GameStop CEO talks up "gaming platform" ambitions
Digital sales growing but it's not a rapid change, says Raines
The newly appointed CEO of GameStop, Paul Raines, has revealed that he sees the retailer's website becoming a "gaming platform" for consumers, with ambitions to evolve the service beyond a simple sales site.
"The strategy is to be a multi-channel aggregator for gaming," said Raines in an interview with The Street. "We want to be the destination for gamers, whether they are getting content via online, mobile, console or any other platform.
"We are also migrating our website from a purely e-commerce site to a gaming platform that users can visit to play, learn and purchase games."
As the US market continues to see bricks and mortar sales slump, Raines said consumers are slow in migrating to online sales of boxed and digital content. The biggest challenge at this point is consumer education, he said, with the firm observing other entertainment portals such as Netflix.
"The technology is clear – what's not clear is the chronology. We are getting a good picture of how to balance digital and physical content.
"We have studied Netflix a lot, and most of their users still absorb physical content rather than streaming. Now we are looking to see how gaming compares. We are focusing on consumer acceptance. The world won't be all digital tomorrow, even though that's what people are claiming. In this business, users still want physical content," he added.
Last week Niall Lawlor of GameStop Sweden claimed that the retailer does not like being in the used games space, but it's a necessity, and claimed it's a difficult market to be in, a point Raines reiterated.
"You don't understand GameStop unless you understand the buy, sell, trade method. In tough economic times the consumer doesn't want to spend $59 for a new game," he said. "That's why our value proposition of buy, sell, trade gives consumers the most access. They may not have $59, but they may have $40 and an old game under their bed that they can trade in for a new title.
"There is competition out there that likes to dabble in this segment, but I'd like to remind people that we have seen this many times before. Pricing buybacks and sales is complex. We have a refurbishment facility and last year recycled 100 million units. This system is difficult to replicate."