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."

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Latest comments (3)

Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 7 years ago
"We are getting a good picture of how to balance digital and physical content."

tbh the only digital content i buy regularly is from the Steam Sales.
Publishers are still not getting the fact they can't price digital copies of their games at the same RRP as the physical boxed versions.
In the context of outrageous prices and excessive DRM built into most games available via digital distribution, it'll be a while yet before boxed products - which we can resell/lend/borrow etc - disappear.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
"Publishers are still not getting the fact they can't price digital copies of their games at the same RRP as the physical boxed versions."

I agree Aidan; if I'm not going to have the physical ownership (or licencing, if you want to get technical...) of a game I buy and the publisher is going to save a lot of money with no retailer to take a cut and no box/booklet to produce, then I want some of the savings passed along to me. Pricing it comparative to what you can buy through a retailer is just absurd.

Anyway, I agree with what he's saying in principal - is it wrong for a consumer to have the option of trading a game in to offset the cost of a new game? I think the whole pre-owned debacle needs to be resolved between publisher and retailer, without the consumer being caught in the middle.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 21st July 2010 10:02am

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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 7 years ago
I also agree with you Aidan, Steam have really nailed this. And with the offers and prices that they do it's difficult to argue with them, especially with Steam Cloud + Mac support.
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