During a television appearance, the CEO of GameStop offers yet another confirmation that new iterations of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One will be showcased at E3 2016.
At first, rumors of iterative updates to Playstation 4 and Xbox One hardware seemed to be a typical case of pre-E3 hype prompting errant speculation. However, the persistence of this chatter has caused many to reassess the situation. Now, the sheer amount of talk we’ve heard about the new consoles seems to suggest that the rumors are true.
Yesterday, GameStop CEO Paul Raines made an appearance on Fox Business to discuss the robust state of the video game industry. Raines talked up the fact that $16.5 billion was spent on video games in the United States alone over the course of 2015, before praising Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End — and then offered some more hints toward new hardware.
When quizzed about how the company is performing, the CEO made it clear that he’s keeping one eye on the future, even while titles like Uncharted 4 and Overwatch are performing well. “We’d love to see some virtual reality and some new consoles come in,” Raines noted. “We’re going to hear about that at E3.”
These comments come less than a week after a GameStop earnings call made similar indications that new hardware would be on show at E3 2016. Last Friday, the company’s COO noted an expectation that we would see “console announcements” take place at the show.
Refreshed versions of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are looking more and more like the industry’s worst kept secret. Rumors about Sony’s plans started in earnest back in March, but it wasn’t long before there were whispers that Microsoft was working on a similar project.
While not everyone is happy about the prospect of new hardware, there are certain groups that seem poised to benefit from the refresh. Consumers can, of course, look forward to better visuals and more horsepower for developers to play with — but retailers like GameStop stand to thrive off the back of a big product rollout.
The increasing popularity of digital downloads compared to physical media has changed the landscape of the video game industry for brick-and-mortar retailers. However, there’s still no way to download console hardware, and many consumers prefer to make big purchases like that in person.
This should explain why GameStop’s top officials are so keen to talk up the imminent prospect of new hardware. On the one hand, hyping up these systems should help ensure a prosperous launch whenever that comes — and on the other, contributing to the rumor mill might force either Sony or Microsoft’s hand in committing to a 2016 release.