J. Paul Raines believes that platform holders could have cut GameStop out of the loop long ago, but have hesitated due to the relationship they have built up with their customers over the years.
Publishers have been fighting a war against used game sales forever. This confuses some consumers as the largest seller of used games is GameStop, a retailer publishers continue give exclusive content and deals to. GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines told Vox Games that it isn’t in a publisher’s best interests to shut out the retailer.
“Platform owners could have cut us off a long time ago, but what happens is that GameStop has a relationship with the customer deep and sticky enough that it isn’t in their best interests to do so,” said Raines.
Currently, GameStop offers numerous ways to access digital content: streaming PC and console games with Spawn Labs, Flash-based browser titles with Kongregate, and PC digital download with Impulse. While GameStop is keen on keeping up with digital content sales, Raines believes that platform holders can’t completely move away from the retailer without losing customers.
“Everyone thinks consumers are binary, all physical or all digital, but most are hybrids,” he said. “You can’t be in the business of trying to protect yourself only through technology, you’ve got to make less friction for the consumer.”