Although there will always be gamers who prefer to own a hard copy, the gaming industry is inching closer and closer to a fully digital age. Not only do the grand ambitions of the recently announced Google Stadia speak to this, but the fact that Sony is no longer allowing any third-party retailers, whether online like Amazon or offline like GameStop, to sell Sony PS4 digital game codes anymore also echoes the digital sentimentality.
For brick-and-mortar stores like GameStop, this could be a death knell when considering how quickly the coming digital age is advancing. However, when the announcement was made that GameStop was no longer selling its company, many were wondering what the company intended to do, which now reportedly involves a new CEO, a new GameStop 2.0 initiative, and a redefinition of its stores as a "cultural experience."
First off, it's worth mentioning that the new GameStop CEO is George Sherman, who previously worked as the CEO at Verizon Wireless retailer Victra and as an executive at Advanced Auto Parts, Best Buy Services, Home Depot, and Target. He is picking up where the previous CEO, the now-deceased Paul Raines, left off and moving the retail franchise to more than just selling video games.
Little is known about Sherman's plans or what is to come, but an anonymous source recently leaked the GameStop 2.0 initiative. This approach would see the storefront become more than just a retailer but also a cultural experience, with some speculation suggesting this means new kinds of stores, better membership programs, variations of PowerUp rewards, and an emphasis on gaming culture. One reported way the company is pursuing the latter is by including more TVs in the store to provide gamers the opportunity to hang out and try games before buying.
Although there have been no direct comments about this new business plan, Sherman has stated that the company intends to "fuel the passion of gamers around the world." Ultimately, this sounds like GameStop is trying to move forward with the digital age instead of against it, but only time will tell if any of these plans come to fruition and help re-establish the company in the gaming industry.