When your business primarily depends on the sale of what some consider to be antquated physical media, it is, of course, in your best interest for the market not to suddenly decide to ditch such media. That is probably the reason why GameStop claims, or perhaps wishes, that Nintendo‘s new NX console will still go the physical game media route, as its profits is beholden to the sale of new and pre-owned games. Luckily for GameStop, the market and technology might still be on its side this time.
Console makers have always been trying to get people to embrace purely digital, downloaded games and to snub physical media like optical discs and cartridges. The idea has merit, more so for the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. It would allow them to exert more control and oversight in distributing, updating, and even blocking games. In exchange, users are mostly promised near indestructible copies of the games, in contrast to the finite lives of physical media.
In practice, gamers and, to some extent, retailers have opposed a total digital conversion. For one, some gamers still love having physical trophies of their purchases, not to mention the freedom from control they come with. Retailers like GameStop naturally depend on the existence of such objects, especially when it comes to re-selling those.
GameStop CEO Paul Raines, chiming on the Nintendo NX rumors, says that the console will support physical media. He actually takes the existence of those rumors as proof. His logic goes this way: the existence of such rumors and talk prove that the NX will be an important console, and an important console wouldn’t be able to afford snubbing a large portion of the gaming market just to be hip.
In addition, Raines boasts that GameStop will play a role in the NX’s bright future. In fact, its pre-owned sales business will also play a role. Many game makers, and console makers, frown upon such a business, as it doesn’t bring in more dough. But just like totally wiping out physical media, they haven’t exactly been completely successful in putting a stop to GameStop’s business.