Some independent game stores in the US have reported to customers that they will not be able to sell Red Dead Redemption 2 on release day. Instead they’re advising that they won’t have copies of the game available for purchase for up to a week after it launches.
A report from Kotaku has found that a number of smaller game stores will not be receiving copies of Red Dead Redemption 2 until up to a week after October 26th. Among the companies affected is rental service GameFly, who have advised customers that they are very sorry for the delay, but they don’t expect to have copies of the PlayStation 4 version of Red Dead Redemption 2 available for renting until the 7th of November. They told customers that they received this information from their distributor.
Some stores have said that they’ve experienced similar delays for popular titles in the past. However, a number of these independent stores also said that even with big releases they’d never experienced such a delay.
The heart of the issue appears to be Rockstar Games themselves according to Gamesindustry.biz. The site reached out to a number of retailers, large and small, for feedback on the issue. Apparently Rockstar is distributing most copies of Red Dead Redemption 2 to retailers directly, which has led to a delay in many stores receiving copies by up to a week. Only certain distributors with robust, pre-approved marketing plans have been given copies of Red Dead Redemption 2 to distribute among retail customers.
One store in particular has been promoting Red Dead Redemption 2 since it was announced two years ago, and has invested $3300 in advertising themselves as selling it. With around 200 pre-orders for the title but no copies coming into the store until after it launches, the company is debating the option of buying retail copies to sell at a loss in order to meet their customer’s needs.
Retailers have said that situations such as these make customers lose confidence in them, particularly when they can deliver other titles on release day, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. While some believe their consumers will wait for their copies of the game, others are resigned to the fact that most will go to Walmart or Gamestop in order to get a copy in that first week of release.
With streamers and let’s players creating video content of games, making most of the story and other aspects of the game public within the first month of release, it’s critical to get a copy of a game early to avoid spoilers. Many people want to experience a game, and in particular the open world in titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, by themselves for the first time. Part of what makes games such as these great is the emergent gameplay, allowing people to share stories of what they did that are totally different to each other. Without being able to get a copy of the game on time, many people may not even bother buying it at all.