GameStop Selling Download Codes At Retail

Sick of being left out of the party as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo sell downloads to gamers directly through their consoles, GameStop has started hocking downloadable content codes at all of its 4,400 stores, Game Informer reports.

Presumably, the already upsell-happy workers will now press you into buying extra characters and multiplayer maps for “incomplete” games you buy at the store. Hopefully this works out in customers’ favor due to discounts or package deals, but that’s just overly optimistic speculation.

What incentives would you need to buy a DLC code at GameStop rather than order the add-on straight from your couch?

Gamestop Launches Downloadable Content Centers In Every Store [Game Informer]


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  1. Tracer Bullet says:

    Nothing would convince me to buy one of these.

    • Beeker26 says:


    • DariusC says:

      Agreed. They have a sort of DLC for Guild Wars… You can change your character appearance for 15 bux, another stash slot for 10 bux (to store more digital items), costumres for 10 bux, etc.

      All of them are overly expensive. Sucks!

    • Enduro says:

      I think they’re doing this to prey on moms. X-Mess is a’coming.

  2. Preyfar says:

    If I could buy “GameStop Exclusives” without actually buying anything else in GameStop I /may/ consider it. As much as I absolutely loathe/hate GameStop, they tend to use their influence to convince companies to cut out content only for them.

    I guess if I had a choice of being able to snag their promo crap without anything else I’d consider it, but it’d better be no more than $.99 to $1.99.

    I’m sick and tired of exclusive retailer content being denied to people.

    • The Marionette says:

      It’s just as bad as regular dlc to begin with. dlc is actually there before the game is finished and is broken off later to use as dlc ,ie extra costumes that were already made for a game, but now it’s “extra” through dlc. And sometimes the exclusive dlc isn’t all that good.

      • Preyfar says:

        I’m against on-the-disc unlocks.

        And yeah, sometimes the Gamestop DLC sucks… sometimes it’s actually good, but it really irritates me that Gamestop has exclusive content. If you didn’t pre-order from there? Good luck. Sometimes it gets unlocked in games, sometimes it doesn’t. Not that I *want* to buy DLC like that, but I really hate the few times something good is given to them and denied to the rest of the community. That “completionist” part of me feels like I’m being denied part of the game.

        It’d be like going to the movie theaters where Loews has a small added scene that Regal Cinemas doesn’t. You’re getting the full movie, but you still feel like you’re missing out unless you happen to see what that extra thing is. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad.

      • anduin says:

        A lot of DLC doesn’t actually exist in this form. But there is a tendency for developers to withhold content and then sell it to you 1-2 weeks after release. That’s when I say vote with your dollars and don’t buy but then there’s DLC like Fallout 3 content packs that actually offer value for what you actually pay for. I’m personally tired of seeing useless DLC that consists of armor, weapons, skins and maps being charged premium prices for when it’s mostly just fluff. The “content” isn’t worth more than 2 cents in that case.

  3. bigdirty says:

    It’s easy – buy the game new rather than used, and then you usually don’t need to worry about this.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You don’t play games much do you.

      New games have exclusive content all the time.

      • Destron says:

        And often times that content is specific to a particular retailer.

      • bigdirty says:

        Actually, I do, and usually the any DLC that I give a damn about is the ones that cripple the game if you buy it used (ex EA’s GamePass) – for exclusive pre-order from specific retailer, I usually don’t give a hoot about, because in the grand scheme of the game it’s worthless. Look at the multitude of cars that were in Blur (BMW from KMart/Sears, Viper from Best Buy, something else from GameStop) – it really didn’t matter, I got my Renault Clio regardless of where I bought the game, and I got the Viper from Best Buy only because they had the best price.

        Also I did get one of the Shaun White games from Target thinking that the “exclusive” content would be of some significance being that they are one of his primary sponsors. Let’s just say I was extremely disappointed, and bought the sequel from NewEgg at 1/3 the price.

  4. grucifer says:

    It would have to be cheaper than the digital purchase.

    That’s the only way I’d waste my time going to GameStop.

  5. dolemite says:

    I’d need.. like a 20% discount.

    This is what I like about Steam. Wait a few months and you’ll start to see 50% off of games, then 75%, then like 90%. That is the benefit of digital distribution (too bad the RIAA and MPAA haven’t caught on to this business model).

    • anduin says:

      Steam is great for deals but usually their best ones can be easily missed since they have random 1 day sales where you see those crazy 90% off type deals. I know some people that don’t really like getting their full games from Steam because they like their physical copies but since this issue is about DLC, I would recommend going with them anyways.

  6. pop top says:

    I wouldn’t really call the workers “upsell-happy” since they have to do it as part of their job. I don’t think anyone actually enjoys having their entire job based on metrics that are out of their control (selling GI subscriptions and getting people to reserve games).

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      No. We must blame the messenger and the peon. It is the Consumerist way.

      • pop top says:

        I’d like to think the site promotes the idea that the front line workers aren’t there for you to piss on and should be treated with a modicum of respect, or at least not like shit. They always recommend in articles that when dealing with CSRs or whoever, that you should always be polite. It’s not their fault their company is fucked.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          There are only two solutions. Ever.

          1. Yell at the front line worker about your bagel and something about English grammar.
          2. EECB.


          But yeah, I always cringe when people yell at the peons. Having once been a peon in retail and at a restaurant, I know how little it accomplishes other than to make that person’s day even worse. Talk to the manager, or at least just politely leave and thank that person for their time.

          It’s not hard.

          In this case, though, I do find it annoying that GS gets content. But it’s usually so small, like an outfit or a gun, so I never care.

          • Preyfar says:

            If GameStop sold bagels they’d only come in plain. You’d have to pre-order your bagel at least a month in advance to get poppy seeds on it. Otherwise you’re out of luck. If you want an Onion Bagel, you’ll have to pre-order your breakfast at Best Bagel. They secured exclusive rights to Onion. Interested in a Blueberry Bagel? Amazon’s Bagels secured rights to that. Target’s Bakery has Cinnamon Raisen, and we’re all protesting Wal-Bagel, so nobody really knows what topping they have. They all sell the bagels plain, but the toppings are exclusively locked to each store.

            The Everything Bagel will be available six months after you order, and will include all of the above toppings, and will be sold at half-price.

  7. Destron says:

    Sometimes exclusive content pisses me off. Like when M.A.G. came out on the PS3 and you got an exclusive costume for pre-ordering, but 3 different retailers got a different faction. So if you wanted a specific faction you HAD to go to that retailer to get it – even worse – Sony did not tell you in advance what faction a particular retailer would get. The most valuable code – Valor – ended up going to Best Buy – who the F pre-orders at Best Buy? So the code ended up being rare and fetching premiums on ebay. BS. Then I had to laugh at all the people that paid premiums for the pre order bonuses only to have them be released for free on PSN later :P

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      People care about their clothing in games that much?

      I mean… really?

      Look, I play tons of games, but I can’t understand why people give a crap about the little outfits and junk.

      • Destron says:

        Yes – actually they do. I personally don’t that was just the most recent example I could think of with that sort of dispersion. You should look of the sales figures for HOME on the PS3 and see how much money people spend on virtual items. Its insane. Or look up Farmville – virtual merchandise is what keeps Zynga afloat.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Yeah, I don’t get that either.

          For me, the only time I can stomach DLC is when it’s on more content. Even then, I have to fight myself to do it.

  8. mandy_Reeves says:

    nothing. that is what the MS Point cards are for and Wii points cards….

  9. satoru says:

    Certainly there’s a convenience factor there. It would also make ‘gifting’ DLC easier. They already have the infrastructure to do this. All the ‘beta codes’ they’ve been doling out for pre-orders probably were a way to test this infrastructure, before they went to actually selling DLC codes. Pretty smart if you think about it.

    Selling DLC in the store is an interesting business move. Say what you want about Gamestop they’ve got some smart people making some good business decisions to keep their business going. They might be seeing Steam, and the EA Store digital distribution as stronger competitors and are trying to stay relevant in the DLC world.

  10. Destron says:

    I never buy a damn thing from Gamestop – and won’t start now. Even if the DLC is cheaper – I still won’t go there. When I did go there – I have NEVER gotten a single piece of pre-order swag from them. They would always claim they did not get it – but I knew the employees just took it and gave it to their friends. When I bought Zelda The Windwaker there for Gamecube I had to send a heated letter to their corporate office to get my damn preorder disc.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      sounds like you live in a corrupt area. we’ve always gotten good service & our extra content – in GA & CA

  11. Torchwood says:

    Somehow, I can’t grasp the idea of spending $60 for a game that will end up going for $20 on Stream within 6-12 months. People ask me why I don’t own a Xbox, Wii, or PS3, and I point to this as why.

    I think that GameStop was one of the major retailers who would not stock a particular game on the PC platform because it required the installing of Steam which also sold games and competed with them. While digital distribution is supposed to be cheaper, because of retailer agreements, it ends up being the same price as retail because of these agreements.

    • Destron says:

      But their are games on the home consoles you will never see on a PC that are well worth the price of admission, and long term PC gaming is still more expensive than console gaming.

      I use Steam for my PC games, so I am not knocking them. But there are a ton of games you will never experience on Steam. Uncharted 1 and 2 stand as my personal best games of all time right now with the God of War trilogy a close second and I would never get to experience them on Steam. Not to mention the Nintendo IP’s that will never leave the Nintendo umbrella.

      • grucifer says:

        I thought the same thing when I read dudes comment.

        I don’t have a PS3 so unfortunately I can’t play GoW but maybe one day!

        And the only reason I still own a Wii is because the Skyward Sword is going to kick ass. (I’m 26 years old and I still love 90% of Nintendo’s first party games and I don’t care what anyone thinks)

        • Nekoincardine says:

          I don’t think most hardcore gamers can doubt Nintendo’s first-party stuff and still be treated as sane, rather than being a rabid fanboy whose common sense is blunted by the right corporate logo.

          … I almost finished that sentence without laughing loudly. Curse it.

    • Concat says:

      Yeah, it’s much cheaper to spend hundreds upgrading your PC every two years, and a couple grand every 4 years to keep up with the demands of games. I mean, you’re saving like 40 bucks on some games. Some.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Yeah, this.

        Also, never having to battle with .dll files, and being able to chill on the couch with, I dunno, another human being.

        How about being able to play games with your spouse or significant other? Or play SF IV with friends?

        Or, not having to fight with insidious DRM that installs rootkits?

        • sqlrob says:

          That last point is (almost) moot.

          Many console games require firmware updates that can toast functionality.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Yeah, but it’s all automated and quite simple to handle.

            Even today, I was trying to get a game running and the damn thing flipped out about some driver issues.

            DRIVER ISSUES IN 2010.

            It’s obnoxious.

      • grapedog says:

        What exactly are you smoking? Why would you need to upgrade a gaming rig every 2 years? Obviously you don’t care about top end graphics, because you’re playing on consoles. Console graphics for the current generation were old and tired about 2 years after the PS3 and XBox 360 came out. Just lower your graphics settings as the rig gets a little older. A gaming rig built right should last anywhere from 3-6 years if you’re not a complete toolshed when you get it.

        Too many people buy shit from Alienware and whatnot. $1000 can get you a top notch gaming rig that will last 4-5 years easy.

        I don’t shop at Gamestop, I get most of mine online or digital download.

      • dolemite says:

        I think I average about $300-$500 per year to upgrade my computer. Meanwhile, I just spent $40 and got Left for Dead 2, Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2. Honestly, I think it evens out.

        Except for the fact my PC graphics are 2x better than anything Xbox or PS3 wishes they had.

  12. unimus says:

    I do realised there’s a market for people with no credit card nor a points card.

    Still, this is so backwards. Like print an email to read in front of the same PC kind of backwards.

    • Destron says:

      Your correct there is a market for people with no credit card – or they just don’t want to use it – but that market was solved by all 3 companies with points cards.

    • sqlrob says:

      That market is pretty small, probably only gifts.

      You can buy points cards with cash at Gamestop

  13. Tracer Bullet says:

    Gamestop = the next Blockbuster. In 5 years they will be out of business with all the gaming companies getting more greedy and forcing you to purchase content directly from them, and working harder and harder on making reselling their games impossible.

    • misterkisses says:

      Are you kidding? GameStop is hugely profitable. There’s almost no overhead on reselling games. It’s all profit. You trade in your game for sometimes like seventy five cents, and they re-sell it for twenty dollars.

      Everyone wins, they get basically free money, and you get to buy video games that function like new for greatly discounted prices. I don’t understand why everyone hates GameStop.

      • satoru says:

        Indeed to say Gamestop will be dead in 5 years is somewhat puzzling. A look at their recent filings indicates they are doing very very very well.

        Gross Profit: Gross Profit Percentage
        New video game hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 113.5 6.5%
        New video game software. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 795.0 21.3%
        Used video game products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,121.2 46.8%
        Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 405.0 33.8%
        Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,434.7 26.8%

        Obviously they make a shit load of money on used games and has driven their growth for the past few years. Note that while the gross profit on New video games software is lower than the used one, in terms of actual sales numbers new video games are higher.

        Gamestop is simply monetizing what had already existed on an ad-hoc basis. My allowing trades of systems and games, they can make money on what was usually a private transaction. Certainly new games sales aren’t going to go anywhere, since digital distribution of games of AAA title’s isn’t happening anytime soon on the console side.

        Also the trend for either pre-order bonuses, or the ‘used copy’ penalty ultimately just shifts some revenue from their used game bucket, to the ‘Other’ bucket where they sell you DLC right in the store. Selling DLC is just as awesome for Gamestop because it requires ZERO inventory space. Just some letters and numbers on your receipt.

        Personally I see Gamestop as being much more business savvy than Blockbuster. Blockbuster did not see the Netflix and Video On Demand trend in cable that was destroying their business. When they finally woke up, it was too late. Gamestop was way ahead of the curve on capitalizing on the used game market, and appear to be trying to get into the DLC market as well.

        • Destron says:

          The markup on New games is only about 3-5%. Their markup on used games is much higher. Its not uncommon for them to buy a game for $15 and sell it for $47.

          As people wise up and realize there are better ways to get rid of used games this will shrink their margin a little, but there are enough people out there that want instant gratification that it will never go away. I love to be in the store shopping though when someone brings in a stack of games thinking they are about to score, and get told the whole stack will net them about %15 of the value. It’s priceless.

          • anduin says:

            People will ultimately do what’s convenient for them and that’s to walk to the store and sell the game for whatever they offer because it offers the least amount of hassle. Some people are afraid of using Craigslist or don’t want to bother with waiting on ebay to sell their goods so Gamestop exists in that perfect spiot to take advantage of these types of people.

            I don’t shop at Gamestop very often but I have bought plenty of used games there when I knew I couldn’t get them cheaper (with shipping) online. Usually I have no sympathy for people who resell their games to Gamestop but I’ve also heard of some tremendously bad trades and then resells that would make you strongly question a persons intelligence to relinquish a game for a dollar. I know some of the devs are field testing a new earnings model that will try to cut into used game sales by charging $10 or so dollars for access to online, full content if the game was bought second hand. Maybe if all the game publishers adopted this model, it could hurt gamestop but as of now, they’re still reporting ridiculous sales.

      • bray424 says:

        Not everybody wins. Game developers don’t win, as they don’t see a single cent when someone buys a used game. That’s why you see games like Mass Effect 2 including a one-time use code for their “free” DLC packs on Cerberus network: First person to buy the game new gets free DLC, second person buys it used and has to pay an extra $15 to access Cerberus.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see a modified version of DRM applied to all console games, where the game will only play on a finite number of systems, rendering used games obsolete.

    • Destron says:

      Gamestop will meet it’s demise, but it won’t be in the next 5 years. The only reason Blockbuster is dying is because of digital distribution. Game developers are not so ready to adopt digital distribution on console games yet, and so far gamers don’t seem to keen on it either since they rely on being able to trade/sell off games they no longer want to fund their hobby.

      If more companies jump on the EA bandwagon it may dent their sales of used games, but it won’t kill them. I personally refuse to buy a used game when I can buy it brand new for $4 more. But I buy used all the time through other outlets that get huge discounts. usually has excellent deals on used games, then of course there is ebay.

  14. Riroon13 says:

    I don’t understand all the GS hate. I never have a problem there. They’re always better stocked than the big boxes and even TRU, and the employees are 99% of the time are friendly and knowledgeable. (I’ve have one bad experience in my last 20 visits, and it was nothing tragic enough to write home about).

    Game Informer is still the video game mag to beat, too.

  15. sqlrob says:

    The gamestop we stop at has had codes for a long, long time. Why’d it take so long to roll out chain wide?

  16. dr_drift says:

    Does anyone remember the days when gamers would rage at the thought of DLC being developed alongside the main game? It wasn’t too long ago, as a matter of fact. What ever happened to that rage?

  17. Guppy06 says:

    Here in Florida, DLC, not being a “tangible good,” isn’t subject to sales tax. That technically includes the little plastic cards with unlock codes, but whether or not the store recognizes not to collect tax on that particular sale is hit-or-miss (apparently depending on whether their lawyers/accountants are good enough to recognize the exception).

    In other words, if I buy DLC in GameStop, I’m likely to be charged at least 6% more than I should be.

    If I lived in a state that taxed such electronic goods, I’m one of the 2 or 3 people in the country that actually pays their use tax and I’d consider buying at GameStop to spare me some quarterly record-keeping. But in my state, online shopping isn’t tax evasion if there isn’t supposed to be a tax.

  18. valen says:

    I stopped going to the local GameStop when they got rid of their PC games department. I do not think that offering download codes at retail is going to bring me back. It seems easier and more “instantly gratifying” to purchase and downloading code purchases at home on the computer. No gasoline or time wasted in traffic required.

  19. anduin says:

    Incentive would have to be cheaper than what I pay online, otherwise why am I driving to the store to get this when it’s available directly from my console? Gamestop is a terrible place to get new games anyways and it’s only value and probably biggest reason it’s been able to expand as much is its ability to sell a ton of used games and edge cards to its customers. I mean when you resell a game to them thats say 1-2 weeks old, theyll pay you $30 or so but resell for $50-$55. Awesome profit margin vs the $10 or so dollars they make on new copies.

    • Nekoincardine says:

      Less than that, I think; I used to work at a place where the employee discount was “Buy item at cost + 10%” – meaning that calculating the values was trivial.

      They had to add an exception, “EXCEPT where that would be more than retail,” because the employee ‘discount’ was often working out to be MORE on many video games…

      Admittedly, the place in question was? Movie Gallery. Not exactly paragons of price efficiency. Still….

  20. framitz says:

    NOTHING would get me back to a Game Stop for anything.

  21. Dieflatermous says:

    I bought Patapon 2 a few years ago when it released from Gamestop, only to find a download code in the box and nothing else. What a waste of packaging and my time — if I wanted to download a game onto my memory card I’d do so, but I had no wireless at the time and no space on my memory card. I thought I was buying a physical UMD and was pretty unhappy to find out otherwise.

  22. Blaze says:

    I had to create an account just to comment…

    Game Developers have begun including a one-time use only DLC card in their new games. Thus when the owner sells it back to places like Gamestop, whoever is picking it up secondhand gets shafted. Gamestop’s primary income is used games, and something like this is a huge hit for the corporation. They haven’t brought in the DLC codes to “compete” with online downloads, they’ve brought them in so that whoever is buying the game secondhand can buy the code with it for convenience. I can’t say for certain because I’m not extremely familiar with the brand-new strategy, but I believe it’s still at least a little cheaper than buying the game brand new (the used price of the game will drop to allow this). Otherwise, Gamestop wouldn’t even bother stocking used copies of games that this has been done to. The new policy is a huge killer of secondhand retailers in a time when our economy needs the jobs they provide.

    And upsell-happy is just a little insulting. Gamestop employees technically don’t make commission, but their hours depend on the number of reservations and subscriptions they sell. No reservations this week? Too bad, you don’t work at all next week. For someone struggling to pay bills or pay for school, that attitude is devastating. In this economy, it’s hard to find another job, so the employees are only doing what they need to do to be able to stay afloat.

  23. CyberSkull says:

    I’d buy DLC there if it were significantly discounted.