Can GameStop Make Sony and Microsoft Think Twice?

It’s not the first time, and certainly not the last time, that a company has tried to limit the resale of products, and the rumors of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) trying to do so seem grounded. However, one of the parties that would be affected, GameStop (NYSE:GME), has taken action to persuade the companies to do otherwise.

Microsoft’s next Xbox and Sony’s next Playstation are expected by many to launch later this year, and some think the systems will include will be built so as to make it impossible to play used games. Doing so could prevent gamers from re-selling games at cheaper prices that undercut newer copies, thus enforcing the purchase of only new games, which bring in revenue to the Microsoft and Sony.

Such a system might go further than affecting just gamers. GameStop, for instance, makes a significant amount of its sales from used games, so it has a vested interest in the matter. A recent survey by the company shows it’s putting forth effort to dissuade the console makers from including the aforementioned feature…

The results of the survey showed that some 60 percent of gamers wouldn’t buy a new gaming console that wasn’t capable of playing secondhand games. However, the hype of new games and new consoles could persuade gamers to forget their responses to the survey, so the results may not be enough to put Microsoft and Sony off such technology.

The private company Valve has shown success in creating a market for games where users download game content from the Internet and have no way of transferring ownership to others, short of giving away their accounts and their whole library of games with it. Despite this strict market, Valve has had success in the PC gaming market, and could indicate likely success for the console makers. However, the PC and console game markets are not identical, and results could vary.

One thing is clear: GameStop and many gamers don’t want console makers to restrict used games. Unfortunately for them, Microsoft and Sony may be able to do so without significant repercussions — unless GameStop’s survey is truly indicative of firm consumer sentiment.

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