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In what would seem to me to be an inevitable development, video game retailer GameStop, is launching an online store that lives on their Facebook page. GameStop, with physical stores across the country, one literally about a football field away from where I am typing this article, has been making a strong move to expand their business into the digital space. Makes sense, unless of course they are trying to copy Blockbuster’s recipe for disaster.
Techcrunch recently reported that GameStop has made acquisitions of Spawn Labs and Impulse, other strategic plays to enhance their digital presence. Spawn Labs launched in 2009 as a sort of SlingBox for Video Games streaming on the web. Impulse owns a library of over 1,100 games to be downloaded, which GameStop will integrate into their online business platforms.
The GameStop Facebook store is actually a really cool e-commerce platform developed by Adgregate Markets. You can obviously buy video games, learn of video game sales and deals, find out about upcoming games and release dates, locate stores, and watch trailers for new video games. Overall the store is a very nice addition, and will probably prove to be a solid revenue driver for the company.
This all leaves me thinking; is there still any use in a physical video game store? I’ll be honest, call me old school but I enjoy browsing through a video game store, asking the experts for recommendations, and even trying out certain games. I also like the option of an impulse buy, meaning if I want a game, and I want it now , and I could go buy and play it instantly, and not have to wait for shipping and delivery.
But from a business standpoint, I can’t imagine that it is economically sustainable to have all the physical locations that they have (6,450 according to Wikipedia) with rent expenses, employee expenses, inventory expenses, and everything else under the sun, when the future of shopping is obviously digital. Netflix became the dominant movie rental service over Blockbuster, and Blockbuster had thousands of physical locations. I for one miss the Blockbuster days. A great way to get to know girl was to walk through a Blockbuster with her. You can find a lot out about a girl by her movie tastes. But like I said, from a business standpoint it no longer makes sense, which is made evident by Blockbuster’s current state.
In any case, do you guys see this movement of GameStop to digital as the inevitable death of their physical locations? Is there still a need for the physical video game retail location? Sound off in the comments below!