GameStop Ditches Digital Downloads In Console Bundles

With consumers abandoning their stacks of CDs, DVDs and video games in favor of digital downloads that can easily be viewer or played for any number of devices, GameStop’s latest attempt to keep its bread-and-butter — the sale of trade-ins — goes against the no-disc trend: only selling game console bundles that include physical discs.

In a shareholders call this week, GameStop chief operating officer Tony Bartel said the company had worked with partners such as Sony, Microsoft and EA to offer free discs rather than free download codes in game bundles, according to a transcript of the call from The Street.

Bartel said the change was most recently seen in the current sales of the Madden ’16 Xbox One bundle.

Additionally, ArsTechnica reports that GameStop’s bundle was also missing a free 12-month subscription to the EA Access program, which offers a selection of legacy titles as free downloads.

“We expect that if a game is provided as a promotional item in a hardware bundle, GameStop will see more of these physical offers than digital pack-ins on upcoming third-party releases,” Bartel said.

Bartel went on to make it clear that even if companies continue to include digital downloads, GameStop will “see more physical bundles from third parties as opposed to digital bundles.”

GameStop CEO Paul Raines hinted in the call that the decision to scrap the inclusion of download codes in bundles sold at the store was a result of consumer preference.

“Consumers prefer those physical bundles, because they know that disc has value in the trade-in program at GameStop,” he said.”

It makes sense for GameStop to favor physical disc, as resale of those items account for a large chunk of the company’s sales.

And as Bartel notes,”we sell things at full price and provide great value through our trade program and that we have physical discs.”

GameStop swaps console game downloads for physical discs in bundles [ArsTechnica]

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