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Gamestop Re-imagining Retail – 3 Ways to make it better

In a recent article shared across colleagues on LinkedIn, the video game retail store icon GameStop is looking to reinvent how retail is done using their network of brick-and-mortar locations in collaboration with innovation design firm, R/GA.

This is the secret sauce that everyone, including me, has search on high for and has yet to be found, and I seriously doubt GameStop will succeed. An undertaking of this magnitude is going to take not only a tremendous infusion of funding, but some serious insight into what it takes to get the gamer back in the doors. Last I checked, the average gamer is around 28 years old (console owners even older), and the audience is a bit more sophisticated than standard impulse buyers.

The article outlines a strategy to knuckle down on key locations, and to grow stores with a bevy of benefits including the possibility of home grown eLeague groups to retro-fitted specialty stores. There are a few more advantages mentioned as well as some fancy presentation jargon (it is a puff piece, donchaknow).

There is mention about trying games out before buying and stores solely focused on retro games and hardware, but com’on… isn’t that what downloading a demo is for, and hasn’t GameStop been in the business of retro selling of pre-owned games? Last I checked, GameStop was trying to get away from older consoles by flat lining prices on software and hardware for consoles more than 2 generations back.

Sounds to me that this is a pitch not to actual games, but to much needed investors who might not otherwise know what’s what in the gaming world aside from ‘its what all the kids are in to nowadays.’

In order to offer retro, real retro, they’ll need to have some sort of secret stash of classic games which they’d be better off selling to collectors online. If its going to simply be some lifestyle goods shop with those shoddy retro emulators, I don’t think they should waste there time.

The eLeague idea if done right can be really strong. Having fun my own fight league between 2008-2009 for Smash Brawl and Street Fighter IV, I can definitely attest to the fact that its an amazing community builder and its only gotten stronger over the years.

In addition to that possible golden nugget of a thought, I do have some ideas that I saw in Japan that might help if anyone out there really wants some hard and fast thoughts to the situation:

1) Trading Card Gaming Machines – All the fun of loot boxes, and a true multi-media experience (can’t get much more retro than that).  This is the power of arcade video gaming and trading card collecting.  It costs a dollar to play, you get a random card with each play, and highly versatile as the player doesn’t need another opponent to battle unlike traditional card games.

Dragon Ball Heroes is now in their 10th game version

2) Gundam Build Fighters – if an arcade machine can do what this animated series can do, I’d break my bank going at it. Customized part swapping model kits that transpose over to a AR battle field for competitive combat is very high on my ‘gotta play this before I die’ list.

3) Game Streaming booths – for both eLeague events as well as rentable space for stream talent. Out in Japan, I saw this kid set up a phone rig that was streaming live on Twitch his game play of a drum game called Taiko No Tatsujin. I knew of the game, but didn’t know people streamed the stuff, and man could that kid wail. The hearts and happy faces couldn’t come fast enough. Setting up stream rigs is simply but not all people really know how to do it or have a decent place to do it in. Offering this space and time might pull in some regulars who could become local celebrities.


Eiketsu, otherwise known as “Akihabara no Kamisama” or “God of Akihabara” just killing it

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The Keep

Organically grown nerd of things

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