A couple of months back I wrote an article on art imitating life. About how video games incentivised us with offerings of points in return for doing certain tasks.
It seems now that life is imitating art imitating life. EB Games Australia has introduced EB World and with it, an EB World loyalty card program. Spend money instore and receive points, or in their case, “carrots”, so named after their new online and customer based mascot “Bucks” the bunny.
EB are billing it as an easy way to have receipt free purchases and offer rewards for reaching point levels. They go so far as to “award” you a new card when you “level up”. I happened upon a new EB Games at our local shopping centre on their opening weekend. Not only was I greeted with a large sale but also this new loyalty reward program. And like Call of Duty, they were offering me free points, almost guaranteeing my levelling up within the first hours of holding membership, if I signed up today.
Like the sucker I am I joined up, only caring that it was free and that there was a levelling up system. Points were king. I throughout the conventional wisdom that was “its only points, what are you going to do with them?”. I was once again head over heels for scoring points for nothing.
Upon further investigation of the program, I learnt that the only real benefit that was to be gained by levelling up was offers on pre-owned games. Bonus credit for your trade in, or a voucher for your next pre-owned purchase. All of a sudden it stank of raw profiteering. Now, don’t get me wrong, game stores are game stores and everyone is entitled to trade in and buy pre-owned. I’ve bought several pre-owned titles either because I couldn’t find it anywhere else or because it was much cheaper. But I was expecting that a rewards program would offer you something in the way of new game early access or some sort of a discount. I would have been far more impressed with a service that offered you a 10% discount store wide for reaching level 2. Or buy one get one free when you reach level 3.
I might be going a bit over the top. There are definitely benefits to being a member. But seeing the majority of their key sales pitches for EB World being aimed at the pre-owned market (like offering double to points you earn if you buy a pre-owned game) only serve to highlight the business’ desire to bring in the money with less focus on the games developers themselves (this of course is assuming that there is no “deal” struck between Gamestop and major developers/publishers).
But ultimately, I’ll buy products from them (to level up, naturally) and see what the perks genuinely get you.
Strap yourselves in, theres a special at EB Games, buy 2 pre-owned games get 1500 points. I can hear the Call of Duty guitar riff now…