Image courtesy of GameStop.

Challenges for the Brick and Mortar Game Store

With big digital companies like Steam that offer huge discounts on games regularly, stores like GameStop have suffered for it. Even with movies going into digital sales, the digital trend is shaping the future of media in all it’s forms. Along with the ease of online shopping, brick and mortar stores have been struggling to stay afloat.

“GameStop has become irrelevant in the video game market,” says Mike Hickey, an analyst at BenchMark.

Notorious for offering offensively low prices to buy back games and equipment, only to sell them at a near new price, GameStop has been struggling to increase sales for a few years. According to The Wall Street Journal, GameStop has been stuck at around $9 billion in sales per year. Since November, it’s been $820 million in debt.  And if that wasn’t enough, over the past year GameStop’s shares have gone down 29%.

To keep up with the digital market, something needs to change, and that change might just need to be to sell.

Who Would Want to Buy GameStop?

According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, Gamestop has “lost the interest of investors, and being public causes them to do things they might not otherwise do, like try to diversify.” He says the best path forward for GameStop is to reduce debt, close stores and go private.

Image courtesy of Bentley Mall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, two companies are interested in buying GameStop. Sycamore Partners and Apollo Global Management, respectfully. Both companies, as well as GameStop, have declined to comment on the possible buyout. However, GameStop has stated that they are looking for ways to “transform” itself.

If they manage to settle on an agreement, it is expected that an announcement of a buyout could occur as soon as February.

How to Transform GameStop

How can GameStop stay relevant in today’s digital world?

Already, GameStop has said in a statement that they are going to trying pushing the sale of accessories and collectible items, as well as boosting its reward program. Merchandising could be one way that GameStop can dig itself out of the problem. Fortnite gear alone boosted accessory sales 30% from the previous year.

I, myself, buy a Pokemon plushie almost every time I go into the store (I’m working to complete my key-chain sized Eeveelution collection). I’m all for the pushing of more merch. I wish they could keep Magic the Gathering cards in stock, and a plentiful selection, too. I’d much prefer buying them at GameStop than Walmart.

Wouldn’t it be neat if GameStop moved out of these tiny shopping centers and had enough room to house gamers? Image courtsey of Michael Rivera.

Nintendo partners with GameStop with events like codes for rare Pokemon for players that go to the store. This could be expanded even further in reaching out to host gamers. With my own local comic shop/Magic tournament spot recently giving up the ghost, I would personally love to see GameStop expanding their stores to allow room for tabletop tournaments, e-sports, and gaming in general. I’d hang out at GameStop frequently if this happened, and the more people lingering in the store, the more likely they are to buy something.

What would GameStop have to do to get you to buy more products from them? Let us know in the comments below.