Everyone’s favorite brick and mortar games retailer took a hit this past holiday season, seeing hardware sales fall 29.1%, and software sales drop by 19.3% in the all-important quarter, and now they’re looking to shut down over 150 stores. For those with a healthy bit of schadenfreude for the new and used game seller should keep in mind the reality of the situation — 150 stores are roughly two percent of their empire. With over 6,500 stores worldwide, Gamestop isn’t waving the white flag to digital marketplaces and Amazon’s deep discounts yet. In fact, they’re expanding in some areas.
According to Fortune, Gamestop is expanding their technology brand with 65 new stores this year (think Simply Mac, Cricket Wireless, and Spring Mobile) in addition to 35 collectible stores (ThinkGeek). As a nerd, I’m not so sure if ThinkGeek is a collectible store as it’s a place where one can purchase innovative ways to ingest caffeine.
So, all in all, this isn’t the doom and gloom scenario people have expected with the advent of digital games over the last ten years or so. In fact, this is the typical ebb and flow of the game industry. We’re right in the middle of a system lifecycle, so lower sales are generally expected because most people who are going to buy that gear already have.
Now Gamestop just needs to focus on actually selling people games without giving them the runaround and they’ll probably keep on keeping on. There’s nothing like actually holding a game in your hands, and smelling that new game smell before hopping online and being harassed by kids that will always be better than you, no matter how many hours you put into a game.