Resident Evil 4 Remake is just a couple weeks away, and while many players will buy the game digitally, the most hardcore fans have probably reserved their $250 collector’s editions that come complete with a statue of Leon holding a shotgun and looking tired as hell. The collector’s editions were GameStop exclusives, however, and on Tuesday the company announced all in-store pre-orders had been canceled. Now employees are as exhausted as Leon at the prospect of having to call their most loyal customers and deliver the bad news.
“If you pre-ordered Resident Evil 4 Collector’s Edition IN-STORE at GameStop - they just issued a memo stating the CE won’t arrive in stores and will not be fulfilled/arriving,” pre-order king Wario64 posted on Twitter last night. “Does not mention anything about online orders, so I assume online orders are not affected.”
The news was confirmed over on the GameStop subreddit where employees proceeded to melt down over the latest low-key fiasco at the meme stock company. It’s not clear why GameStop canceled the in-store pre-orders–whether because of insufficient stock or software issues on the backend–but it won’t matter to fans who thought they already had the hard-to-find collectors editions on lock.
“One of the preorders is for my regulars who are huge resident evil fans and they got fucked over by preorders from the SAP conversion pretty bad,” wrote one apparent employee on the subreddit. “They were hesitant to preorder anything for a while because of it. Now this? Ugh.”
GameStop, which has been battling declining revenues and stretching employees thinner and thinner even as its stock price has soared to historic heights, suffered a major inventory system glitch last fall. As Kotaku reported at the time, a system-wide software conversion completely borked most stores’ pre-order records, leading to tons of cancellations and shipping issues throughout the season.
Major blockbusters were affected like NBA 2K23, but it was even worse for hard copies of niche releases like The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero. Even as most players have switched to buying games digitally, diehard fans and collectors still covet physical copies, especially for more obscure games, beloved indie releases, or limited collector’s editions. It’s a possible sweet spot that GameStop, as the only brick and mortar gaming chain still standing, could cater to. Instead, pre-orders are more unpredictable than ever, and the consequences fall on underpaid and understaffed stores.
“We take hours cuts and now they expect us to make phone calls to people who were super excited about this game–who are 100% going to turn around and be angry or extremely upset over this,” wrote one person on the GameStop subreddit. Wrote another, “it’s like ‘holy crap, are they actively trying to kill the stores?’ Like they push trying to sell preorders and at the same time “oh yeah, if you preorder in store those are the first to get canceled if there’s supply issues.”
Update 3/8/23 8:15 p.m. ET: Some customers pre-ordering the collector’s edition online are now also having their orders canceled. Here’s an email we received earlier this evening:
Update 3/9/23 2:25 p.m. ET: GameStop confirms in an internal email reviewed by Kotaku that a “significant number” of Collector’s Editions pre-orders have been canceled. “We apologize for the impact this has on our Customers and Associates,” it reads.
The email goes on to blames the pre-order debacle on the inventory software conversion from last fall, stating, “This situation was one of the last major issues presented by the SAP implementation last year.”
The email also states that GameStop will be offering customers who lost their pre-orders a $10 discount on standard copies of Resident Evil 4 Remake, though the company hasn’t yet officially confirmed this policy.
Store employees have been dealing with the brunt of customers’ anger and frustration, and at least two reportedly used it as an excuse to quit on the spot and walk out of a store somewhere in Kansas.