Sony and GameStop Join Forces to Sell Digital Content
More than 1,600 store locations in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland will receive downloadable content (DLC) from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). The new digital content can be purchased with any form of payment -- trade-in credits, gift cards, or good-old cash.
This mirrors the format GameStop (NYSE: GME) implemented in the United States, where consumers can already purchase downloadable content cards from Sony (NYSE: SNE), which provide codes to download PlayStation 3, PSP or PS Vita games and bonus content through PlayStation Network. U.S. consumers can also buy downloadable content from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) at all American GameStop locations.
In the official announcement, GameStop reiterated the news that it had returned more than $1.2 billion in trade credits last year. Earlier this week, the retailer's Vice President of Public and Investor Relations, Matt Hodges, told Benzinga about the importance of the trade-in market.
"We have a great relationship with our publishers," said Hodges. "I think they understand the value that the trade-in currency brings to subsidizing new video game sales in the United States. Just last year we returned $1.2 billion worth of trade-in credits back toward the purchase of new video game products. They [the publishers] understand that."
Hodges told Benzinga that he feels it is highly unlikely that any of the publishers -- Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo (NTDOY) -- would attempt to release a game system that bans used content.
"We think it's highly unlikely," he said. "We think it's consumer un-friendly, and if that were to happen, there's a huge install base of current-gen consoles that people would still want to buy and play used games on. It's an opening price point consumer that purchases pre-owned games. It's not somebody that's paying $60. This is a person that's paying $15 to play a title that's a couple years older. We would still be able to cater to that consumer for a long time."
"If you look at PS2, that's a console that has been around for [more than] 11 years," Hodges added. "It's still being [purchased]. Games are still being played on it. If you think about how long that tail is, and if you apply that to the PlayStation 3, the 360, and the Wii, there's definitely still business there.
"But like I said, we don't foresee [a used game ban] because it's consumer un-friendly."
Mike Mauler, GameStop's EVP of international, echoed Hodges' statements, saying (in today's company release), "The ability to use cash and trade credits as currency is a powerful tool and SCEE recognizes that it provides a new channel for gamers to access and purchase exclusive digital content. We are thrilled to be bringing this initiative to our international customers."
Jim Ryan, CEO Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, concurred. "Helping customers discover great digital content at retail is what GameStop does best," he added. "We look forward to continued success with our DLC partnership and the payment flexibility it brings to GameStop customers worldwide."
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