Is GameStop getting out of the video game business? While not that extreme, as according to IGN they are shutting down 120 of their stores and focusing more on the mobile side of their business, while expanding several brands that are more ancillary with video games as part of their “GameStop 3.0″ plan, according to CEO Paul Raines.
For those hoping this is a sign of GameStop’s impending doom, 120 stores is a pretty small percentage of the over 6,500 they have in all, and they are still doing a very healthy business. This seems that (unlike companies like say Blockbuster and Circuit City) they are making maneuvers that will keep them in business in the long run through alternate business chains like Simply Mac, which offers Apple products in smaller cities that Apple generally won’t bother with — and Apple even helps with the expense of setting up the stores.
Of course for many, GameStop is a source of vile hatred with their pre-owned stock that gives nothing back to the publishers and developers who made the game, and their pushing of pre-orders and warranties (and crushing small mom and pop gaming stores which barely exist these days). There’s a pretty clear hope among those people that things like games being available digitally would kill GameStop.
Personally, I don’t have a huge issue with GameStop. I rarely buy used games unless it’s something that’s neither available new or digitally, but I do appreciate being able to trade games in to buy new ones as we can all attest gaming is a fairly expensive hobby. I also like pre-ordering. It shows support for games and game companies, and for better or worse, pre-order numbers and the first several weeks are pretty much what counts for a game. It’s why Ubisoft can say games like Rayman and Tomb Raider are failures based on their first month or so of sales only to turn around months later and say they actually ended up making money on them.
Will GameStop eventually go away or at least be something wholly unrecognizable to what it is today? Probably, but that’s a long way off, especially with companies like Sony straight out saying most gamers still prefer physical media.
What do you think GameSided readers? Love GameStop? Or is it a necessary evil that you can’t wait to see go down in flames? Let us know in the comments!