Behind the Online: Previously Enjoyed
Weekly Column by Dave Bonnewell
Editor's Note: This is a weekly column by Staff Writer Dave Bonnewell. The column is called "Behind the Online" and will look at different events from around the world of MMOs. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
Greetings fellow gamers and welcome to what's on my mind lately. The term 'used' is an ugly word in most any context. Used and abused. All used up. Wow! What happened there, huh? She used to be so hawt. It is for this reason that I, always looking on the bright side of life as I am, will henceforth refer to "used" as "previously enjoyed". This phrase, coined by a writer of a newly aired car ad, has a much more politically correct connotation to it, don't you think? Anyway, while there are many instances which contribute to the perpetual cloud hovering dark and abysmal above an otherwise harmless little four letter word, there is at least one perspective wherein being previously enjoyed is very much a beautiful thing. I speak, of course, of previously enjoyed video games. Glorious were the days of buying several top rated and (hopefully) gently previously enjoyed video games for the lowly price of but a single new one. Notice I said, "Glorious were the days...". That is because a terrible thing happened recently. The two undisputable kings of the video game retail realm, Gamestop and EB Games, have merged.
Now, now. Relax folks. This grave news is not the end of the world. One of the seven signs of the apocalypse, perhaps, but certainly not the end all beat all of things. A scant and lucky few will still be able to satiate their staunch desire for economical gaming goodness in a much more limited way via much smaller mom-and-pop run video game boutiques. Yeah, good luck finding one of those precious places. You have about as much of a chance not finding a Starbucks within a one mile radius of wherever you're reading this editorial from. There is actually one other place you'll find previously enjoyed video games, that all-powerful entity destined to one day control our every thought and action known simply as eBay. Sure, that's a fine alternative for those able and allowed to access the vast expanse of the awe-inspiring eBay omniverse. But what about the rest of us and those old fart gaming fanatics like myself who remain wary of online biding and especially online buying? What choice have we now? Where can we, the great forgotten, turn to satisfy our budget-minded collective cravings? Well, with the Gamestop/EB Games merger, the answer is a simple one. Nowhere. I, for one, want to always have the option of physically paying for and then immediately taking home the games I've heard great things about at an equally great price. Moreover, I feel that this ought to be my right as a consumer.
Previously Enjoyed For those of you out there who find yourselves coping with the interminable condition known as money-to-burn-itis, I'd first like to say God bless you, everyone. Secondly, I'd like to point out to you all one other adverse effect associated with the distressing Gamestop/EB Games amalgamation. As a result of this most unholy of unions, there will remain only one major video game store chain and we may no longer be able to play the ground breaking titles. When the "Hot Coffee" scandal broke, EB pulled Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from its shelves. Now, there will be but one corporation deciding what we video games we can and cannot purchase. What if another game with "questionable" material should come along and does not happen to be gifted with the coveted approval of the mammoth corporation that owns Best Buy, Gamestop and now EB Games? This is unfair to gaming enthusiasts nationwide, yet nothing is being done to counter it. Sure, EB CEO Jeffrey Griffiths will have you believe that "[EB] will now be in an even better position to broaden [their] reach and generate further efficiencies for [their] business and [their] customers," but in reality this merger will ultimately result in a nation-wide alienation of a potent customer base who previously enjoyed the option of purchasing quality previously enjoyed video games. Not to mention the lack of sales due to a proportionate lack of word of mouth about would-be played games to friends simply because so fewer previously enjoyed games will be available. Oh, and by the way, prepare yourselves to bid a fond farewell to the video game sales sections of Wal-Mart and Blockbuster Video altogether as Gamestop is now well suited to crush that only genuine competition entirely, wielding a colossal hammer in the form of a whopping twenty-five percent control of the video game retail market.
I'd like to end this rather intense editorial by quoting the pertinent beginning of a classic little Monty Python tune. Sing along if you like. You'll feel better, really. It always works for me.
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle,
Don't grumble, give a whistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And... always look on the bright side of life!"
I'm Dave "Kawika" Bonnewell and that's the way I see it.