liquidate everything because it wasn't making ENOUGH money or some such BS) was correct more or less and is actually concerning. So much of our lives are going into this ephemeral digital space where nothing can be permanent yet everything is remembered… It's weird and very crazy.
    And the only way to keep something you paid for is to also pirate it to prevent devs from doing that crap too…

  57. Screw GameStop. Games will have to go the same route as music/movies though sadly, just like anything else that comes along. And who’s to blame? Who’s at the route of all of it?
    Money. Greed. And even more sadly, it’ll keep getting worse. Until we as people, as a whole, change.

  58. There's a local video game store in my area that I go to instead of Gamestop.

    Although, I do have fond memories of Gamestop. My friends and I would go to the midnight releases of certain games and get plushies and whatnot while we wait.

  59. Idk- I have my own brick-and-mortar stores like gamexchange that aren’t nearly as annoying and pushy as GameStop. There is no sense of community there- they sold me a fake ps3 controller that didn’t work and then proceeded to argue with me when I said it didn’t work and I wanted to return it when I brought it in store only ONE DAY LATER. Also my Best Buy has a large dvd and cd collection so-

  60. I don't feel sorry for GameStop at all. Their whole business model is based around deceit, depreciation of trade-ins, and getting you to subscribe to a magazine.

  61. this just in… old man complains about the end of horse buggies in the age of the automobile because "cleaning up all this poop, really brought the community together". Bob, you're about a generation too late to lament the end of cultural value in video game stores. it died when Babbage's killed the mom/pop store. why don't you do a video about them.

  62. Great video, a lot of food for thought. While I do think the sense of community is a tenuous one and differ from person to person, region to region, the greater concern of concepts of ownership in physical vs digital media. Very well done.

  63. HMV also had issues which made several stores close, including my local one, but i've heard that they have found a buyer so hopefully the stores will reopen.

  64. I do miss wandering around the new release section at the video store Friday night. It wasn't at blockbuster but still good analogy Bob.

  65. I went into a GameStop today to pick up a copy of the Devil May Cry HD Collection, and I ended up nerding out with one of the associates over DMC5 and the Link's Awakening remake.

  66. You have a fundamental premise here that gaming culture has gotten worse since gaming has mostly gone digital and I disagree. There is no evidence that it has gotten worse; I think it's likely that it is has always been this bad overall but before you could game with anyone anywhere you just didn't get to see the assholes as much because you just chose not to associate with them or never met them in the first place because they weren't invited because assholes. I think it's better that we can now see them because that means we can work towards finding a way to make things better whereas before they could more easily be shunned and the problem just ignored.

    I admit that I have no evidence that my premise is more valid than yours, though. And I can't imagine a way to figure out which is correct.

  67. I wouldn't care as much if it wasn't for corporations hunting down emulation sites while also refusing to preserve the legacy of the medium.

  68. I remember being apathetic about GameStop as a northerner until I spent a few years living in Texas. And Steam and the GameStop a freaking hour away were my only real options for games. I still don't like GameStop much, but it sure as hell has its purposes

  69. The lack of culture isn't the problem, Microtransactions and Loot Boxes are. And I think with or without GameStop gamers would have bought those things and we'd have had the shift.

  70. Gamestop asks customers to fill out a survey about their visit for a chance to win such n such. Customers go to social media to complain. Gamestop can suck,but so can the customers. Fill out the survey.

  71. Sorry, but there are other second dealers than gamestop. Ive been shopping at those far more often than i do at gamestop because gamestop pissed me off with their shitty busniess practices. They've been making the same mistakes that toys r us made years ago and i feel they will go the same way. And i cant feel sorry about that, because i know there are people like me, that are telling thier bosses and corporate higher ups whata actually wrong and how to fix it, but they wont listen to them.

  72. I could give an ass about Gamestop but my real worry is sites like Emuparadise. Physical media degrades and at some point the last plastic disc will receive one too many scratches and then we really do lose something but games in licensing limbo and older titles that just never got out of the bargain bin can be found by the people who need them if they're digitally archived, even if that archive is in a less than legal area. And I'm of the mind that abandonware should be cracked and distributed until someone makes it available (and not as a bare bones emulated port for the price of a brand new game, goddamn you, the fact that Chrono Trigger is retailing for the same price as my humble subscription is a travesty). Same with repro discs and cartidges.

  73. I picked up Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii at GameStop. I've bought all but Stories and GenUltimate since then, and put (easily) over 400+ hours into single player on Tri. Thanks for 'something'GameStop, sucks we all gotta go I guess.. :r

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