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BestBuy puts newest holiday console (sales) behind $200 tech-support membership paywall

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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According to this, you now need to pay $200/yr for BestBuy's tech-support program, just for the chance to purchase a new console.

Is this "marketing genius" or "criminal mobster behavior"?
 

UsandThem

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I read they recently did the same thing with GPUs as well.

My guess is moves like this will backfire on them once supplies improve. Although I guess for now, people who really "have" to buy a console will simply accept this additional charge, however I wouldn't be one of them who would. Just like Newegg price gouging/forced bundling of their GPUs, moves like this don't leave a positive view in my mind.

This is the first year since I began ordering from stuff from Newegg in 2001 that I didn't order anything from them. In fact, I unsubscribed from their promotional emails around 18 months ago or so.

While I haven't ordered many computer parts as I have in past years, what I did order came from other retailers (despite Newegg being a few bucks cheaper a few times).
 
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VirtualLarry

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I read they recently did the same thing with GPUs as well.
I read that too. Which is interesting, since I bought an RTX 3060 recent that I will have to pick up. I wonder if they will tell me that I need to pay them $200 in order to pick it up. I don't recall any other $200 line-item on the order.

Edit: I cancelled. Don't want to deal with the hassle.
 
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UsandThem

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My guess would be since you were able to buy it without being in their $200 "Totaltech" [redacted] program, you should be good to go.

I'm just not a fan of this sort of tactic at all. :oops:

Seriously, if I went to buy any kind of product, and they told me I had to pay an extra $200 for that luxury, I'd tell them to go pound sand.
 

UsandThem

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If you can't increase supply, lower demand.
But the people who really, really want a console/GPU, or people who are going to flip it on Ebay/other selling avenues for a healthy profit, it's not going to really lower demand.

Best Buy simply wants to get another $200 profit instead of letting flippers have it.
 

crashtech

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But the people who really, really want a console/GPU, or people who are going to flip it on Ebay/other selling avenues for a healthy profit, it's not going to really lower demand.

Best Buy simply wants to get another $200 profit instead of letting flippers have it.
I am not sure I agree with you analysis 100%, but I suppose it's reasonable to presume that some money will be shifted away from scalpers and towards Best Buy. I do think it's also reasonable to presume that this move might make more consoles available to Best Buy customers directly if they are willing to pay the naked cash grab of $200. Makes one wonder if simply tacking on $200 to the MSRP would generate as much discontent.
 

UsandThem

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Makes one wonder if simply tacking on $200 to the MSRP would generate as much discontent.
I'm not sure how it would play out with the majority of buyers.

All I know is I'm personally not willing to pay extra for consoles or GPUs (or any component for that matter). This whole mess over the last two years has turned my interests/hobbies into other non-tech areas.
 
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crashtech

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I'm not sure how it would play out with the majority of buyers.

All I know is I'm personally not willing to pay extra for consoles or GPUs (or any component for that matter). This whole mess over the last two years has turned my interests/hobbies into other non-tech areas.
I certainly understand the sentiment. I still buy hardware occasionally for DC, but at a much curtailed rate, and more often used than new at this time. The only things I've bought new at or near MSRP since fall of '20 have been a couple of 5950X's.
 

UsandThem

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I certainly understand the sentiment. I still buy hardware occasionally for DC, but at a much curtailed rate, and more often used than new at this time. The only things I've bought new at or near MSRP since fall of '20 have been a couple of 5950X's.
We all have things that are worth it to us. I mean I totally understand some people see some of the toys/statues I buy, and think "No way in hell I'd pay that for a freaking toy!".

But when I see a RTX 3090 listed in the FS/FT area for $2900, I'm like:

American Dad Nope.gif

:p
 

SteveGrabowski

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Oct 20, 2014
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This program is total garbage. $200 a year so you can have up to a two year warranty (if you buy that second year) and 24/7 geek squad tech support, no thanks. Not after some of the terrible reviews I have read about Best Buy's extended warranties and the only tech support I have ever used in years is complaining to Spectrum that their internet is down again.

If you're ok paying more to get a PS5 or Series X just buy the $15 yearly membership at Gamestop and then you get first crack at their console bundles and instead of setting $200 on fire with Best Buy you'll at least get games, extra controller, giftcards, etc in the bundles. Thankfully their PS5 and Series X bundles aren't like their Switch bundles in 2017 where you had to buy a crapload of overpriced figurines, these actually come with useful things. Only terrible thing I have seen Gamestop throw into a PS5 bundle is the awful Marvel Avengers game.
 
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crashtech

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Obviously it's garbage. But if you sell out of a product no matter how outrageous the markup/program, the temptation to maximize profit is pretty great. We can say avoid Best Buy all day long, but it's a good bet they'll still sell every unit they get their greasy paws on. The market is insane.
 
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SteveGrabowski

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Obviously it's garbage. But if you sell out of a product no matter how outrageous the markup/program, the temptation to maximize profit is pretty great. We can say avoid Best Buy all day long, but it's a good bet they'll still sell every unit they get their greasy paws on. The market is insane.
Gamestop's deal is way better. I don't see too many people looking to get PS5 online saying they're going to buy into this while a lot of people looking for PS5 have gone the Gamestop route. I hope Sony cuts down their shipments to Best Buy if Best Buy wants to become the scalper and break the $399 / $499 MSRP. The Gamestop membership also gives you a $5 off coupon every month, though non-stackable.
 

crashtech

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Bullish on Gamestop seems a prudent position. I'm not here to defend Best Buy at all. If I was a console gamer, I'd be all about Gamestop for sure. All that said, I am not going to dog on any company or individual who gets as much money for a luxury product as the market will allow. It's not worth any outrage, imo. Let's wait till they try this with bread or rice, then being pissed off will be amply justified.
 

shortylickens

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Jul 15, 2003
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Stores make almost no money on consoles. For the sake of staying in business I totally understand charging extra for tech support.
 

Aikouka

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Nov 27, 2001
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But.... FORCING the customer to purchase tech-support, before allowing a console purchase.
There was a (regional?) manager in the Ars comments about this story that mentioned that not all drops will be put behind the paywall.

I think the problem is that if you look at this as having to spend $200 to buy a console, it's going to look bad... real bad. What Best Buy most likely wants is for you to see this for all of the value. For example, you no longer have employees hassling you to buy warranties because they come on all products for free! :p (Although, I think "Best Buy Protection" is technically different from the warranties, but I'm not 100% sure.)

Ultimately, I don't think Best Buy's intention (or rather, their end goal) here is to skim off the top of console sales. Given the nature of the Total Tech program, I think they're trying to push people to shop at the store more often. Essentially, it's the idea that you've "invested" into shopping at Best Buy because you've paid for a program with a bunch of perks. So, to get the most out of it, you'll shop their more. However, now they have to worry about the potential problem of turning people away due to what appears to be some hefty greed.
 

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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Ultimately, I don't think Best Buy's intention (or rather, their end goal) here is to skim off the top of console sales. Given the nature of the Total Tech program, I think they're trying to push people to shop at the store more often. Essentially, it's the idea that you've "invested" into shopping at Best Buy because you've paid for a program with a bunch of perks. So, to get the most out of it, you'll shop their more. However, now they have to worry about the potential problem of turning people away due to what appears to be some hefty greed.
BestBuy's attempt at emulating Amazon Prime? They already have their (tiered) member rewards program(s).

I guess I just don't see the point, except for driving up subscriptions to their "total tech" program.
 

balloonshark

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Jun 5, 2008
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Newegg had one of these in their shuffle today. They make you buy a combo where you had to also pay for headphones, extra controller, MS Flight Simulator, and something else I think. It came to around $750 if I remember correctly. At least this combo might be of use to a console user.
 

crashtech

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Jan 4, 2013
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The Shuffle has the same crap attached to the scarce items over and over, I have to believe it's items that they have too much of and can't get rid of any other way. But at least you get something, I suppose. But I find being coerced to purchase products I don't want and would never buy (since there is way better stuff in those categories) almost as irritating as a large naked markup.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
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BestBuy's attempt at emulating Amazon Prime? They already have their (tiered) member rewards program(s).

I guess I just don't see the point, except for driving up subscriptions to their "total tech" program.
Their tiered program is kind of weird and does overlap the Total Tech program a bit. For example, I'm a My Best Buy Elite Plus member, which means I get free two-day shipping. That is also a perk of the Total Tech program. At first, I wondered why there wasn't any sort of discount for a high-tiered My Best Buy member buying into Total Tech, but the problem is that they're just a bit too different in their setup. My Best Buy is based on the calendar year (and the total amount spent) where Total Tech is just a subscription. The issue being that there is no guarantee that I will always be an Elite Plus member, which means I may not always have the overlap to warrant a discount.

But as you mention, I do think they want to drive up subscriptions to the Total Tech program. Services and subscriptions are all the rage these days, because sort of like a buffet model, you make your money off those that don't use it enough to warrant the cost compared to those that do. (Even with free, included warranties, there's no guarantee that you'll actually use it.) Also, as I mentioned, if I had a choice to buy an Apple device from the Apple Store or Best Buy, I'm going to go with the latter if I have Total Tech, because I get free AppleCare. (Depending on the device, that can be a $100+ value!)
 

LikeLinus

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Jul 25, 2001
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The Shuffle has the same crap attached to the scarce items over and over, I have to believe it's items that they have too much of and can't get rid of any other way. But at least you get something, I suppose. But I find being coerced to purchase products I don't want and would never buy (since there is way better stuff in those categories) almost as irritating as a large naked markup.
They do indeed. I always see the same ASUS monitor they are trying to tack on with the card and sell as a bundle. It's been months, lol.
 
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JPB

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Jul 4, 2005
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Quite honestly in my opinion, I think this should be done with "all" new consoles upon release. I actually spoke to a person not long ago, here on the boards that buys several and makes profit. But yet that person posts about this being a bad idea. Of course that person would think that. I have never purchased anything from Bestbuy...and I am 45 with several in the area. And never will. Screw Bestbuy.
 
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