Gamestop and the Classics

Despite the title, this blog post is another update on the (awesome) shenanigans going on with Atlus USA. About two or so weeks ago, Atlus quietly reprinted some copies of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. It was so quiet that not even Atlus employees that often float around the Internet knew the details. The only reliable retailer that seemed to have it was Play Asia, but now we know quite differently. Turns out that a reprint was done for both Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga, and according to some Gamestop employees, almost every store was getting one copy of each game, brand new but labeled (and stickered) as used. Naturally this caused much rejoicing among the Atlus Faithful, and both games as well as Persona 3 FES are the top selling PS2 games on the ‘Spot’s website.

Initially, there seemed to be nothing bad at all about this news. I broke the bank to get my own copy of Nocturne, and since Devil Summoner and DDS2 are common enough to find, this is a chance for people to obtain every PS2 SMT with relative ease. However, on a random visit to the Atlus forums, I found some users with an interesting, though not completely validated complaint. According to them, when Gamestop initially got their reprints in, they were being sold for $60 a pop, later dropping them to $40 (in order to compete with Play Asia, at least according to these users). While $60 is still a savings over the Ebay price for Nocturne, it also seems rather greedy, especially when the games look used at first glance.

So is this story true? As odd as it seems that Gamestop would worry about Play Asia, I have no reason to believe these forumites were lying. I have seen past instances of Gamestop hiking the price of rare, highly coveted games; for instance, at certain points in time I have seen both Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics for $60, and Katamri Damacy stopped being $20 a while ago. What made this bothersome to me was that in all these instances one could find a new copy for less on the web. This time around, the price discrepancy has been removed, but a little too late for some.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. As a business, I cannot blame a store for cashing in on people who didn’t jump on an Atlus game when it was released. On the other hand, both the original $60 price as well as the copies masquerading as used means that Gamestop’s handling of these reprints has been messy. You would think that after buying up that much stock in some niche jRPGs, the company would take some care to make sure they are all sold – the demand is certainly there, but keep in mind that the crowd who buys SMT games aren’t the friendliest towards brick and mortar retail.

Ultimately, there are more copies of Nocturne in the world, and that is the best thing of all. I also want to point out that our magnificent editor/site master bought the game for $95 on ebay not long ago, but he got the OST that came with the first print. On behalf of Jay, I give you all a giant middle finger and the smirk of a completionist.

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