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GameStop seems to have more than a few plans to survive the digital transition, as recent interview with gamesindustry.biz has revealed including following the model of GAME’s Belong Gaming Arenas.

“No, it does not concern me,” insists GameStop’s VP of merchandising Eric Bright, when questioned regarding the digitization of the gaming industry. “GameStop is focused on games and gaming culture overall. Any way that we can look at monetising overall digital sales, we will.”

Statistically, the gaming giant really does appear to have nothing to worry about, as Bright reiterated:

“You can be assured of that given the fact that we have 65 million members in PowerUp Rewards, we’re no more than a skateboard ride away from 80 per cent of the overall population of the United States, and we have 45,000 of the most knowledgeable game associates, which are basically the distributed sales force for the entire industry, working for us.”

with regards to the boom in digital sales, we are reminded that the retailer can, and does sell digital copies, and the retailer also plans to continue this adaption alongside the boom in subscription models:

“Much like we were able to sell digital and are able to sell digital codes in every single GameStop store and online today, as new subscription models come out and evolve, GameStop will evolve right along with it.”

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Alongside the digital codes available from the retailer, it’s those items that cannot be digitised that really help to maintain GameStop’s relevance. “The other items, the collectibles, add-on sales to all the great IPs that we just talked about, Cyberpunk, Star Wars, Pokémon or Zelda, we will certainly double down on and be able to drive that attachment.” 

While collectibles and merchandise will always be a big seller for the retailer, even with the rise of Amazon and company-specific online stores, it seems that there are bigger goals in mind, with Bright stating that “part of the future for us overall is the value in GameStop being the only gaming specialist store in the world in which it’s really a community hub for gamers.”

GAME in the UK has been running its Belong Gaming Arenas for a few years now, running esports events between the stores and allowing players to rent a space with a high end PC and play whatever game takes their fancy. GameStop’s scheme is the performance center, which Bright describes as “a hub for esports players to come in, talk about all of the games and gameplay and we can take that content and then stream it into any store.”

This is intended to enhance the experience as “Now instead of just going in and purchasing Overwatch, gamers can come on a given day and be taught how to play Overwatch by some of the top people in the world.” It’s certainly a novel idea, and one that could well see a host of use over time.

So what do you think? can GameStop really maintain relevancy? And are the company right to be so confident? Let us know in the comments below!

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