Specialist video game retailer GameStop reports that it has seen a big drop in both new and used game sales over the 2012 Christmas period and that an increase in digital content delivered to players has failed to make up for it.New software sales were down by 5 percent when compared to the same period in 2011, which was not a surprise given the overall decline of the game industry.
The big problem is that used game sales were down even more, by 16 percent, seriously cutting into the overall profit margin for GameStop.
The trend could be linked to the pre-order and exclusive incentives that video game developers and publishers have begun to associate with their titles in order to promote new sales.
But it could also be a direct result of the limited spending power of gamers, who have preferred to pick up a new highly awaited game, like Halo 4 or Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, rather than spreading their money around on more than one used game.
GameStop also says that it had access to a limited inventory and that it hosted less promotional events during the 2012 holiday period.
Digital revenue for the retail chain went up by 40 percent during the same period and mobile-oriented sales brought 77 million dollars (58.8 million Euro) in revenue.
New game hardware sales also went down by 2.7 percent when compared to 2011, with the new Wii U home consoles from Nintendo managing to move just 320,000 units during the holiday period.
Recently, a patent for Sony for a Near Field Communication solution that would eliminate the used game market was revealed.
If such a solution were part of the new generation of gaming hardware, GameStop would be badly affected because of its reliance on the second-hand market.