Reuters is reporting that GameStop is pushing hard to enter the downloadable content world by offering DLC through their store locations worldwide. By 2010, GameStop shoppers will be able to enter the store and purchase downloadable content that will be available for transfer to their hard drives when they arrive at home.
This would seem like a great idea considering that brick and mortar retailers need to continuously find ways to remain relevant in today’s digital economy. But while GameStop’s idea will probably be somewhat viable, it’s also a bit of a contradiction.
There are two key facets to downloading IP content that appear to be the driving force behind the format’s success. The first is the idea that you aren’t bogged down by more dusty media in your home when something is residing digitally on your hard drive. The second, is that you don’t have to go anywhere to acquire the content, and that it’s more or less available immediately upon purchase.
So where does this line of thought take us? The program could benefit people who aren’t comfortable placing their credit card numbers online by giving them a physical outlet to go to and buy the content, but still download at home. However, I’d argue that said consumer would then become trained to digitally download, and eventually just start downloading from home anyway. On the other hand, maybe this will be a way to increase in-store traffic with some kind of exclusive download. But really, how many IP’s are truly exclusive nowadays? Or, we can go with the example used by our friends at 1UP where a consumer buys a game, and the DLC is used as an upsell at the GameStop stores. In that case, I'm forced to ask why the DLC wasn't included with the game in the first place if it was available for download upon the game's release.
It’s understandable for GameStop to reinvent themselves a bit, and comments by GameStop’s Chief indicate that they’ve done their homework. I’d agree with him that add-on content is immediately more viable than full game downloads at this time. But why does the logic end there? GameStop might be better off negotiating to insert an online GameStop store within the PS Network and Xbox Live systems than requiring the consumer to come to the store to buy DLC.
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