So I have heard all the chat about how huge AAA games can't be downloaded because they are so big and how this is going to save GME from oblivion. And, I agree its true that 25Gig+ games are going to be sold on disks for several more years. But, let me take a minute to remind the longs about why that is totally false hope for GME:
- Big AAA games are very expensive to make now and so volume of these games is way off. Far fewer titles even getting launched into the channel this year. Fewer disks means fewer sales.
- All sorts of other game environments competing for gaming dollars that dont use big file sizes. Free2Play; DLC add ons; microtransactions; Streaming. These are sales that GME doesnt make.
- Lots of games are NOT too big to download - for example the casual games, indie games, etc. These games are going digital only in a hurry. These are sales that GME isnt making.
- Downloading is getting better in many ways which means the big AAA game is fighting a losing battle. Examples - better eStores from all the big three hardware makers; can start play while DL is progressing; can buy on your iPhone and start downloading; improving internet capacity everywhere.
- Casual gamers are leaving the console/handheld universe in droves. They are going mobile and this means DL only for games. This is why WiiU is failing. This is why GME is barely carrying Nintendo games any more.
- All of the big three now doing a much better job of selling old catalog on digital. This is hammering GME's used business as noted last quarter by GME.
- Steam is example of how even large games can go digital only. These sales are also gone from GME's world.
- Apple and Amazon coming with their own initiatives. Sure to be Digital Only. Sorry GME.
I'm sure Sony and MS will be introducing new high capacity storage drives to solve any future storage problems. How about 1 or 5 TB drives. That will do the trick..
Sentiment: Strong Sell
-Less AAA titles doesn't translate into lower sales of those games. Look at GTA V's huge success. The publishers are focusing on developing franchises and sequels because they earn better returns that way versus developing a lot of one-off content. Same is true of the movie business.
- GME sells DLC and other digital content at a high margin...and it still owns game streaming service Spawn, but won't launch it until it's ready for prime-time
- Downloading may be getting better because internet connections are getting faster, but that doesn't mean they are getting cheaper nor does it mean that carriers won't charge bandwidth hogs more for their big appetites. Plus, they can't be re-sold, so downloading is already more expensive for the gamer who wants to trade in when done with the game.
-Consoles aren't dead yet. Yes, tablets and other mobile devices are garnering share but they're not about to displace a dedicated gaming device. Plus, as tablet/mobile category grows, GME participates via its buy/sell/trade model. The mobile business at GME posted $50 million of sales in Q3 and keeps on growing.
-GME's used business getting hammered? it was down 2% in Q3 and is UP 7% in Q4 in the midst of a new console launch, that's extraordinary. Management said on the Q3 call that they expect to see used accelerate as the console launch ages. And hey, if there are less exciting new games out there as you suggest, maybe gamers give some older, less well-known games a second look on the used rack.
Razor - Thanks for the quality response to my recent rant. Comments back on yours...
- GTAV seems like the exception that proves the rule. Almost every other game franchise is reporting lower numbers each generation. (Madden, COD, Battlefield....) Also, it seems to me that it will be hard to support 6,000 brick and mortar stores as we get down to less than 20 AAA blockbuster titles per year.
- GME sells an insignificant amount of DLC and digital. They sell DL cards at very low margin. They have no chance in eCommerce because Sony, MSFT, eShop, and Stream already dominate those channels. I hope they waste alot of money on streaming because as noted elsewhere, its very hard to do.
- Downloading is better for the Publishers and soon enough, the pricing will reflect that.
- Seems to me that consoles are dying. Volumes this year already lower than last over the last several weeks. WiiU is absolutely dying and Xbone now having real questions. I have never seen anyone buy/sell/trade anything at GME other than a disk. Isnt that almost all of their used business?
- You are right. Used was up for the quarter and i need to be more careful fact checking. But, did you notice that the leading console PS4 is getting more than 50% take-rate on its games services. Old games offerred DL for free or really cheap. I think new consoles will do a lot to take share and lower prices of used games. New games were down 20% though.....
Like I've said, the people going to GameStop aren't checking in here to read your opinion.
And again, again, again, there is a vast difference between indie games and blockbuster titles. GME is not in competition with 99¢ apps. And gamers are rapidly souring on microtransactions, as it's made fully-priced games even more expensive - do your homework on Forza 5. More to pay, less to own.
GME hasn't relied on PC game sales in... oh, nobody remembers. You don't, obviously.
Wake me up when people no longer want to own the full-price games they've purchased.
Newsflash: Microsoft and Playstation JUST RELEASED DISC-BASED CONSOLES. These disc-based consoles are in their relative infancy. You really don't seem to understand gaming.
They are not going to make their numbers. Gamestop has been closing more stores than they open. Last report ending Nov 2013 they had 200 fewer stores and that includes the 44 stores they acquired in Europe. I happened to be at well known mall Saturday night. Gamestop was empty except for 2 window shoppers. They were well stocked. I see Gamestop turning into a Radio Shack type store. It's not the go to store it once was.