Plowing to the Payers [ COMIC ]

I’m not arguing that the GameStop’s business model doesn’t make sense, because it does. In a time where downloading one’s games becomes more and more prevalent, they needed to do something to keep consumers coming in. And apparently harassing them to pre-order something every time they walk through the door wasn’t it.

Personally, not quite sure how I feel about a lot of the content you unlock from pre-ordering. For example, if you preordered Mass Effect 2 you unlocked the terminus armor. Which is considered the most powerful armor in the game. Great way to shorten the life on your $59.99 gaming experience. Now granted, it is up to the individual to how they use what they unlock by pre-ordering it. But come on… Giving a gamer access to some of the most powerful items in the game is like dangling a needle of heroin in front of a junkie’s face: you know they’re going to use it.

Sorry this isn’t the King Kamehameha comic that I previously mentioned. Still working on it. Hopefully it will be done soon…


  • So very, very true!

  • tubazo1989

    Looking forward to that “King Kamehameha” comic!

    I agree overall. What happened to just picking up the game and getting what the game had in the box as it is? It’s cool that Gamestop gives you the option to pre-order it from there with bonuses, but it also negates the overall gaming experiences we would have if we bought it anywhere without those bonuses.

    ….I just started working there. Don’t hate me!…hate the people in charge of my paycheck….

  • David Herbert

    I think some bonus features is a fun idea, but game breaking armour is a bad idea.

  • Lax

    I’ve been suckered into pre-ordering said games twice. Once for the Halo: Reach Xbox Slim bundle and the second time was a few days ago for Fable III. Well, I was gonna get my first Xbox soon anyways, so I figured it would be even better if it was a Halo package. Worth it, every freakin dollar!! As for Fable III, it gives you some sort of sword that you can kill people with that at some point will give you bloody wings, yeah… I’m a sucker :)

    • Sephiriah

      Reaver’s Sword, It gets stronger the more you spend money, kill innnocents, etc. Basicly The more you act like him XD

  • FrozenPhoenix

    Oh My God YES! I hate gamestop every time I see one of their “power to the players” commercials.

  • Serneum

    I tend to find that the pre-order bonuses aren’t that great. For example, with Split-Second you got an “exclusive” car which was just a reskin of one of the first cars you had available to you and then to top that off it was only available in multiplayer modes. With ME2’s Terminus Armor, I ended up finding other armor parts that eventually either gave the same bonuses or better. I think it was somewhere within the first half of my playthrough where I had already stopped using the Terminus armor even though it was a nice set. I will agree that some of the stuff they advertise is quite insane though.

  • Ryan

    Oh please, no one’s forcing you by gunpoint to pre-order. If you’re honestly thinking about getting the intended “game experience length” that would have been shortened by the pre-order bonus, then don’t get the freaking pre-order bonus. Also, pre-order bonuses are a good way to get people to buy new as opposed to used, which is better for the developers/publishers of the game itself.

    • Lax

      Of course, we’re more mad at ourselves for falling for the cool ads than the retailers themselves

  • Doc Lithius

    That is so ridiculously true. And really, are they selling you anything that you can’t get in the game just by using an Action Replay?

    … What?

  • Uncle Ben

    Completely true. That said, there’s been accusations by *some* people that you’re unoriginal because every other one of your comics has some joke about anuses or anal penetration. Any response?

    • First off, two most recent does not count as “every other one.” Second, even if I was I wasn’t aware that there was a huge overflow of ass related webcomics on the net. Third, I think you’ve put way too much thought into this.

  • Lokahi

    When Fable 3 and Fallout: New Vegas came up for reservation I had to have them both, and collectors no less. If I hadn’t of pre-ordered Fable the wife would have killed me lol. I went with Fallout because I’ve been a LONG time fan of the series and having that Vault 13 Canteen (from Vick :D ) and the Suit (from the Vault Dweller) were just awesome for the lil gamer nerd in me. Now granted if those mean nothing to you, then there’s no point… for you. As for the Fable stuff, the wife wanted the Village creator and gave the the items :).

  • Nekozilla

    yeah i hate game-content pre-order bonuses… they are usually boring, un-interesting or over-powered, anyone remember bioshock 2’s bonus? i do, 2 bonus chars for multiplayer… and that was for the regular game, since im not into multiplayer fps games that much (a bit of halo/cod with my cousin and thats basically it) i didnt pre-order it, but when the game arrived i bought the special edition box for a bit more, which included a very nice art book, the soundtrack on both cd and vinyl record and 3 rapture ads that i framed and placed up in my apartment XD

  • Cornstalk

    GameStop hate bothers me only because we’re a capitalist society. If you don’t like a business, don’t shop there. Spend your money on the stores/products -YOU- want to see thrive. I use to drive past 3 GameStops just to go to a a GameCrazy 4 years ago just because they had a great staff. When that GameCrazy lost their two main guys I went there to shop with, I took my business elsewhere because I didn’t like their replacements. Capitalism!

    • I am definitely not anti capitalism. In the same regards, I am allowed to complain about what I don’t like in the free market to help promote or to steer people differently, as well. GameStop lost my regular business years ago. Not because the whole preorder thing annoys me, but because I preferred Best Buy’s Reward Zone plan better. I purchase my used games from a couple local stores that also carry titles older than the previous generation.

      Pointing out what I feel is error in judgment is not the same as forcing others to limit one’s choice to make it.

    • ZeroBudgetGamer

      And look where they are now. Face it, Gamestop almost has a monopoly on the video game market, if not for places like Best Buy and Target selling games in addition to their regular stock. Sure, there’s a handful of independent game stores, and I’ll happily take my business there before I stoop to Gamestop, but just as much as this is a Capitalist Nation, it’s also a nation of pure-blooded idiots. For every “deviant” who decides not to shop at Gamestop, there’s at least 10 or more people who will mindlessly bring their business to them, and Gamestop realizes this.

      The Gamestop Hate exists primarily because, as little as knowledgeable gamers want to give them business, they will always have business, and will proceed to rake in the profits for years to come.

      • Rascalking

        True- to an extent sir. Gamestop makes money on a few key demographics. People that don’t know retail stores carry the brand new games as well- or, which happens more often, can’t afford new games without selling old ones to put down on pre-order bonuses. Parents that don’t want to look all over for a specific game. People looking for games and accessories for games they can’t find in just standard retail stores either because the game is too old or doesn’t fit the market (i.e. microphones for rock band/guitar hero)

        Digital downloads will almost certainly start to dominate the market within the next 10 years and even though Gamestop has a plan for when that happens (and it’s a pretty nice one) it will seriously cut down the amount of consumers coming to them. Really without their used games they wouldn’t make profit. Most of their sales come from annual game trade-ins (Madden, Call of Duty, most sports games) or games that only have one playthrough. I think Gamestop will start to slow down and certainly see less profit within the next ten years.

        All businesses don’t see profit from straight up sales of the consoles themselves. Most profit is in the accessories. For Gamestop it’s all profit when it’s a used game. They pay however much for the game (as little as a dollar I’ve seen) and sell it for whatever their system- which is based on how many copies sold vs how many bought vs current stock. But now I’m rambling. Point was, Gamestop will not always be the Capitalist be all end all for games. Their reign will end soon enough.

  • Brian

    The ME2 reference is bullshit, btw. That’s now how armor works in that game. You got an unmodifiable set of stylized armor whose bonuses you could emulate with upgrades to your standard armor. I agree that when the pre-order items ARE game breaking it’s pretty shitty, but this was a very bad reference.

  • Reznator

    What happened to Gamestapo?

    By the way I prefer bonuses that include concept art or giant posters without having to payout too much for them.

  • Yeah, have to agree about the ME2 armor being not so game breaking. And to be honest, I know very few people who even used it because it wouldn’t allow you to remove the helmet, so you couldn’t see your character’s face outside of the ship.
    The trend tends to carry over into special edition content, as well. Like in Fable 2. The Halo “armor” looked cool enough, but it was purely cosmetic (and could literally break the game at the end if you wore it), and the sword was useless almost immediately.
    I like tangible things, even if they make more clutter, like art books, or the awesome baseball cap I got with Persona 3 Portable.

  • Jay

    The main reason I preorder games is not the bonuses, but the fact I can put $5 down every week and by the time the game comes out, it’s paid. I find it so much easier to budget a small amount every week than to find $65 when the game comes out.

  • Vess

    I’ve got no problems with bonus content that add something that looks cool, like a new outfit, car, or weapon. But armor that’s better than pretty much everything in the game? That’s game play breaking. It’s the kind of thing you should be using a cheat code for, not a pre-order code.

  • Dogbot3000

    Pre-order bonuses giving in-game content has bothered me ever since they started doing that. Especially because of the fact that in most cases these days, you have to pre-order it at GameStop in order to get said content, and can’t get it anywhere else. I’d have less of a problem with it if at least GameStop didn’t have such a vice grip over the content. Overall though, I do prefer when they used to give things like figurines and bonus discs for pre-order bonuses and not something in-game that’s going to discourage me from buying the game altogether if I can’t get it(IE: The previously mentioned water canteen in Fallout).

  • AxelBat

    SO true!

    You forgot to mention selling it back and getting $10-15 when you just paid $60 for it and they are going to sell it for $55

    This is why I don’t buy used, and IF I sell my own games I do it on Amazon.

  • Ejigantor

    I thought the pre-order bonuses were always like skins and such, unique visuals that didn’t alter gameplay, while the gamebreaking overpowered stuff was reserved for paid DLC and more expensive Collectors Editions.

    As far as GameSpot specifically, I think the difference between trade-in and resale prices are absurd, but I do appreciate the used games for older things – just last week I picked up a game at GameStop used, because I can’t buy it anywhere new (it came out in 2006). I generally can’t afford to buy a game when it’s $60, but it seems most retailers stop carrying all but the most popular games when the price drops. Heck, if I could have downloaded it through XBLA I would have, but there was only a demo.

    And yes, I looked for it online also – even sites that listed it as “New” in google shoping search were selling a “new” pre-played copy.

    • Lax

      Try looking for torrents

      • Ejigantor

        I’m not interested in modding my console to play pirated games, nor am I interested in engaging in piracy. But thanks anyway

  • Ron

    You people make it seem like Gamestop are the ones making said in game content and distributing it with the games. The publishers make up the content and supply the content to each retailer. Damn, if you are so upset about the Terminus armor existing in ME2, blame EA and Bioware for creating it and giving it to Gamestop. As I will agree that some Gamestop’s are run quite horribly, it’s down right ignorant to assume they are all terrible as they are not. I thought this comic was not very funny, should I just assume they are all crap and give up?

    • Asher

      That is the part that people seem to be missing. game developers are specifically making bonus stuff to help gamestop convince people to pre-order, since it helps to ensure game sales on release day. whether or not said content is “game-breaking” is wholly dependent on the game devs :)

  • Laharl

    I think its hilarious how many people hate gamestop because they try to get you to pre-order stuff I bet most of those people don’t know that each person at each store has a quota that they need or they get into trouble and I also bet that people don’t go to a grocery store and buy a gallon of milk then come back and blame the cashier when they get home and find out the milk they got is bad, GAMESTOP employee’s are GLORIFIED CASHIERS PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don’t ruin their day because you don’t like the company they work for and if they try to get you to pre-order somthing and you know you are going to buy it anyway just use it as lay away I know I have 20 or so things on pre-order because I can’t pay for all of it at one time but I can use it for layaway and sure most of the digital content is crap but I love it when they give out t-shirts or caps or stuff. (like the sonic cap that you get for sonic colors) I mean heck Duelinganalogs asks you to pre-order his stuff and never gets accused of being the gamestapo but you still pre-order his awesome stuff because YOU KNOW YOU WILL BUY IT ANYWAY!!!!

    /rant released.

    • Ron

      It isnt really even a quota as it reflects future business. It actually helps the gaming industry that so many gamers think that Gamestop is ruining because they “shove pre-orders in your face”. Reserves at any store actually tells the developer how many to produce and how many each retailer needs to buy. This is why many retailers have jumped onto the reserving bandwagon as it is an incredibly successful tool to drive sales and manage product. How well a game sells is not based on how many a retailer sells, it is actually based upon how many units the actual publisher sells to the retailers. If none of those titles are reserved, then low sales occurs because they arent going to blindly ship games to random places. This in turn makes the publisher no profit and the gaming industry goes down the drain.
      Reserves are actually a good deterant against publishers flooding the market with crap. We do not need another video game crash like in the 80s.

      You may say, “Man, I sure hate when Gamestop asks me pre-order games all the time though, it gets annoying, Im going to Best Buy.” Best buy is the exact same but instead of reserving, they push product warranties that are over priced and more often than not, never needed. The difference is that BB’s main income is NOT video games. They make 100% profit off of their warranties and they are a necessary business that they need because they sell more electronics than gaming equipment.

      Like, I’ve stated before, many Gamestop’s are poorly run and many of their employees have no idea how the business is even operated. All they know is that they need to ask for this, this and, this without a real reason. Some stores do realize this and it is one of the reasons that makes them successful.

      I hope this helped in some way. Knowing is half the battle.

      • Delta

        It’s an extension of the Wal-Mart business model, where instead of overstocking different locations with things and having them sit there and never sell, they use a giant database to track what sells in what location, and move product around to those regions in which it has a better chance of selling. Gamestop uses pre-orders to effectively order only as much as they need for launch day, and then restock a week or two later for those who didn’t pre-order.

        I’ve worked a holiday at a Gamestop before for a friend that used to manage one, no lie, it is not the dream job thousands of clamoring gamers think it is, which is why a lot of the people who work at them have no idea what they are doing or end up getting fired/quit. Gamestop is a business aimed at selling product, not a place for one to stand around all day and talk about video games with friends. Saw a few kids get burned by that fact during my time there. You don’t need to know jack about games to work there, you just need to be a good salesman and a better manipulator of parents with children.

  • Kit

    When I read this comic on Tuesday, I felt compelled to comment on it. Unfortunately, work got in the way and I was unable to do so. I’m actually glad for the delay because the later comments are actually smart, well thought out rebuttals to this unfair, unfunny comic. I never liked your GeStapo comics, and this is even worse. You make a big point about being “harassed” to pre-order games whenever you go into GameStop. Now that you have stopped shopping there, you attack their TV ads for preorder bonuses.
    Let me just say this: I ALWAYS buy used. I got my 60GB PS3 refurbished from GameStop, and the only times I don’t buy used from GameStop are when Newegg has deep discounts on its new games. I buy used because I cannot justify spending $60 per game just to get it on the first day, especially when there are no reviews out yet and I can’t return new PC and PS3 games for cash back. Ever since I bought a copy of Superman 64 (seriously) as a child, I ALWAYS read reviews before making a purchase; this makes it hard to pre-order games. The gameplay is just as good two months later, sometimes better due to DLC or bug fixes. The only pre-order I’ve ever placed was on Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, because I KNEW I would love it.
    Yes, I know that buying used means less money for the people who actually MAKE the games, but fuck ‘em, I’m a college student with a part-time job; $60 is just too much. However, thanks to GameStop, this habit is starting to change. I am considering preordering Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood specifically because of the GameStop preorder bonus. Furthermore, I talked to the GameStop employees and they explained that GameStop preorders are more flexible than I thought. If the game I preorder gets a terrible Game Informer review, I can transfer the money I’ve put down to any other game at any time.
    As for being “harassed” into preordering, I have NEVER felt pressured into preordering. When I buy my games, the clerk asks “While you’re here, is there anything you’d like to place on preorder today?” I say no, he moves on, I pay, I leave. END OF TRANSACTION! I don’t know where you go to get such terrible service, but you’ve said once before that you live in Hampton Roads. Well, I live in Norfolk Va., and I frequent the GameStop at 742-A W. 21st St. Norfolk, VA 23517 – (757) 625-1247, and I have NEVER had bad service. The clerks are knowledgeable and friendly and I often go in to get their recommendations or to chat about games.
    Finally, I know that their trade-in values are shit. I mean, they are really terrible. That’s why I don’t trade games in. It’s that simple. A GameStop employee must have raped you as a child or something, because there is no other rational explanation for such undirected, unfunny, unjust bile you spew at them. That said, when you’re not bitching, I really love your comic.

    • Ido

      I think we can agree that if you want new games, still in box, Gamestop is awful and might as well have raped everyone… I know it felt like this when I found a copy of a rather rare game but had to see the dude put the disks in the jewel.. A real horror show.

  • Ido

    Gamestop is the worst place to buy games anyways. Come on, taking out the discs out of the box?! Might as well play it with us and give it for free..

    • Ejigantor

      you’re right- they should have all the games in boxes on the shelves. It’s not like anybody would ever take them and run without paying, right?

      Or do you have a different solution for loss prevention? Not “I don’t like the way they do this they shouldn’t do it” how about “They could do this as well” ? Y’know, being constructive?

      • Ido

        Sure I got constructive ideas that shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. Lets just write you one to start off.
        1. Buy one copy of each games for themselves.
        2. Take out the discs/cartridge of those games.
        3. Set up the facing with those open boxes.
        4. When there’s a rotation in newer games, sell those open box games at a USED price.
        5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 as much as necessary.

        That way when I’ll buy an over priced used game I’ll know why. It will be sold as used not as “New” as they currently pretend to do.

  • Matt

    Haha, I never thought about it that way. I generally take the other rout though and buy the game used, beat it (if possible) in a week and then take it back. If I can’t beat it in a week, I take it back and wait a day or so (or go to a different store) and repeat the process. This obviously only applies if you don’t want to keep your game forever and relies on used copies of the game being available.