It doesn’t look like GameStop will be selling consoles bundled with digital games anymore. At least, that’s what GameStop COO Tony Bartel insinuated in a recent earnings call.
In the call, Bartel explained that the retailer worked to get consoles bundled with a physical version of Madden 16, rather than a digital one, and mentioned that future promotions will do this as well.
It is important to note that during the recent release of EA’s Madden 16, we worked with our partners to offer a free physical game with the purchase of either a PS4 or Xbox One and did not carry the Xbox One digital bundle. We expect that if a game is provided as a promotional item in a hardware bundle, GameStop will see more of these physical offers than digital pack-ins on upcoming third-party releases.
When asked to clarify what he meant by his Madden example, Bartel said that GameStop, since it is a retailer of physical games and has a trade-in program, wants to push bundles with discs instead of codes.
I think we articulated in the first quarter that we have made it clear with our publishing partners that our preference is that we sell — obviously, GameStop ‘s preference is — we sell things at full price and provide great value through our trade program and that we have physical discs.
And so we’ve worked with our partners that there’s a channel-wide offer that had, again, a digital pack-in in it of Madden. And we worked with both Sony , Microsoft , and EA, with all three of them, and we offered a free physical disc when you bought either a PS4 or an Xbox One. So that’s clarification that’s baked in. And then I said that if in fact these do continue, the platform holders do continue to put in free games as promotional items, we anticipate that at GameStop you will see more physical bundles from third parties as opposed to digital bundles.
It seems like the push for console bundles with physical games included is to vamp up GameStop’s trade-in program, but let us know your own thoughts on the issue in the comments section below.