Physical retail has taken a beating over the last half decade. Even with the majority of people still buying physical goods, the rapid rise of online shopping and streaming has shown that it’s only a matter of time before the field changes. One place that’s been hit particularly hard is GameStop. As the last major specialty shop focused primarily on video games, services like Game Pass, xCloud and Stadia are going to be a big challenge for the once retail giant. One person putting on a strong face, though, is the chain’s Vice President of Merchandising Eric Bright, who thinks that GameStop can evolve with the changing times.
Bright brushes off worries about these new subscription services in an interview with GamesIndustry, saying that Gamestop, as is, already has such a wide network and presence, it makes it easy to partner with publishers and developers. He also points to the early rise of digital sales not having as major of an impact that many expected as the company began selling digital codes to compensate. He thinks that the company can similarly evolve as new services pop up.
“GameStop is focused on games and gaming culture overall,” said Bright. “Any way that we can look at monetising overall digital sales, we will. 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.
“Our partners know that partnering with GameStop on all the new ways of monetisation are in their best interest, so we’re engaging in conversations with everyone as new formats come out. 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.”
Bright isn’t wrong, the company still has a major presence and being the only real major specialty shop for video games is a big thing when working with publishers. However, the decline of physical sales and brick and mortar shops are undeniable with that effect being felt on a worldwide scale. A lot of once strong retail lines have either closed or been massively reduced over the last few years, so whether or not GameStop can weather the storm ahead is anyone’s guess.