There will be a tl;dr at the bottom, I promise. I tried to keep it real simple, but there's a bit of business/economic jargon thrown in there. If you need me to clarify, just ask!
I read something not too long ago regarding Xbox One, and how getting rid of the secondary market isn't that much of a big deal, because the price of newly released games depreciates so quickly. The author listed the example of Bioshock Infinite listing for only $40.
I immediately thought "BS, how could an incredibly-rated game such as Bioshock be only $40 a few months after release, when each Call of Duty is listed at full price until the next one comes out?"
But, I never got around to price-checking until now. What I found...was kind of surprising, to say the least, and a bit telling of the current market.
First, let me say that yes, I found Bioshock Infinite for $40 brand-spankin-new...
...On Amazon.com. Not someone who listed his or her copy on Amazon though, that's Amazon.com retail price.
For comparison, I wanted to use GameStop, but their website seems to be down at the moment, so I decided on BestBuy instead-okay scratch that, now it works. Apparently searching for it on Google, instead of just typing the address in, is the way to go...Whatever, I'll just list both prices.
Okay, screw this. Their website STILL isn't working. I managed to catch a banner that said they're selling it for $20 off though, so it works well enough.
ANYWHO, I decided to use 4 games for a quick comparison to see how the market values games. I used a highly rated, but easily obtainable game (Bioshock Infinite), the current big FPS (Call of Duty: Black Ops 2), a newly-released game, which has already had a price cut (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance), and a highly rated game that is difficult to find (Xenoblade Chronicles).
The *prices will be listed as follows: Game, $Best Buy Price (retail store), $Amazon.com Price (online vendor), $Gamestop Price (if available, consider Gamestop the control since they're big into brick and motor AND online)
Bioshock Infinite, $40, $60, $40 (special deal) Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, $40, $60 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (listing price is $50), $40, $50 *Xenoblade Chronicles, $200, n/a, $55 ($65 used)
I picked these four games because I felt that they kind of cover the 4 main areas of gaming today: current excellence, the latest craze, quickly forgotten, and a niché market.
Now why these 4 exact ones? Well, I was planning to buy Bioshock and Metal Gear together, and opted for Xenoblade instead ($77 on eBay, beyond worth it). And CoD is the biggest name on the market right now.
I chose Amazon.com because it's arguably the biggest name in online retailing, which acts as an independent retailer (eBay doesn't qualify here, as well as Glyde.com, since their prices are fixed). Best Buy is probably the second or third most likely place to buy consumer electronics, specifically games. Gamestop's website was unavailable at the time of writing. Walmart was the other idea I had, but since the Walton family probably sold their souls for such a hyper-efficient supply chain, they don't count (and secretly I'm terrified of Walmart...). --- Well, there is a new accent of n00b language. It's called: Vet LUEser goes Foreign!-MegaSpy22 Those must be the pants of the gods!-Digitalpython
ANALYSIS: I't's pretty easy to see that the online retailer has a bit of a jump on the brick-and-mortar stores. Selling current games that people will want now at a 33% discount is pretty significant. Even with taxes and shipping costs, you still get a much better deal for buying online, where you can combine shipping as well to further lower the price. Though there's always the convenience of visiting a store in-person, where you can leave your home, get the game, and be back and playing within an hour, does the higher price really justify the higher cost?
I know we're all more or less aware of this, but online shopping is probably going to be the norm for the future. With stores struggling, such as Best Boy, and Blockbuster (THEY'RE STILL AROUND!) as prime examples of companies unable to adapt to growing marketing changes, it only furthers my point.
Regardless, the cheapest prices will be on eBay, where you can pick up each game pretty easily for under at least $10 lower than the Amazon price. That's the beauty of a market system. If you wanna watch supply and demand work itself out in real-time, go watch some eBay auctions. Seriously, it's cool stuff (if you're into it anyway).
Walmart's prices are about the same as retail. Occasionally, you'll find a game that's $5 cheaper (Bioshock for 360, in this case). but they also have some weird exclusives where their games will be pretty much cheaper than anyone else's (getting a $20 gift card when you bought Halo Reach on release comes to my mind here). However, their online capabilities are...pretty crappy. It can take a week for you to order online, then pick up the item in the store. Vastly inferior to Amazon (of course) and even Gamestop, which offers a very similar feature (I'd do a real comparison, but down website and all). Still, their size and influence is enough that, if they wanted to, they could probably single-handedly cause a market drop in price. They've done it before.
I think that's enough there for you guy. To be honest, I got up in the middle of writing that and TOTALLY lost where I was going with it all...so, yeah...
*I listed the new price only, and used if I thought it was significant (Gamestop Xenoblade used price being higher than new).
**Xenoblade is a pretty weird situation. The wasn't supposed to be released in the US, but fans managed to bring it over as a part of Operation Rainfall (which is one of the coolest things gamers have ever done, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rainfall & http://operationrainfall.com/ ). Gamestop purchased the rights for Nintendo to exclusively sell the game to them (but any corporation could approach Nintendo about buying it, but I believe only Target did, on a small scale). So, stores like Bestbuy and Amazon could not sell it. That's exclusivity right there. On top of that, it only went through one printing. So, when the game was released last spring, that was it. As you can imagine, it's hard as hell to find at a reasonable price. Just skimming over eBay again, it's a challenge to find a copy for under $80.
Holy hell that was long. Kudos to you if you actually read it all. Again, I'm more than happy to do any sort of clarification you may need.
tl;dr: Buy games online is hella cheaper than in retail stores. Especially eBay. --- Well, there is a new accent of n00b language. It's called: Vet LUEser goes Foreign!-MegaSpy22 Those must be the pants of the gods!-Digitalpython
Awwwww hell, I can't edit it... Stupid new GameFAQs making everything different...
Here's how it should look:
The *prices will be listed as follows: Game, $Amazon.com Price (online vendor), $Best Buy Price (retail store), $Gamestop Price (if available, consider Gamestop the control since they're big into brick and motor AND online)
Bioshock Infinite, $40, $60, $40 (special deal) Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, $40, $60 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (listing price is $50), $40, $50 *Xenoblade Chronicles, $200, n/a, $55 ($65 used) --- Well, there is a new accent of n00b language. It's called: Vet LUEser goes Foreign!-MegaSpy22 Those must be the pants of the gods!-Digitalpython
I will quibble with your use of "deppreciate" though. Retailers are buying product at a wholesale discount/rate, and from there they can sell at the MSRP or lower (or higher for that matter) in response to market forces, their own costs, etc. Amazon partially because of the britches-and-motor angle and partially because Jeff Bezos is an inscrutable evil (?) genius just doesn't sell stuff at MSRP. So the game was never $60 on Amazon--there was a pre-order discount that probably just about got fossilized as the standard discount.
The distinction matters because this is literally how we price books. Someone says "that seems high" and someone else says "yes but no one has paid retail for a book in ten years" and everyone says "oh right." --- Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both. -Mimir