In over 5,000 of GameStop's retail stores all over the world, the video game retail company will now be swapping digital download codes for games that are included in console bundles with physical copies of the titles.

GameStop's new policy started last month, when the company negotiated with Sony, Microsoft and Electronic Arts to include a physical copy of Madden NFL 16 in bundles that includes a digital copy of the game together with the gaming console. GameStop's offer of the bundle, however, lacks the free subscription for 12 months to EA Access, which provides gamers with legacy video game title downloads for free.

GameStop's COO Tony Bartel said that the decision to include physical copies of games in console bundles is not a one-time thing with the Madden NFL 16 bundle. This would mean that the current and future console bundles—which include download codes for digital copies of games—will be featuring physical discs instead when purchased from the video game retail company.

Paul Raines, CEO of GameStop, disclosed that consumers strongly prefer physical copies of games because GameStop customers see the value in physical copies that can be tapped with the trade-in program of the company.

"Obviously, GameStop's preference is, we sell things at full price and provide great value through our trade program and that we have physical discs," said Bartel in the earnings call, bringing to light the real reason why the company is pulling out the digital download codes for physical copies of video games.

GameStop's trade-in program is responsible for a third of the company's revenue and 45 percent of GameStop's gross profit. The program, which has been maligned by many sectors of the video game industry, will become obsolete if gamers completely move toward acquiring titles through digital download codes as opposed to physical copies of video games.

GameStop's veiled move to keep its trade-in program going seems to be a desperate attempt at holding back the ongoing transition to digital download. The movement was initiated on PC games, and it is now taking over gaming consoles as well.

Still, physical copies of video games are favored by gamers who do not have access to high-speed Internet, especially with titles now coming at an average of 30GB each. In that sense, physical copies coming with console bundles will allow the customer to play with their gaming console right away as opposed to having to wait hours for downloads to complete.

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