GameStop is hitting some hard times.
It sounds like the largest dedicated retailer of video games in North America, GameStop, is seeing some hard times. As CNN Money reports, the company has announced its intention to close almost 200 store locations- which is 2-3% of its total locations.
The news came after GameStop reported that overall sales fell by 13.6% last quarter, compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The core problem here of course is that the company simply isn’t selling enough games, with CEO Paul Raines noting that the latter half of 2016 was especially poor for sales. GameStop also noted that the lack of new hardware launches had hurt business- this, when referring to a quarter that saw the launches of PlayStation 4 Slim, PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation VR, and Xbox One S.
Moreover, the last quarter of 2016 did see some extremely high performing games released to the market, too- while games such as Watch Dogs 2, Dishonored 2, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare may have underperformed, Final Fantasy 15, Battlefield 1, Forza Horizon 3, and especially Pokemon Sun/Moon were all extremely successful- not to mention the continuing success of evergreen games such as Overwatch.
On the whole, it’s hard to tell why GameStop is seeing a slowdown in sales. The rise of digital games is, of course, one major reason, with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all making a push to sell games via their own digital storefronts. It may also be that a specialized games outlet is simply ill equipped to take on outlets such as Best Buy and Amazon, that also sell games, and are better financed.
With this first quarter of this year having seen a number of high profile launches – Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nioh, Resident Evil 7, For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Mass Effect Andromeda, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and of course, the Nintendo Switch – maybe GameStop can see better times going forward. But right now, it’s hard to say either way.