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Amazon starts requiring Prime membership to buy high-profile video games

Amazon’s Prime membership has always come with a number of perks that non-Prime shoppers can view as “nice to haves.” They are typically perks you can do without, but that looks set to change as Amazon has decided to start blocking access to specific products if you don’t subscribe.

Video games seem to be the first product line to incur this restriction. If you want to purchase GTA V, Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Far Cry Primal, or Battlefield Hardline directly from Amazon, you can only do so with a Prime membership. Everyone else sees purchase options limited to third-party sellers.

Right now, I can only see the restriction on Amazon’s UK site, not the US site. And sure enough, if I logout of my Amazon UK account and search for GTA V, I am only offered third-party sellers as purchase options. Amazon is listed, but instead of an “Add to Basket” button I see a “Join Prime” button like this:

Amazon still makes it clear they have stock of the item, they just refuse to sell it to me without my Prime membership be confirmed first.

Why would Amazon choose to do this? I understand they want and need to push Prime subscriptions as hard as possible, but blocking sales seems like a step too far. The fact it hasn’t been formally announced suggests it is a work-in-progress feature. Maybe Amazon is going to start offering a lower price on specific items if you are a Prime member? That would make blocking the sale have a legitimate meaning at least.

Amazon has yet to comment on this new feature. It’s certainly a different idea to push for more Prime memberships, but I don’t think Amazon has really thought this through properly. They are ultimately stopping customers spending money on their site.

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