There are few places that pop into the minds of gamers when planning a trip to pick up the newest release more than GameStop. A staple of many of us growing up, this Texas-based company has provided us with countless titles at new and used prices, along with gaming accessories, an easy out for buying gifts for gamer friends and family and now pop culture collectibles like POPs, plushies and more.
Unfortunately, GameStop (GME for those of you who understand and follow the mysterious language that is stock market speak) announced recently that the doors will be closing permanently for 2-3% of their stores. With 6,600 locations currently open globally (4,400 in the United States alone); this means curtains for about 190 stores.
What happened that’s forcing this big player video game retailer to abandon so many locations?
According to CEO Paul Raines, a big contributing factor was the biggest name consoles, Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, not releasing enough titles to feed the fans and therefore, their registers and stock. Generally, he stated that the entirety of the video game industry is lagging.
The video game category was weak, particularly in the back half of 2016.
On top of this, there is more competition in the game-selling market than there has ever been. With both Best Buy and Amazon offering deals on new games for its members, plus so many other retailers offering titles as well, GameStop doesn’t have the edge it used to over the market.
The Future of GameStop
With some focus shifting into the collectible area (and the merge with ThinkGeek), GameStop is hoping to redeem themselves. There is a plan in effect after the mass closures to open more than 100 new locations in 2017, waiting until after their attention shifts further into the realm of figures, shirts, and other geeky wares.
As someone who basically grew up in a GameStop and has worked at two separate locations for holiday season rushes (including when the Xbox 360 came out and everyone was going insane for it), it’s difficult to hear that the giant is having issues with its original goal and theme of selling video games. However its be great to hear that I’ll be able to get my hands on other nerd-related goods in person rather than risking the usual gamble of ordering online. All in all as long as the motto “Power to the Players” lives on, all is well in the Stop of Games.
Best of luck on the rebound, GameStop! We’ll be rooting for you!