GameStop will have to see the video game writing on the wall to survive: It’s only a question of when, not if, video game systems will no longer feature disc drives. Discs of course are the bread and butter of the game store chain.
A big chunk of their business is customers trading in their disc-based games and GameStop turning around and re-selling them at profit.
When disc-based games go the way of CD-based albums, the game store chain could be in serious trouble. Unless it can learn to adapt.
The future of buying video games is all in the cloud. You’ll stream or download them, not insert a disc, and share them on other platforms such as smartphones and tablets. That’s a trend we’re already seeing, for example, with Xbox Live’s growing library of downloadable content.
Why? Convenience. Pure and simple. That’s why, if you’re in your 20s, you probably never owned a CD player. Downloading music made it super easy to get your music fast versus driving to a record store (ask your parents), standing in line. Just a hassle, relatively speaking.
Sure, the purists still buy the record albums, just like there will be purists still buying old video game discs and cartridges for reasons including nostalgia.
But that’s going to be a small number of people by comparison.
I was chatting with a GameStop employee the other day at a store in Greensboro, N.C., when I asked him about this very subject, and he agreed discs will one day be a thing of the past, which won’t bode well for the store unless they diversify.
He pointed to a row of mobile devices and tablets for sale. He says you can bring your mobile device in and get the highest trade-in value compared with other places (I didn’t verify this, so it pays to be skeptical here. Do your homework.).
Will GameStop survive or go the way of Blockbuster?
Time will tell.