Gamestop Wants to Sell XBLA / PSN Games
Gamestop’s response to the ease and convenience of buying games online from your home is to start selling them in a physical store. You know, a store you have to drive to and deal with the nerdy salesmanship of some guy with a neckbeard trying to sell you a magazine subscription.
Sure, that makes sense.
The plan is to link your Live or PSN account to the store, so you can buy a game and have it available to download as soon as you get home. The rationale behind this extends from Gamestop’s sales of point cards.
“We… have been a huge seller of those points in the marketplace,” Gamestop Senior Vice President of Digital Shawn Freeman said. “As I understand it, we’re neck and neck, or we sell even more, than they sell directly through Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Which speaks to our access to gamers who care about playing those games.”
If that’s surprising, it probably should be. Gamestop execs have a knack for saying things that are untrue or skewed – I recall a conversation wherein a Gamestop exec claimed that digital distribution wouldn’t work by citing bandwidth of a T1 connection, which are hilariously dated by today’s standards.
The second reason Freeman claims this isn’t a terrible idea is that by selling in store, they retain some stake in marketing and sales.
“We’re the ones that do a great job of helping consumers understand what their opportunities and options are for playing games,” Freeman said. “By providing an opportunity for our sales associate to sell the games themselves to consumers, we can drive more of those sales.”
Basically put, if Gamestop can leverage digital sales, they can pick and choose which sales they promote, and thus dole out favors to publishers and keep themselves in the mix.
“Our view is that when you look at all the different ways people buy content digitally, that experience and that discovery experience is key to realize that opportunity… if we do a good job, that’s going to continue to bring value to our publishers and our platform partners, because we’re going to continue to drive more sales for them,” Freeman said.
To put it in more realistic terms – this is the first attempt for Gamestop to stay relevant in a new marketplace where they will probably have a very small stake. Can’t fault them for trying, but only impulse buyers and old people will use this feature.