Tag Archive for Video Games

GameStop has a new problem, Walmart

USed gamesBENTONVILLE, AR – Walmart has announced plans to start buying used video games from shoppers in stores as well as expand its current online trade in program by allowing customers to trade their used video games at 3,100 Walmart stores in exchange for store credit.

It’s a business that’s dominated by GameStop Corp., the world’s biggest dedicated seller of video games with the largest and most-established video game trade-in program.

Amazon and Best Buy also offer used video game trade-in programs. But Wal-Mart’s new program is the biggest threat to GameStop, which for the last three years has drawn roughly half of its profits from buying and selling, used video games.

“When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer of its US stores. “They’ll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want.”

Investors appeared to think Wal-Mart’s move spells trouble for GameStop, sending its shares down 3.7 percent to $38.30, while Wal-Mart shares rose 14 cents to $74.82.

used-games-gamestopBut analysts suggest the new program isn’t necessarily a death knell for GameStop. After all, other retailers have tried to take business in the used game market with “modest” success, said Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian, but GameStop has loyalty among video game customers and a broad inventory of new and used video games.

“History suggests the competition is unlikely to capture meaningful share,” he wrote in a client note.

However this news comes as another bit of bad news for GameStop and other brick-and-mortar video game retailers. In January, GameStop’s stock took a tumble on the news that PlayStation would provide online gaming options. Online-accessible games have taken a chunk of retailers’ game sales.

GameStop’s chief executive Paul Raines says the new player doesn’t intimidate him. “We win those market share battles because we’ve been at it a long time,” he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “There are lots and lots of risks when you’re buying a pre-owned product.”

MomoCon Using Kickstarter to Fund Video Game Career Fair

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Atlanta, GA – With over 12,200 people in 2013, MomoCon is one of the fastest growing all ages conventions in the country. Fans of Japanese Anime, American Animation, and Video Games come together to celebrate their passion through cosplay, browsing the huge exhibitors hall, meeting celebrity voice talent, designers, and writers behind their favorite shows and games over this 3 day event.

An estimated 15,000 people are expected to attend this year and organizers are planning something special for its 10th year in operation: letting the community attend a free and publicly accessible career fair. The career fair will take place Thursday, May 22nd, at the Hilton Atlanta from 12PM until 5PM EST, ahead of the official MomoCon 2014 event Friday, May 23rd until Sunday, May 25th.

To make this career fair happen, organizers have launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $4,000 to pay for various costs associated with organizing the one-day event. Companies, recruiters, and colleges wishing to have a presence at the event can contact MomoCon organizers directly at info@momocon.com or through the Kickstarter campaign here.

As of today, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $2357 of its $4,000 goal, with 3 more days to go.

Why GameStop Is Doomed, Part 1: Video Games Are Going Digital

SonyThe steady growth of online shopping has hit physical retailers hard over the years. Once mighty chains such as Circuit City have found themselves unable to cope, eventually closing their doors for good. Other retailers have remained resilient — sellers of specific goods including cars, clothing, and groceries have persevered.

Most of those that have fallen by the wayside — Tower Records, Blockbuster video, Borders Books, among others — shared a similar characteristic: What they sold wasn’t actually a physical product. When you purchase a CD, for example, you’re not really buying the plastic disc — you’re buying the album it contains. Whether it was movies, books, or songs, once digital distribution became viable and widespread, many of the brick-and-mortar retailers that specialized in that media eventually were driven from business.

GameStop fits this profile perfectly — its primary product, video games, is going digital, and we’re closing in on the tipping point. In this series of articles, I will lay out the many and varied challenges facing GameStop — its relationship with suppliers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo; the rise of digital-only consoles; the issues its new initiatives will have to overcome — and explain why I don’t believe its business (at least, at it currently exists) is viable.

Sony’s bets on video game streaming

PS4Sony is one of GameStop’s top suppliers — sales of PlayStation hardware and software compose a big chunk of the retailer’s revenue and profit — and starting this summer, it could become its single biggest challenger.

PlayStation Now, Sony’s latest effort, stands to do to GameStop what Netflix did to Blockbuster. Subscribers to Sony’s new service (set to launch this summer), will, for a flat monthly fee, get access to a catalog of old PlayStation games. These titles won’t be shipped through the mail, but streamed over the Internet, delivered to a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Sony HDTV, or mobile device.

If this service catches on, it stands to wreak havoc on GameStop’s used games business, which accounts for about half the retailer’s profit. Admittedly, PlayStation Now will not serve up PlayStation 4 games (at least not at launch), but as the technology progresses, it isn’t difficult to imagine Sony offering the latest titles. Moreover, until the PlayStation 4 has a robust catalog of games (which should take several quarters) it doesn’t matter — GameStop will remain dependent on older PlayStation 3 software. GameStop’s management continued to reference sales of games released for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube as best sellers well into 2007, even though the PS3 and Wii both launched in late 2006.

Microsoft aims at digital future
 

XboxoneAs a competitor, it’s no surprise that Microsoft’s Phil Spencer downplayed PlayStation Now, declaring onTwitter that he thought games played locally (not on some distant server) would be important for a “long time.”

But reports have indicated that Microsoft is working on a PlayStation Now competitor, which doesn’t seem so far-fetched given Microsoft’s enormous investment in cloud computing. Even if Microsoft doesn’t ever offer a full-on video game streaming service, the company has long supported digital distribution.

As originally designed, Microsoft’s Xbox One would have been the most digitally dependent console ever. Had the company not changed its mind, Xbox One owners would have needed a regular Internet connection to use their console, and buying or selling physical games would have been difficult or impossible.

Although a widespread backlash in the gaming community led Microsoft to reverse these policies, it is quite obvious the company favors digital distribution.

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But digital distribution is much more than streaming. Even if Sony’s service fails, GameStop is still challenged by its suppliers in the form of digital game downloads. In part 2 of this series, I’ll take a look at the evolution of digital game stores and how they challenge GameStop.

Post originally appeared on Fool.com.

Video Games Generate $57 Million In Kickstarter Funds For 2013

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The numbers are in and Kickstarter can add another impressive year to its resume. The online crowd-funding site released its stats and managed to rack up $480 million in crowd-funding.

The games category came in as a juggernaut being the biggest on the site, with the video game category alone taking in a total of $57,934,418 across 446 successfully Kickstarted projects.

There have been more than 8,000 total game-related projects, thousands of which have been successfully Kickstarted. Some of the most successful Kickstarted game projects of 2013 include inXile Entertainment’s Torment: Tides of Numenera, which generated more than $4,188,927, as well as former Capcom hotshot Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9, which accrued $3,845,171.

Video games weren’t the only form of games reaping big bucks. The board game sector is still a very important part of the crowd-funding model, racking in approximately $55 million in crowd-funding, which pushed the overall games category on Kickstarter over the $100 million mark, making it the most used and successful category on the site.

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The breakdown, from Thomas Bidaux of market research group ICO Partners, shows that games as a category was by far the biggest on the crowd-funding site last year, outpacing its closest competitor, film, by $35 million. This is up 30% from funding in 2012.

Bidaux commented on the results, saying, “To me, this looks like good news overall,” he writes. “It shows a wider selection of projects can get funded via Kickstarter, and not just the very cheap or the very famous…I think this evolution stems from the development of a community of video game enthusiasts embracing the crowd funding principles. A growth from the bottom up sounds a lot healthier overall.”

This spells good things for the future of the independent video game sector. Gamers are now trusting developers directly to pump out the kind of games they would like to play, and developers are gaining confidence in the crowd-sourcing sector in order to do the sort of games the major publishers just won’t back.

8 Highly-Anticipated Video Games in 2014

With the release of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 just in time for the holiday season, the video game industry has received a much-needed boost. New games showcasing startling new features, better graphics and freshly redesigned franchises have 2014 aggressively seeking to be a record year for the industry. Here’s a look at 8 of the most anticipated games set to release next year.

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1. Destiny
Bungie and Activision are teaming up to produce Destiny, a game that will blend the best elements of the first-person shooters and the massive multiplayer online role-playing games into one. The gameplay itself will resemble that of a first-person shooter, but the matchmaking system, social aspects, and progression through the game will draw from Massively multiplayer online role-playing game or MMORPG. The game’s premise, a futuristic world that blends aspects of fantasy and science fiction, features two alien classes that take after elves and evil robots.

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2. Star Citizen
Star Citizen is one of the more ambitious computer games. It seeks to create a futuristic world involving ship-to-ship combat, interstellar trade, planetary worlds, and a first-person cooperative campaign story. Star Citizen is set to be unrolled in phases over the next two years, and could very well be the next big MMORPG to achieve a worldwide level of fame.

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3. Tom Clancy’s The Division
The back story to The Division involves an outbreak that causes the immediate collapse of the United States, leaving a group of elite warriors to do battle in a post-apocalyptic New York City. The game itself is a tactical first-person shooter, allowing console gamers and PC users to battle against the AI or against friends, either by themselves or cooperatively. If you’re looking for another reason that the game has a realistic feeling that is just a little too spine-tingling, the disease that causes national chaos breaks out on Black Friday (can anywone say The Purge).

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4. Metal Gear Solid V
The fifth installment in the Metal Gear Solid franchise will be split up into two parts, Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, the first of which is set to debut next year. Like the other entries in the series, the emphasis will be on stealth and sneakiness rather than pure brawn. Known for its outstanding storylines and voice acting, the fifth installment is sure not to disappoint, adding features such as a time cycle that alternates between night and day and a variable order to the missions in-game.

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5. The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a game that harkens back to the old days of Final Fantasy and other turn-based combat games, using that framework to tell a story based on Viking themes. The game is expected to release in three parts, with the first installment due in January 2014.

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6. Titanfall
One of the most highly-anticipated games of 2014 is Titanfall, a futuristic first-person shooter in which players can either act as pilots or control titans — massive, mechanical machines of war. Besides featuring an intricate combat system and stunning graphics, the game has drawn focus because it is designed to be a multiplayer-only game. While there are ways to interact with the game on a single-player level, its primary focus is on playing with other people over the internet.

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7. South Park: The Stick of Truth
The latest game based on South Park takes an entirely new spin on the series, creating an MMORPG based on the popular animated series. Building off of episodes in which the show’s characters re-enact the story from Lord of the Rings and the recent arc parodying A Game of Thrones, the game illustrates the farcical side of MMORPGs while maintaining the excitement of combat and team-play that have made the genre so popular. Another bonus is that the game is designed to appear much like the actual television show, using a similar style of animation in its graphics.

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8. Watch Dogs
In Watch Dogs, the player controls a hacker in a futuristic version of Chicago who can manipulate electronic devices and steal information from various targets as the game progresses. Though there is an element of violence as well, the emphasis is often on stealth and subtlety, using computer powers to progress through the game. There is also a multiplayer option where a player can hack into another user’s single player game and try to steal information from them, as long as they aren’t found out first!

Ryse Son of Rome Prepares for Glory

Fight as a Soldier. Lead as a General. Rise as a Legend.

Embark on a journey of revenge, betrayal and divine intervention:

Ryse Son of Rome tells the story of Marius Titus, a young Roman soldier who witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of barbarian bandits, then travels with the Roman army to Britannia to seek revenge. Quickly rising through the ranks, Marius must become a leader of men and defender of the Empire on his quest to exact vengeance – a destiny he soon discovers can only be fulfilled much closer to home.

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Crytek creators (makers of Crysis 3), describe Ryse as an “an epic tale of revenge spanning an entire lifetime.” The story follows Marius’ life from early childhood to becoming a leader in the Roman Army. The game-play will feature working with Roman infantry by giving commands to them as well as quick time event controlled finishing moves during combat.

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Players control Marius using the controller, while simultaneously controlling his legion through Kinect voice commands. There will also be a co-operative multi-player mode, where players fight each other in a gladiator arena setting.

Confirmed as an exclusive for the new Xbox One console. Ryse, Son of Rome is set to release November 22, 2013.

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