Waiting it out - When do price drops happen on new and used games?
Price drops are not done by stores at all. Certain DEALS might be, but prices are usually dictated by distributors who in turn are told directly by the company what price to sell games at.
Why the hell are most stores still selling Skyrim at $59.99?!
Simply put, if we (I work at a gaming store) drop the price, we will lose money on each game sold. I'm going to be quite frank with you all. The markup at retail for new games is small. On average, we buy new games (lets say the standard 59.99 titles) for around 52 dollars. That is an average markup of 8 dollars, plus whatever taxes you have in your area of the world (many of which end up somehow going away from the business and back to the government, so yeah).
We have no real way of dropping prices unless we are told by our distributors that we can. Some big box stores can eat a potential loss to get people into the store. Thus you'll see during Boxing Week sales game prices drop a large amount. I believe some places were selling Skyrim new at 40 bucks. They take a loss on each game sold, to try to get you into their store to buy more and keep you away from other stores.
We just had price drops TODAY, and the drops ranged greatly. Lego Lord of the Rings (fairly recent release) found itself 10 dollars less to pick up. No drop on Skyrim though. Lollipop Chainsaw went down to a bargain bin 20 dollars, as did i. I recall less than 3 months after release, The Darkness 2 went from a standard 60 bucks to 40 bucks. Not a bad title, just saw a quick price drop. Usually if a game gets a quick price drop, it is due to bad ratings (I'm looking at you, 20 dollar Medal of Honor: Warfighter!)
So, how can you tell if something will get a price drop? The short answer is it is almost impossible. Often times we are confused and uncertain as to why games get price drops while others do not. Our stores were selling more used copies of Black Ops than Modern Warfare 3, but it didn't get much of a price drop at all (we still are told to sell it new at 49.99, but nobody wants it for that). The best way to know is to check out the national sales and see how they are doing. If they appear to be rather poor, way down from previous weeks or months, that might be an indicator.
Skyrim still sells amazing well, as there are not a lot of used copies available (most people keep their copy). If you get to know your LOCAL game store well, ask them if they have an inkling. Often times we will be asked to give our distributor a price protection number about a week before a price change (basically, if we have 20 copies of a game that will go down in price, we get that money off on another purchase. That way we aren't stuck with 20 copies of game we spent 52 dollars on, selling them for a new 30 dollar price).
I will leave you with an interesting anecdote. I know a gentleman who basically plays all games a year behind. So, last week he walked into the store with a list of games, all of which were releases from January 2012. This included the Silent Hill Collection (now 10 bucks less than release), Soul Calibur V (now 30 dollars less), and Final Fantasy 13-2. (now 20 dollars less). That is brand new... Now take into account we had used copies of each, the guy saved about 90 dollars from buying brand new to buying used 1 year later.
At first I thought the guy was crazy. But really, what are you missing? You still play the best games, just for a lot less. Maybe the multiplayer won't be as robust, but otherwise? He gets usually a bug free experience for WAY less money. Sounds like a smart idea to me.
Thanks for reading,
Jeff AKA Snoopy