GameStop Will Improve its Retail Experience to Combat Digital Game Downloads

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GameStop Will Improve its Retail Experience to Combat Digital Game Downloads With competition coming from Wal-Mart and consumers shifting their game-buying to phones and tablets, GameStop executives are making a bold move to make sure that the company does not become another Blockbuster Video. Daniel B. GME has launched a new initiative designed to improve the retail experience for its customers and ultimately transform the company into something more than a bricks-and-mortar retail chain.

Instead of just bringing in a consultant or relying on its own expertise, GameStop is partnering with technology companies and universities to find ways to “better address the needs of today’s empowered consumer,” according to a release. By joining forces with these industry leaders, GameStop will leverage GTI to explore and “build best-in-class research and development processes to create and implement within its global retail locations the next generation of new, innovative business applications,” the company said.

How bad are things for GameStop? That’s worse then analysts expected and it’s disappointing given that the holiday season included new consoles from Sony NYSE: Closing Spawn Labs makes sense if you consider that one of the goals of the GTI is to help the company figure out how it can become more than just stores. That may ultimately mean some sort of streaming service, but if you’re going to create a partnership to explore what your next moves will be beyond retail you probably should not be charging ahead with an idea that may not be right.

The competitive landscape GameStop has to change because its competitors are changing, as is the behavior of its customers. The company’s biggest short-term concern should be that Wal-Mart has essentially mimicked GameStop’s trade-in program for games. Wal-Mart hasn’t said what rates it will offer for used games but theoretically Wal-Mart could pay more and use game sales as a loss leader to force customers away from GameStop.

Even if that does not happen the ubiquity of Wal-Mart means that the retail giant will likely siphon away some game trade-ins. The company refurbished over 12 million games, along with over 1 million hardware units.

That’s a lot of potential business that Wal-Mart can swoop in and take. GameStop also has to be concerned about the growth of casual gaming — playing games on phones and tablets — which has likely contributed to the relatively slow start of the current generation of consoles.

Even consoles themselves are a growing competitor as customers can download some game content for them directly, which takes GameStop entirely out of the loop. GameStop knows it faces competition for its most lucrative customers and that direct sales that take place on a device — be it a console, a phone, or a tablet — threaten its business.

It’s creating GTI to figure out how to stay relevant and maintain a customer base. GameStop knows it needs to be more than a retailer and more than a video game store, or it risks becoming Blockbuster Video.

Few if any retailers have been able to entirely change their focuses. Blockbuster did not survive the end of the physical rental era and Borders died because it could not figure out how to adapt to the rise of digital books. GameStop however has taken a bold step to address its problems before its position becomes dire. Video game sales may go away entirely if Microsoft and Sony can figure out how to eliminate the physical discs needed for most console games.

That may happen but it has not happened yet so GameStop has time. GTI has a nearly impossible mission in front of it — moving a large retailer in an entirely new direction that ultimately may not involve any of the things that are major parts of the company now.

Will the company have a reason to have a huge physical presence? Can GameStop sell something that online retailers and non-specialists can’t?

There are no simple answers but GameStop has a better chance of surviving by addressing its problems and looking for bold solutions than it would if it just continued with business as usual. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for Microsoft on its Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the Boston. His latest book, “Worst Ideas Ever,” Skyhorse can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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GameStop Will Improve its Retail Experience to Combat Digital Game Downloads With competition coming from Wal-Mart and consumers shifting their game-buying to phones and tablets, GameStop executives are making a bold move to make sure that the company does not become another Blockbuster Video. Daniel B. GME has launched a new initiative designed to improve the retail experience for its customers and ultimately transform the company into something more than a bricks-and-mortar retail chain. Instead of just bringing in a consultant or relying on its own expertise, GameStop is partnering with technology companies and universities to find ways to “better address the needs of today’s empowered consumer,” according to a release.

VIDEO: Digital Games

Microsoft is reportedly experimenting with allowing customers to request self- service refunds for digitally downloaded games on Xbox One and. Did i just waste my money on this digital code? Is something wrong with xbox? HELP Edit: signed into my other account and out the code in. Nekkid people are coming to a video game near you. to get the same feeling of attraction in seeing a full frontal digital game character as they we think our customers want to buy,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk.

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