Gamestop: Money over Pre-Order Promise?

Gamestop: Money over Pre-Order Promise?

by April 30, 2008

If You Didn’t Pick GTAIV Up at the Chain…You May Not Be Able to

Grand Theft Auto IV is expected to sell like hotcakes.  Most analysts put it far past the blockbuster Halo 3 launch when all the sales figures are tabulated.  So, it may not be surprising that retail chain Gamestop and EB Games are taking drastic steps to capitalize on what will be astounding success.  It’s who they may hurt–those who haven’t had time to stand in long lines and wait for the copy of GTAIV that was supposedly guaranteed to them when they plunked down a deposit for a pre-order–that makes what Kotaku uncovered tonight disturbing.

A purported corporate mandate was forwarded to the site that, in short, explains that, in a sense, “everything must go,” and the floodgates are being opened to sell previously reserved copies of the game to anyone who walks in.  The letter follows.  We’ve bolded the really troubling components of this.

Attention District Managers:
As you are aware, GTA IV is going to be a huge seller for all retailers. We expect that this is going to be advertised in all the major Sunday circulars, and this is going to bring an influx of new customers to all stores.

Hosting midnight events gives us a huge advantage over our competitors ONLY if we commit to taking care of these new customers during this launch. In order to reward you and your stores for committing to selling to walk-in customers, we will be providing a walk-in goal for each store and DM on the regular editions only for GTA IV.

Your walk-in goals are calculated by multiplying your anticipated reservations by your historical Reservation Pick-up % on like titles. This amount is subtracted from your launch allocation to yield the amount of product that you can have set aside for walk-in customers. See below for the walk-in goals that have been set for your market. The number one district manager in each region in actual walk-in sales vs. goal will receive a $500 cash prize. The number one store in each region in walk-in sales vs. goal will be rewarded with a free copy of GTA IV regular edition for every associate on that store team.

Happy Selling!

While the letter doesn’t explicitly state that pre-order customers are in the dark, the employee who wrote to Kotaku said that employees are being told to almost disregard “reservation customers” if they haven’t picked up GTAIV.  That means, if you pre-ordered GTAIV at Gamestop, and haven’t picked up the game yet, your reservation may be for naught.

To our knowledge, this is the first time the chain has ever pulled such a stunt–or that such a stunt was ever exposed.