GameStop won't sell Xbox One bundles with digital game codes

Microsoft sells a number of Xbox One consoles that come bundled with free digital codes to download full games. However, a recent statement from retailer GameStop says it will not sell those console bundles in its stores or on its website.

GameStop has already worked with Microsoft to modify its recent Xbox One Madden NFL 16 bundle to include a physical disc of the pro football game, rather than a digital code for downloading the game which is available when purchased from Microsoft or other retailers. GameStop CEO Paul Raines explained the company's stance in its recent earnings call.

"If ... the platform holders ... continue to put in free games as promotional items, we anticipate that at GameStop you'll see more physical bundles from third parties as opposed to digital bundles. ... We choose not to participate in the digital bundles."

GameStop said its customers prefer consoles bundled with physical game discs compared to ones with digital codes. However, it's likely that the retailer also wants to give bundles that allow customers to resell those physical discs back to GameStop so they can continue to make money on used games, which is something it cannot do with digital game codes.

Source: GameStop; Via: Giant Bomb (opens in new tab)

119 Comments
  • Ugh...Gamestop.... The Videogame Nazi's.
  • Yep, they're not doing this for the consumers at all, they're doing it to protect their used game business. And insulting everyone's intelligence by not being honest about it. Not that respecting their customers was really ever a priority. Will not miss Gamestop once everything goes digital and I can buy/sell/trade games from my couch. I really wish people would pull their heads out and quit holding this back. It's coming whether you like it or not.
  • I really don't think reselling and trading digital games is ever going to be a thing on the Xbox one. Of all the industries that have gone digital, I can't think of any where you can do that, because it would be nothing more than lost money for content creators,
  • Even in the case of games that clearly say "Not for resale". Stay classy, EB/Gamestop.
  • And there's the part of educating consumers too. If more people experience digital purchases then there's a chance for those consumers to buy their next game using this channel instead of a physical copy on a gamestop store.  
  • Fine with me. I'll never but a digital game again based on the fact I can't sell it and get some money back on it.
  • I hope you're ready to give up gaming at some point then. Discs won't be around forever.
  • I guess if you have to be the first person on the block to own a game and you don't like keeping old games, then physical is best for you, but if you are like myself, and probably lots of other more cost concious and game-time constricted consumers, then you are actually artifically inflating the price of the games. If things went digital we'd see prices drop much faster for new games. Take a Steam sale for example where you can buy a pretty recent title for like 20 bucks or less. When you only use physical discs the publishers have to keep the cost high so they can make as much money as possible on their first run of sales because other buyers will buy the cheaper used option and the publisher gets nothing. But if the game was digital the publisher can reduce the price and offer periodic sales to get people to buy it "new" and thus sell more of them at less margin.
  • In theory yes, but in the real world, price is driven by other forces. You only have to look at recent triple a pricing on steam, origin or even xbox store where physical discs dont exist to see this no longer happens in practice.
  • FYI, spelling out letters like that is really confusing.  No need to create confusion and to turn "AAA titles" into "triple a titles".  As in, you wouldn't type out that you bought an "eye bee emm pea sea" even though that is how you would pronounce it.
  • I really don't see what's the "big" problem with that spelling...
  • It isn't a big problem, it is just confusing, unnecessary, and inefficient in communication.  Some even say using There incorrectly isn't a "big" deal either, doesn't mean we should stop caring about it. I actually only felt the need to point it out and reply because MAYBE...he had only heard the term "Triple A" when talking to friends in person and never knew it was actually supposed to be typed "AAA".
  • At first I thought what's the big deal, but then I didn't remember reading "triple a" so I read it again... I now agree with you, I thought he meant the price has tripled in steam games. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I started playing Halo: tMCC the night before its release via my predownloaded digital copy. Even people at midnight openings didn't start playing as soon as I did. physical copies don't even guarantee playing the game first now.
  • Agreed, I like not having to go to midnight releases and can just have the game predownloaded and ready to go.
  • People said that about music and CDs...look at them now
  • Torrenting or streaming Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sounds like the music industry 15 years ago. It's cheaper so ship bits than atoms. Better figure out a new business plan.
  • Gamestop are basically out of business.  Everything will be digital in a few years...
  • lol besides their used copy price leaves little incentive these days unless the games out of print
  • i was thinking the same thing... seems foolish to double down on a losing business strategy since we already know where the industry is heading in a short few years... reinvent (evolve) or die.
  • I think it's a bit different here - games are much more expensive than a few songs and I would never buy a game if I can't resell it!
  • Good! I prefer physical discs.
  • Same here I love having a physical disc u can collect and I'll always have that disc were as if they stop selling the digital copy and I have to reset the console for what ever reason then it's gone
  • Microsoft has hinted they may bring back even original Xbox games through emulation, for both physical discs and digital distribution. People on Steam and GOG don't typically lose future access to games either. It doesn't necessarily need to be either/or.
  • If they stop sellimg the digital copy, it'll be available to download in my games & apps. When you buy digitally you keep it forever
  • I'm digital-only on the Xbox One. I don't live in Trump Towers, I'm tired of ever-growing stacks of discs for games, music, movies, and TV box sets. I'm tired of losing, damaging, and misfiling discs. Never again for physical discs for me.
  • Having a big collection is part of the joy of it for me and I've never lost or damaged a disc so..
  • I'm right with you. I've only once ever made any real money back on a disc, $30 on a copy of battlefront 2 earlier this year, everyhting else has been like $5, minus listing fees on ebay or a tiny amount from Gamestop. I keep my games a long time so trading them in or selling is mostly useless, and opens me up to all the issues you mentioned.
  • Not good. I prefer choice!
  • I like having the disc but I also hate swapping discs.
  • Well, yeah.  The majority of their business is on used games/accessories, so yeah, it makes sense.
  • I've also found out that digital copies are tied to the account that DL them. So, if I have dl of games and decide to sell the console for whatever reason, the games do not transfer to the new owner. while physical copies will. 
  • People buy the console and not the accounts. Account sales are illegal.
  • This would clearly be the case. The upside is that when you buy a game you can also download it to whatever new console you purchase. Xbox One backwards compatibility, for example. Clearly they can't allow both.
  • Makes sense for GameStop . For any make sense for the industry.
  • Why don't they allow retailers to sell codes to digital download, and than at least we may see more competitive pricing and sale prices. Digital games should not cost as much as disc games.
  • They do. Some retailers have digital codes, but it's sparse so far.
  • More importantly than that, the retailers are often involved in used game sales as well. They want the chance to double-dip on a sale by selling a person a new game, buying it back for less, then selling it again. Digital purchases don't allow that.
  • Yes but they don't give the customer value they just rob people blind, I've seen it with my own eyes its wrong what they do.
  • I disagree. If you know what you're doing, it's not that way. Best Buy does a rather nice job. With GCU, I pre-ordered Sunset Overdrive. I got it for $48, plus tax, because you get 20% off new game purchases. It wasn't a long game, so when I finished it, the trade-in value was still $40. With GCU, you also get an extra 10% on trade-ins, so I got $44 for it. Then, since I pre-ordered it, I got $10 back in rewards. After tax, the game was about $52. The trade value and rewards money I got back totaled $54, meaning I actually made a couple of bucks for spending 2 weeks playing the heck out of a solid game.
  • For games that are at least a few months old, I've found that disks, even new, are cheaper than digital copies. 
  • Sure, I still buy a lot of physical media because it is cheaper than digital (and at least for audio and video media it is easy enough to rip to the home server)... But I don't buy it from Gamestop because it isn't cheaper there. I buy from Amazon, walmart, etc.
  • Having digital game downloads saves a ton of money for the gaming industry and also knocks out the physical copy, making more people purchase the digital download overall. It should be MUCH cheaper to download a game to your hard drive than it is. We are getting ripped off. I think if a new game costs $60 for a physical copy, a download should maybe cost $45 or $50. Just my opinion.
  • I agree... Doesn't it cost them extra money for the physical case and manual of the game, shipping etc?? If so the digital counterpart should be way cheaper
  • It does cost them extra money, however, it is not as much extra money it appears on the onset.  The physical cases really are quite inexpensive to produce, a couple dozen cents at most (it's cheap plastic after all), and CD printing is incredibly inexpensive in today's world (especially at mass production levels).  So the savings you would see as a consumer for the lack of physical containers and the like amount to $1.00 at most, which is so small (1-2% of unit cost), that it is never going to be passed on to consumers.  The company does save a several hundred thousands of dollars (millions if enough units are sold digitally), but that is only because they see the savings in bulk, not on a per unit level like the consumer does.   Shipping is much the same way: it would cost a lot to ship each item individually, but since these companies are shipping in mass, the cumulative savings are noticeable to the company doing their business in bulk but not noticeable to the consumer only purchasing one unit.
  • You have to print the materials.  You have to pay people to design the packaging.  A lot of this stuff does not package itself, you have to pay for labor.  You have to pay for shipping and handling.  Etc.   If you think all that goes into packaging a game amounts to $1.00 then you're completely clueless of how that business works and how much it actually costs to do these things. The physical copies should be closer to $49.99 and not $59.99.  The reason why the costs stay the same is because they trade costs to do the Physical Copies with costs to Microsoft for putting the games on the XB Store, among other things. Microsoft makes more money when you buy from the XB Store, so they will naturally want you to buy Digital Copies.  Bundling codes is a way to attempt to condition people to getting their games from the store, and get them to look ASAP at the store in hopes they'll find something else they want to buy.  The Publishers win because you cannot resale hte game, which means that's one more opportunity to sell a full-price copy to a new person, instead of missing a sale because GameStop/Wal-Mart sold someone a pre-owned physical copy at a discount.  Again, it's in their interest to get you to move to digital copies. You get to not get up as often to swap a disc, while paying the same price for the same product that as a result takes less to produce.  You aren't REALLY benefiting anything, especially once you finish the game and realize you can't do anything with it except have it rot in your "Library." The move towards digital is to benefit the developers and distributers, not the consumers.
  • I'm pro digital but digital has costs too. Server, bandwidth, physical location for servers, electricity to make it run 24/7. Most people expect to be able to download their 45gb game as much as they want, whenever they want and have the company store the game files forever for future download. All of that costs money.
  • It should cost even less than that. Digital sales cut out used sales, which forces more purchases of new games. This is why I continue to buy physical games. They're cheaper than digital (particularly with Best Buy's GCU, but physical games are on-sale more frequently, and at deeper discounts as well), and they offer more freedom (used sales, taking them with you to a friend's).
  • I cannot fathom why people would downvote your comment.  It just... defies logic that some people are so blinded by brand affinity or to a company that they'd throw their money into the toilet for them.
  • Because purchasing digital copies comes at much less risk than physical copies.  There's nothing to scratch or replace.  Not to mention optical drives to go bad.  Also there are many costs involved with digital copies as pointed out above by elangab so the costs can equate.  Digital copies are also much easier to purchase and provide less risk to the distributor.  (meaning Microsoft and Sony) You have very valid reasons to like physical media, but it is a dying format and will go away so enjoy it while it lasts.
  • For starters, it's pretty tough to scratch discs nowadays. I mean, everyone's got the half of a brain necessary to not put them in a blender, and Blu-Ray media's fairly sturdy in its own right. I haven't scratched a disc in a manner that actually hurt it in probably 10+ years. There's nothing to scratch with a digital copy, but there's also nothing you can trade in (making future purchases cheaper). There's nothing you can rent (meaning you have to buy a game to find out if you like it, in most cases, as demos are becoming uncommon). There's nothing you can let your friends borrow, and taking a game with you now becomes a giant hassle of either getting an external HDD or waiting a few hours on a DL once you get to your destination. You can say "there are costs," but they're pretty small. You need a server, employees to maintain it, and a network connection to consumers. Those are things MS and Sony already need for online play and other online services, so really only the added servers are a meaningful cost--and one server can handle the load for thousands, if not millions, of customers. Meanwhile, keeping physical stuff means you have to throw in the costs of shipping, paying retailers, all physical items (boxes, covers, manuals, inserts, discs), printing (for the paperwork and the discs), the hardware to put the games on the discs, warehouse storage space, and then you have to worry about employees to deal with the machine maintenance, packaging, storage, and so on. I am fine if physical media goes away, but NOT when the savings aren't passed on to consumers. $60 for a digital game is asinine.
  • Hehe. I used to shop at GameStop all of the time. They are right to do this... Otherwise, they will start running out of preowned inventory. I visit still occasionally, but only when I can find something elsewhere or digitally online. Physical discs are great, but cumbersome and susceptible to nephews and guests breaking them.I play games to play them, so collecting them isn't an issue. I think they are adding another notch in making themselves obsolete and or niche.
  • I have only bought 1 disc all generation. I have fully moved to digital. I have gold membership, so I regularly get games with 50-70% off directly from xbox live. Also Microsoft give me free money through the rewards program for buying digital games, movies or renting movies. Even using groove music gives me rewards money. There is next to no good enough reason for me to buy a disc. I also don't have to worry about storing music, films or games anywhere in my house. And I can switch between any game without having to swap discs. Alas I live in the UK, where shops give us terrible trade in prices. So I also save more money buying digital. I also have ea access, and haven't bought a fifa game for 2 years as they are free in the vault. Digital is just pure awesome in my book.
  • Agreed.
  • Agreed. 2
  • That man gets it. It's the digital era.
  • We're part of the next gen. Hopefully more will get onboard with us because Gamestop is garbage.
  • This seems very short sighted in my opinion. Instead of trying to figure out a way to evolve with the times, Gamestop seems hell bent on remaining suck in the past. They use to offer game codes for digital versions of all the arcade games on 360, but with Xbox one they haven't shown any support. I think might have to take my Xbox one love to another retailer.
  • Or, GameStop has a plan that isn't ready because CONSUMERS don't want to embrace an all-digital life right now. When Microsoft says that all-digital existence means never going offline for more than 24 hours, people will be bothered by the lack of reliable Internet globally. As such, this is more about the people as it is about GameStop's desire to sell used games.
  • Ok, yes, in your scenario, it works out for you. However, you're assuming everyone can take advantage of that. My guess is they can't. The average person can't play video games that often. The average person above the age of 13 plays for somewhere around 6 hours a week. Moreover, if what you say is true, Best Buy wouldn't have a sustainable model. Best Buy relies on people *not* being able to do what you do. And they can rely on that because the average person *can't* do that. So its wonderful that it works for you, but others won't want to subsidize that just so you can get your games for free. If everything goes all digital, prices will eventually drop. Right now they don't, but that same lag occurred in every single market that went from physical to digital. Eventually they'll realize by lowering prices on digital, they'll get more people to buy new. Increase in number of sales will offset the potential loss from each sale. However, that is slowed down by folks who fight tooth and nail for physical copies. Yeah, they have something to fight for, but don't expect to be surprised when many don't join your fight. People like you make games more expensive for people like me. I'm basically subsidizing your gaming habits. Why do you still think going digital isn't about consumers?   Edit: Also, does GameStop have a huge global presence? I'm fairly certain that while they are in other countries, its not a huge presence. They'll most likely only have a presence in well developed areas that have reliable internet.
  • Gamestop is the Blockbuster of today's gaming stores.
  • Ugh I hate discs, having to swap them all the time.
  • Ehh, and I hate digital--having to keep a game I no longer want, having to spend more to get less (no cover art, manual, etc.). I like the cheaper, more-flexible option. If I wanted to pay a premium to get less, I'd buy an iPhone.
  • I agree Keith.
  • Then buy a fucking PC and pirate games
  • LOL, what? Not even addressing that I have a PC, why are you in such a foul mood today?
  • All those issues you raise would not have been issues at all had the original Xbox One policies still existed.
  • Except the issues would have been: 1. Requiring the Kinect to be plugged in to boot the console. 2. Never unbundling the Kinect from the console, keepign the hardware costs high. 3. Requiring a nearly-constant Internet connection. 4. Still having to deal with the crappy Xbox Marketplace and its desire to have some of the highest digital prices in the industry. I'd rather have the current system, where I have the ability to get 20% off new games at Best Buy and the chance to trade in the $48 games for $44 when I'm done.
  • Not to mention reinstalling the game after you're removed it...  Well, 40-55GB or 2-3GB?  Pick your poison.  Not everyone has Verizon FIOS or Google Fiber.
  • I can see both sides. I hate loading discs, but I like having a physical copy in case I want to play something 15 years from now and the Microsoft servers no longer support it. I don't normally resell games, so that doesn't affect me too much. But I am trying to go digital this generation... it's very nice to not have to load them, I have to admit. I do think digital pricing should be cheaper though. At least give us $10 off a $60 game.
  • I can see the positives and negatives, for both the consumer and gamestop. Pros:
    consumer: No having a new owner wait for a 20-50GB download. Just a firmware update and play
    Gamestop: Game can be sold to gamestop for $20-25 (if newer title) for them to price at $45-55 Cons:
    Consumer: Media can be damaged, can't len game to family or friends.
    Gamestop: game cannot be resold to Gamestop. Now, I STRONGLY believe digital copies should be sold $10 cheaper than physical copies at launch. My bandwidth is needed to get the game. My storage is needed to save the game, and if I need to reinstall, MORE bandwidth is used. Not to mention the time it takes to download. Not everyone has access to 25+ Mbps speeds. 18GB can take around 4-6 hours to DL. 30GB and higher are all day events that hog all my bandwidth.
  • Except you can't resell a digital game. So, that consumer "pro" involving a new owner is irrlevant. If I sell my console to someone, then I have to leave access to my account on that console. Otherwise, my digital titles aren't going to be available to the new owner.
  • ??? Why would you leave access on the console you are selling? Who would pay extra for digital games tied to someone else's account? You're not making any sense.
  • That's my point. He said a consumer has an advantage of not having to DL a game after buying a console from someone. I guess he could mean from the disc, but you need both a disc and an install when you play, so I don't know how much of an advantage there is there, either. If you wipe the console before selling it (as everyone should when selling electronics), an install of the game is still necessary.
  • I feel you Keith. I get what you're saying.
  • He's talking about Physical Games.  He has good points, they are just horribly organized in his post.  He listed Pros for Physical and One Con for Physical and Digital. And no, clearly you cannot give away digital copies, which is part of the point of Microsoft and Game Publishers/Developers.  They don't want that.  They want the other person to buy another copy.  It makes them more money, and you (potentially) less. This already happened in the PC Software Industry.  Remember back in the day when you could buy a used copy of Windows because the license key worked even when you resold the PC or the OS Software/Discs?  Then, we had Windows Genuine Advantage and even if you bought Windows Pro and switched to a Mac you basically lose your investment since you could not [legally] resale it. Now we have Office Licenses tied to Microsoft Accounts, and B.S. like that. These digital games are no different. I have a PS4, but I buy Physical games and frankly I don't play it that much, anyways.  Might sell it soon while I can still get a good price.  Had an XBOne but it was too buggy, so I exchanged it for the PS4.  Liked the UI, though!
  • They sound like blockbuster. If the game has to downloaded into the system anyway. You might as well go digital.
  • Exactly!
  • A disagreement with Gamestop was the reason I start buying digital (They sold my preorder Titanfall controllers on me, then just disregarded my complaint for weeks before making good on them), and I can't ever see myself going back. Now I was pushed into digital, but let me give you the rundown on why you maybe should go digital. Ours is a house with two Xbones. Digital games lets me buy just one copy and Home Share. No longer do I have to purchase two copies of games just so family can play together. This saves me hundreds a year. Plus Gamestop would only ever let me trade one game in at a time, even though both were purchased there. No more midnight launch lineups. Now I just turn on the console and play. Often earlier than midnight depending on the time zone of release. True I do miss buying some of the collectors editions. But I'm confident that as digital sales increase, Microsoft will see the opportunity and include special editions on Xbox games, letting me preorder the digital copy and mailing me the goodies. As a Rewards member I take my money up front and keep the game, not at the back end when I'm selling it. And as a person who holds on to games a long time, I'm pretty sure I get more value for it in the beginning rather then at the end. Those are just a few of the reasons I'll stay Digital. But I understand Gamestops reasons. Just think they're missing a growing segment of gaming population. The ones who want Digital codes with their hardwar