GameStop pre-orders are a big mess right now, staff say

A cell phone with "GameStop" on screen, in front of a GameStop background.

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“Is there anything you want to pre-order? ” Almost nobody enters and exits a GameStop without hearing those words. Employees are measured by how many pre-orders they can rack up while GameStop rakes in the cash months before a game’s actual release. But lately the strategy has been sabotaged by a system overhaul, with copies arriving late or not at all, and some employees fear they will be the ones to pay the price.

Over the past few days, the GameStop subreddit has been flooded with current staff complaining about computer problems, ranging from failed inventory searches to pre-order histories that were completely erased before stores received their shipments. “How do I push pre-orders when we can’t get in shit?” bed a position. “Customers are understandably upset and our regulars are even just ordering offline now because we can’t cater to niche needs…”

Three GameStop employees Kotaku spoken with echoing similar questions. They escalate the problem to a SAP software transformation which began to take place during the summer. It was apparently supposed to merge multiple databases including sales, customer service, logistics, etc. GameStop did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Our systems inventories are unreliable at this time,” an employee wrote in an email. “We get shipments from the warehouse that don’t even show up on our receiving lists. So they ask us to open the boxes, record the inventories and email them back to inventory control. It took me most of my day today to process just four boxes this way. »

Which games are the victims of this current pre-order crisis? NBA 2K23one of the biggest sports games of the year, is one. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is another. But some of the hardest hit games are niche titles like Made in Abyss: Falling Binary Stars In darkness, and The Legend of Heroes: The Trails of Zero. They have small but passionate fanbases, and stores often only get a few copies specifically for dedicated gamers who pre-order in advance.

“Pre-orders have been hell lately,” said another employee from another store. “We’ve run out of several copies of NBA 2K and collectible pre-orders never arrive on time. We can only refund pre-order cancellations as store credit if it’s been over a month as well, regardless of whether you paid cash or not.

While staff have to try to explain to frustrated customers why a copy of a game they’ve already spent money on never showed up, back-end issues also seem to be messing up the way stores record the same sales targets employees are measured. “Unfortunately, pre-orders have also become [a] key metric stores are evaluated and when you cancel a preorder it actually puts the stores in a negative state [count]said one employee. Theirs was negative 22. “People actually get in trouble because of it.”

“I had 6 customers who canceled their pre-orders because they didn’t receive theirs,” one person said. job on the subreddit yesterday. “Chief [is] pestering me for pre-orders but I can’t help it [if] people are starting to trust us. What’s the point of pre-ordering a game if you can’t get it anyway. Some stores have been tasked with handling cancellations by offering to re-order the game and have it shipped directly to the customer’s doorstep, an employee said. But they hadn’t heard of any long-term solution beyond that.

The pre-order fiasco couldn’t have come at a worse time either. September is the start of the busy holiday game release schedule, and while 2022 is more sparse than previous years, GameStop needs all the help it can get. The meme stock took a brutal roller coaster ride since splitting in Julyand it is unclear how much high-profile publicity pivot to NFTs and crypto will actually benefit the business.

More importantly, it is another burden carried by exhausted staff who work more for less. GameStop recently announced hefty stock premiums for store managers who don’t start acquiring until next year, and meager increases of $0.50 for everyone else. At the same time, however, the company has tightened the screws, forcing managers to cover multiple stores, while others effectively do the job of an assistant store manager for no extra pay.

“I actually told my manager the other day that I was going to quit right before he took over his second store because without our assistant manager I’m pretty much going to have to work as an assistant manager with no pay and with stress.” said a current employee. “I don’t even have a new job planned yet, I just don’t want to deal with it.”