August 14, 2013

The Sad Case of Xenoblade in the US

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 9:12 pm by riulyn

So, supposedly used copies of Xenoblade Chronicles go for $90+ in the U.S. There is speculation that Gamestop is possibly opening up new copies of the game (reprints or possibly held-back stock) and selling them as used because they don’t feel like they can sell new copies above MSRP but used game prices go by the marketplace. Well, Gamestop’s idea of the marketplace since I’ve always found Gamestop’s used prices to be on the high side, though in this case it doesn’t seem to be that way.

This is a situation that only happens when a game is sold as an exclusive. As an exclusive, Gamestop can do whatever it wants with the game. Maybe another retailer would have been “nice” and lowered the price of the game because of new inventory. However there’s no driving force to lower the price back to MSRP, if no other large distributor can flood the market with copies at a lower price.

Xenoblade’s price hike and rare status approximately 8 months after release is actually pretty similar to what happened to Radiant Historia. Radiant Historia didn’t have a huge initial print run. By the time I had heard of the game, the game was selling used at $80+. I wanted to buy the game but I was not willing to put that much money towards something I had seen a LP of but did not love to death (it was no Suikoden II to me).

Radiant Historia was published by Atlus and was sold to all different retailers. Early 2012, Atlus did a reprint. Prices fell back down to $32 for a new game. Why? It is possible that the reprint really increased the numbers in circulation. I don’t know how many new copies were made in the second run. I think, more importantly, the game was sold to any game store. I picked mine up at a convention because I was too excited about seeing the reprint, but the store at the convention was only $0.50 more than Amazon at that time. So it was no loss for me, really.

While Xenoblade was certainly more popular than The Last Story, the reason why The Last Story has not skyrocketed in price is because a reprint was done earlier and XSEED sold it to everyone willing to stock it. XSEED and Atlus seem cool enough to reprint games that start getting pricey. Maybe they realize that doing that gives them more money.

Nintendo must have had no faith in Xenoblade, while Gamestop saw a lot of potential in the game. Maybe they didn’t see enough people order directly from their website (I believe that was an option back in April 2012) and ignored what was going on with Xenoblade ever since then. Who knows for sure? Maybe Nintendo’s “no comment” is to try to keep peace with Gamestop, but you’d think they’d have to be kicking themselves at the moment realizing all the money that could have been theirs going to Gamestop or random people on Ebay. Especially with how they’ve actually done promotion of “X”. You’d think they would want lots of people to play Xenoblade to build a larger X-fanbase.

Ah well. It’s a pity that XSEED, Atlus, etc. didn’t get to distribute Xenoblade. At least I got the game early (I did not preorder but decided 2 weeks later I really needed the game). Sometimes early investments do pay off.