Once omnipresent titans of physical media and trade-in shakedowns, outlets like GameStop are seeing their stocks trade at 5-year lows, while Game in the UK considers that blessed – having gone into administration this March and losing the business of Nintendo, EA, Capcom and others.
The culprit? Sloppy stickers. Digital media. Countermeasures against used games from big name companies aren’t bestowing any favors either, but according to the NPD’s first report on digital revenue, sales of the digital format (which includes DLC, subscriptions, and mobile/social network games) have risen 10% in the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Not coincidentally, 2011 saw an 8% plunge in new physical game sales and an 11% dive in hardware. The pervasion of everything from Steam to digital console storefronts to more casual gamers flocking to the iPhone has sliced a schism into transactions that once took place almost exclusively in-store – in-person.
Yes, they’re still moving enough units to keep the lights on, and they’ll likely even enjoy semi-relevancy throughout the coming decade, but the current generation has painted a macabre picture for the brick-and-mortar video game retailer.