Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stores Overpricing Games and Taking Advantage of Non Gamers

Whenever you go into a store, and walk into the game section, you never know what you're going to see. Different stores carry different titles, and often one store will have something you have never heard of before simply because others don't carry it. Well, this can sometimes be a good thing, or it can be a bad thing. When it comes down to it, a lot of stores actually inflate the prices of such games, and unless you've done your research you may get taken advantage of. This happens with well known titles as well, but this is usually to a lesser extent. Today, however, I came across a flat out rip off, I'm sure a lot of people will fall for.

Earlier today I went to my local GameStop to preorder Destiny, as well as Lightning Returns, and on my way home I decided to swing by my local Walmart. Although I was in the store to pick up some food for the coming week, I decided to swing by the electronic section just to see what they had in stock. At times Walmart actually has great deals on games (possibly due to employee's lack of knowledge), so I always take the time to look at what they have. (Just last week I was able to snag a Game of the Year copy of Dishonored for cheap.) Well, I was able to pick up a copy of PlayStation All-Stars at a great price, but just looking around at the other games on the shelf; it became clear just how many games were actually rip offs. Games with inflated prices which non gamers, and possibly gamers, alike may fall for and buy. One such game was White Knight Chronicles.

White Knight Chronicles originally came out back in 2010 in the west, and it was one of the PlayStation 3 exclusive RPGs that made owning the console worth it for many fans. It had a gameplay style very similar to games such as Final Fantasy XII, and it also had a massive online mode a lot of fans compared to .hack and Monster Hunter (due to its online, and boss fighting nature). The game did well enough in both Japan and the west to receive a sequel, but it's sequel wasn't quite like others. When White Knight Chronicles II was released, it included a completely reworked White Knight Chronicles built into the disc, which ran off of the new engine created for White Knight Chronicles II. It's battle system was improved, new sub events were added to the game, and its online community was integrated in with that of WKC II. While players who already played the original game could transfer their save file and jump right into the sequel, new comers could experience the entire game from the beginning. This was in 2011.

Although White Knight Chronicles II was in fact the better version of the game, it is still an older game. Since coming out almost three years ago, WKC II has greatly decreased in price at many major retailers, with the original White Knight Chronicles being worth next to nothing. No one has a reason to buy the game since the sequel included an improved version of it, and because of that it has mostly vanished from store shelves nation wide. That is, until I saw it today.

As of right now, my local Walmart has the game on sale for $59.99; full price as it was when it came out back in 2010. Despite other newer games sitting next to it on the shelf being $30 or less, for some reason the store feels that their remaining stock should be worth what it was four years ago. Although a lot of gamers may pick up on this right away, and avoid buying the game, many people who have never heard of it wouldn't think twice about spending the price. If a parent was looking for a gift to give their kid, or if a lesser informed gamer came along and saw it, they may buy it and lose $50.

Now this is just one example of some of the things larger chains get away with. Back when Fallout 3 was all the rage, stores used to sell expansion packs for anyone who didn't have internet access. The expansion packs would typically sit next to the game they were for, but when Game of the Year editions came out, stores started getting crafty. You would see games such as Fallout 3 sitting on the shelf for $40, with three or four expansion packs around it (all $20 each), and then you'd find the Game of the Year edition, which included all of the DLC, as far away from it as possible. People who didn't see it, or those who were less informed, would then buy the base game, and spend the extra cash on the add ons simply because they didn't know better. They would lose a lot of money in the process, and there is nothing they could do to get it back.

Although you may not realize it, this sort of thing happens all the time. Major stores will still sell games like Metroid: Other M for $49.99, while GameStop will sell it for $7.99, and no one will think twice about checking the prices elsewhere. They will look at the game, assume that's just how much it should be, and buy it. I've personally seen it happen many times, and it is a trend that will continue. Once I watched a kid beg for a game, only to be turned down because his parents thought it was too high. It was one of the Forza games for the Xbox 360, and for whatever reason the store had the $79.99 limited edition game in front of the cheaper $30 version. The game had been out for some time, but the store wanted to do whatever it could to get rid of that limited edition. Even if it meant losing a sale. Really, it's sad, but people do get taken advantage of, even when it comes to something as simple as buying games.