The rise of digital sales and subscription services has put the future of brick and mortar video game stores such as GameStop into question. The video game retail giant has hit a rough patch as of late, after all. Despite all this, one GameStop executive has come out stating that they’re not concerned by digital’s rapid growth.
Talking to GamesIndustry about the rise of digital sales, GameStop Vice President of merchandising Eric Bright stated “No, it does not concern me.” Instead, Bright explained that the company would simply evolve alongside the new digital subscription services.
GameStop has been the subject of some troubling news as of late. Last June, the company closed down a number of its standalone ThinkGeek stores. More recently, the company’s stock price took a significant plunge.
Despite this, Bright was quick to point out that GameStop is still an industry leader with massive reach. “We’re no more than a skateboard ride away from 80% of the overall population of the United States,” he 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.”
In addition to this, Bright also pointed to the other things that GameStop sells aside from games. He specifically mentioned collectibles that it can sell alongside some of the big games coming in the future. “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,” Bright says.
Being a physical space also has the advantage of being a “community hub” for gamers, according to Bright.
“GameStop’s role in the future is how do we expand to become that centre point for the community where gamers can come and congregate and learn and be educated about all of the items that are out there, and how does GameStop turn that into a revenue stream for us,” he said. “I think you’ll see some big changes in the upcoming future for GameStop that will double down on that very thought.”
As part of this, Bright brought up some avenues that they’re pursuing in relation to this. One of which is a recent deal with Complexity Gaming, an esports team, to create “GameStop Perfomance Centers.” These facilities will allow gamers to learn how to play games competitively from actual esports pros signed with Complexity.
Of course, this and other efforts will require significant investment from GameStop. The company can afford to do this now, thanks to its market position. In light of recent news however, it needs to do so quickly before it starts to lose too much.