I do disagree with you saying that Gamestop is not a business simply because they con and grift and screw people out of money. They ARE a business.
You can call them whatever you like. A business can still con people out of their money but if they do then they don't deserve to be called a business even though their legal description would be 'business'. A racket is still a business even though it doesn't deserve to be 'legitimized' by calling it the same thing as other, legal, respectful, businesses. Not trying to No True Scotsman here, just saying its a false statement to cart blanche an entity simply on its legal description. I doubt anyone these days would want to call Enron a business; they were a massive fraudulent entity that happened to be in the form of a business. They're still a business, no doubt. They paid for the right to be one, registered, and were recognized as a business; yet they're unlike any other business legally recognized.
Yes, they are responding to Gamestop tyranny but that does not justify it.
I agree but there's also little else they can do about it other than giving up (which is what I would also advocate about piracy). Leave to the customer their decision on where to shop.
My entire ranting and raving has not been "Gamestop is not evil! Listen, everyone! They're normal!" and I apologize if it has come off as such.
You wrote as much: "People need to STFU about Gamestop being "evil". That is how things are."
The entire point I am trying to make is that Gamestop is not alone in its corruption and twisting of the video game industry.
As far as used video game sales from specialty retail: They are because they bought near everyone else who could qualify for that description.
Similarly it is kind of crazy sounding to say, "Gamestop ruined boxed PC sales!" when there were several contributing factors.
Apples to oranges. You're equivocating two businesses in separate industries that happen to overlap in this one area; claiming that their roles in their respective industries are the same in that overlapping area.
That's nonsense. GameStop is responsible for the blight of PC sales in the specialty retail sector of games because they comprise the majority of all specialty retail game stores. To wit: You could
equivocate them if Best Buy were also: Fry's, Circuit City, CompUSA, Newegg, Microcenter, and so on and refocused on solely providing for the games sector. But they're not. Best Buy does not control its market in the same respect GameStop does; nor are they as focused or interested. They're a retailer; not a specialty store catering to a specific market.
I simply argue that it seems you are placing blame square on Gamestop when it rests fairly evenly across Gamestop and publishers not reaching some sort of mutually beneficial business agreement as to how used game sales could benefit everyone, including the consumer.
I doubt GameStop was even interested in reaching any sort of business agreement. They're not pro-publisher in the first place. Their primary business comes not from buying product to sell from publishers, but from customers buying and selling the product that they bought. Publishers give them things to sell; customers give them their large profit margins. The Publishers are just a means to their end; they're not a partnership in the intimate sense. A partnership would imply that the publishers would be willing to actively work with GameStop's used sales where in the publisher still gets nothing and the developer still gets nothing. Why would a publisher ever
agree to help someone "steal" their profit? Why would GameStop ever
want to get rid of its good thing (its enormous profits that it holds accountable to nobody) simply to help out the publishers they don't really care about?
So they deadlocked and remain deadlocked. It's the publishers fault for trying to work around the deadlock to try and get the profit that it "rightly" owns but it is also GameStop's fault for creating the situation in the first place. I repeat: The onus of the situation rests on GameStop and the publisher reaction to piracy and used game sales grifting. GameStop is a large
contributor to their own situation. The Publishers played their role in it, but GameStop owns that onus. The blame is not evenly spread because it wouldn't be fair to the situation to spread it evenly. GameStop has the majority of the blame as they're at fault for the majority of the circumstance; thus they are "squarely" at fault.
Also, most pawnshops I know of get "fallen off the truck" kind of product and operate under the same idea Gamestop does. They buy low by any means necessary and sell as high as possible.
To which end I point to your next statement: "The only difference is pawnshops need to be careful to avoid legal attention as if they're selling things at crazy high prices someone might accuse them of selling stolen product which, let's be honest, is very probable. "
Thus: They're trying to act legitimate, which is exactly what I was implying. A pawnstore wouldn't dare be so bold as GameStop is in their margins. I'm sure some of GameStop's product is
stolen goods as well. The only reason why GameStop gets away with what they do is because they're enormous, franchise-based, and project an innocent exterior which quickly crumbles under scrutiny.
The idea that Gamestop sells things again and again and again for great profit... Rentals. Redbox does the same thing. $1 a day, right? Well that ONE DVD has seen Redbox close to $30 in profit a month most likely. Figure the cheap prices drive people in and it's no surprise they're booming. This is a weaker comparison than it could be seeing as Blockbuster recently tanked, but the point is still sort of there somewhere. They make oodles off the same product and cut out the profits moviemakers see. Redbox recently started renting games for $2 a day. I guarantee developers don't see the oodles of profit they'll make off of a relative handful of game discs.
Again, you're equivocating things that aren't equal. Redbox has an agreement with publishers to do exactly what they do: Rent. I'm sure they pay a princely sum for the rights to the DVDs they obtain, probably playing off the naivety of the publishers they're obtaining the rights from (in a similar fashion to Netflix).
On the other hand: GameStop buys say 40 units of product. They buy them just as Wal-Mart buys them or Target buys them: Through bulk sales. They don't sell the games they get as used: the sell the games their customers bring in
as used. It's a loophole. So they've bought the same $30 unit product available at Wal-Mart but where Wal-Mart will collect profit once, GameStop can collect profit infinitely. Once the game has gone outside the scope of that First Sale, they "own" the product, can set the rates its sold at, and can precisely control how much profit they get from it.
Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, etc. they all directly license their product for rental and as such don't pay "$40/unit", they pay the unit price and then a premium, larger, price for the right to rent the product itself. GameStop has no such agreements as far as I'm aware. In effect, they're a pawn shop that buys direct from manufacturers and slyly encourages their customers to come sell the product back to them when they're down with them; at which point they have free reign over the product. This, I'm sure, is not what the manufacturers intended but since they're the "only" specialty game store the publishers have no choice but to sell to them if they want to capture the market GameStop occupied and rigged.
Completely different situations, market conditions, and agreements.
On Netflix/Hulu: The majority of those problems you're mentioning are directly related to the people they're getting their content from being at most abusive and at least apprehensive. I've heard whispers of truly exorbitant rates and hair-thin profit margins off of contracts. Of some of the restrictions that those contracts entail that are unavoidable. The publishers don't like streaming content (as evidenced by the large rift between what titles are available for instant watch and those that are dvd-only) and they don't like Netflix or Hulu as services in and of themselves because they don't control the profit. They used to control the profit exclusively and they still want control; they do this by squeezing the middle man.
They're still not blameless of course for their own situation (Netflix). One of their largest contracts they just barely were able to loophole so that they weren't paying nearly as much for what they probably should have been paying. When that contract expires (which it started to two months ago I believe) then they had to re-license to keep the products that the contract held. The contract that is expiring/expired had a huge
number of titles in it. It was the spine of their business. I'm sure that in renewing the contract they found the rate they had to pay marked up sharply from what they would've paid before as well as a punitive measure to discourage them from loopholing further. This, in turn, had to be passed to the customer in order for them to stay afloat financially.
Simply put, I wouldn't think it's primarily Netflix/Hulu's fault for the spots they're in. They're trying to do digital distribution at a time in the entertainment industry where DRM and First Sales are holy words and all the major players play their part as staunch nuns; refusing to do business with people who won't announce DRM as the 'second coming' of their religion of profit. As Netflix has started to become popular, their contracts I imagine have started going up in price with more and more restrictions added on. There's only so much they can do: They have to have the movies their customers want or they're a useless service.
Eventually they'll either have to price themselves out of existence (at which point one of the companies trying to put them under will swoop in, buy them, and snatch their unique infrastructure and service; rebranding it as well) or they'll finally get their sector of the industry used to and okay with licensing their product for what amounts to online rental. Or they won't and instant watch will go entirely away or be riddled with advertisements.