Recently, I took a stack of games to my local GameStop, hoping to get a new copy of ModNation Racers. I didn’t think that this would be a difficult process. Three GameStop’s later, I gave up on them and traded in my games at an indie video game retailer instead, because they had brand new copies of ModNation Racers in stock. GameStop had copies too, but only gutted ones.
If you’re not familiar with the process behind ‘gutted games’, I’ll explain. I’m not sure what other retailers do this, but GameStop and EBGames are the most common place you’ll see this practice happen. What they will do is open up brand new copies of games and use the cases for display and put the discs away. Once they run out of sealed copies, they will then try to sell you that gutted copy for the same price as a brand new game.
In my eyes, there is all sorts of wrong with this. To me, the word ‘new’ means sealed in the original packaging. I think that the moment GameStop or EBGames takes off the wrap, places a price tag directly on the case and removes the disc, that’s a used copy. They’ll try and tell you that the game is as good as new and try and sell it as new, but there’s a good chance that your gutted copy has already been played by a GameStop or EBGames employee.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my dislike for this practice, as a blog post on Kotaku about gutted copies got over 100,000 views, over 800 comments and it may have gotten them in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. GameStop said they would review this practice, but that was over a year ago and as recently as a few days ago, GameStop still tried to sell me a definitely open/possibly used copy of a game for the same price as a brand new disc.
I wholeheartedly disapprove of anyone selling anything opened and potentially used at the same price as a new version of the same thing. If I’m going to pay the price for a brand new game, I want to get it in brand new condition, not gutted or potentially used. I’m glad that I voted with my wallet and took my business elsewhere.