Wednesday, April 3rd 2019

GameStop Records Worst Losses in Its History, Hinting at a Digital Future

or maybe that headline should read "Digital Present", because in many ways, it certainly seems we are already living in a heavily digital present. GameStop, one of the leading physical retailers for both new and used games, that usually has trade-in programs for games consoles as well, has reported a staggering $673 million loss in its 2018 performance.

All facets of GameStops' business have worsened: new hardware sales, new software sales, and pre-owned (which declined some 13.2% YoY) all lost money for the company, with no bright spot to be seen anywhere in the previously bright sheen of this particular part of the retail games and entertainment market. GameStop spoke of a "new cost savings and profit improvement initiative in place, we will focus our efforts on driving profitability", which justifies the company's positive outlook for 2019. How GameStop is optimistic about its future with these losses and a projected 5-10% lowered sales for the games market throughout 2019 is somewhat of a strange marriage of concepts, but if it works for the company, it works. Especially with the increased effort from a number of companies in bringing cloud gaming to fruition, with Google's Stadia and Microsoft's own expected push, it seems that a hugely important part of the market for the likes of GameStop (and let's mention other, digital storefronts as well) is going to be left dry without any sort of cut in game sales.
Source: GameStop
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47 Comments on GameStop Records Worst Losses in Its History, Hinting at a Digital Future

#1
kastriot
Well i am sure that cumulative ratio of earning/loses is >1.
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#2
jmcslob
Why would one want to pay $60 for a game on sale everywhere else for $20 and also be limited to a smaller selection of games than Walmart..
GameStop is literally worthless...good riddance.

Even the little train that could knew it was over

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#3
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
I am actually surprised Gamestop exists today.
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#4
Gasaraki
Gamestop should have offered a digital store like Steam way back then but now they will go away because no one buys games in a store anymore.
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#5
R-T-B
Gasaraki said:
Gamestop should have offered a digital store like Steam way back then but now they will go away because no one buys games in a store anymore.
They did. They aquired Stardock's Impulse platform years and years ago, only to conclude it was not important to their portfolio and completely kill it.

It's a decision everyone knew was going to bite them in the ass.
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#6
Vya Domus
R-T-B said:


It's a decision everyone knew was going to bite them in the ass.
Was it though ? Maybe they just mitigated their loses knowing it will go nowhere with Steam around.
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#7
jmcslob
R-T-B said:
They did. They aquired Stardock's Impulse platform years and years ago, only to conclude it was not important to their portfolio and completely kill it.

It's a decision everyone knew was going to bite them in the ass.
Yes...ty
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#8
Paganstomp
Just another sign of the Death of Capitalism...
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#9
hat
Enthusiast
Gamestop's system is pretty terrible. I can't buy anything on their website. Any time I try, I get an error message about some address mismatch between my payment method and financial institution, even when I use their own Gamestop credit card. It's the only place I've ever seen such an error in 10 years or so of online shopping. I also had an issue with returning something. I was buying something for NBA2k19, but I got NBA2k18 instead. Cancelling/refunding the erroneous NBA2k18 order was a days long process which the store manager couldn't handle and required me to make multiple visits to the store. :ohwell:

If they could fix their systems, it wouldn't be such a bad place. It's kinda neat to have such a specialty gaming store where one can go in and not only buy games, but also look at marked down previously owned games, and other random related merchandise. I've even picked up a few interesting things myself from the pre-owned bin.
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#10
neatfeatguy
It was inevitable. Physical copies are fading - there is less and less reason to go into a Gamestop.

I stopped going in them once PC games started to really phase out physical copies (that was what.....6 years back now?). When PC was still only (or at least heavily) done through physical copies I was more than happy visiting 5-6 local Gamestops in my area (I'd do it in one day) or if I was out driving some place I didn't normally go and saw a new (to me) Gamestop store, I'd stop in and browse the PC games. I purchased many cheap PC games - ones that have been on the shelves for 6+ months and they wanted to clear inventory. I'd easily pick up half a dozen games in one weekend and not spend more than $30.

Once they started opening PC game boxes and removing everything from them (to prevent theft), I stopped buying games from them. I wanted a new game that was unopened. Not a "new" game they opened and pulled everything out. I still have games to this day that I haven't opened (not as many as I used to - probably a good 14-16 games still - because I told some off as I've thinned out my physical PC game collection) and I may never open. Too many games, not enough time to play them all!

You can't resell a digital copy of a game. It's linked to some kind of DRM gaming platform (Steam, Uplay, Playstation/Xbox account). The need for a place like Gamestop isn't really needed in this day and age.
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#11
s3thra
neatfeatguy said:
Once they started opening PC game boxes and removing everything from them (to prevent theft), I stopped buying games from them. I wanted a new game that was unopened. Not a "new" game they opened and pulled everything out.
Oh man, that used to bug the hell out of me too! I don't have GameStop stores where I am, but many of my retailers started doing the same thing. Especially with console games - the discs would be taken out of their cases and kept out the back of the store somewhere. I was always precious about my game discs and looked after them very well, but wow some of the guys that used to handle these game discs at the store were brutal. I'd always end up with "new" games, pre-scratched and smudged from the store!
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#13
bug
This was the goal of going digital from the beginning: publishers and developers were annoyed they weren't getting a piece of the games resold. They admitted it openly. Between consoles and digital PC stores, they've now fixed that.
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#14
Fx
I can't recall a single memory of ever buying a game from there. I would shop them every once in awhile, but I remember their selection being dismal compared to other stores like Wal-Mart and prices being higher. There was not compelling point for me to shop them so many years ago and there certainly isn't now in today's era of digital distribution.
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#15
Deathy
bug said:
This was the goal of going digital from the beginning: publishers and developers were annoyed they weren't getting a piece of the games resold. They admitted it openly. Between consoles and digital PC stores, they've now fixed that.
And in doing so prices for games have decreased, ease of use has increased and everyone is happy.
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#16
R-T-B
Vya Domus said:
Was it though ? Maybe they just mitigated their loses knowing it will go nowhere with Steam around.
Stardock sold it because it was supposedly so profitable it was toxic to the company culture. They WERE competitive with steam and it's ilk in their own right. Once they even had a brand and respectable marketshare...

Next year after the gamestop aquisition, they closed it for "mitigating their losses?"

Nah man that really doesn't add up to me. Especially considering they went back in the same market later with inferior branding...
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#17
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
I also think that Bethesda with their repeated Collectors Edition 'mistakes' means that maybe a lot more consumers will want to actually SEE (and feel) for themselves what they are buying before their wallets empty out all their precious cargo

I think there is a place for them to exist but a rather niche one at best.... I think the CEO should reach out to all the game publishers and strike up some sort of special distribution deal with collectors editions... Make gamestop a more specialized kind of store that focuses less on the regular consoles and accessory pieces and only have unique limited or collection edition items for sale.

I know and understand that my idea is kind of forcing them into a smaller pigeon hole than their current one. But my point being is they are tapping into a market that wallmart or bestbuy might not tap into.

publishers maybe need to hook up with gamestop more and pay them to market/promote their games more -- They probably do but maybe this needs refining?

I think that gamestop re-engineering themselves to be the one-stop-shop/outlet for collectors/limited editions will possibly open up more business for them though i could be wrong...

TL;DR - stop trying to serve the entire market as a jack of all trades and narrow down on maybe more niche but profitable part of the market?? they can still have a few stores that sell the regular gaming stuff here and there but maybe focus less on it.


Maybe im just talking out of my ass and rambling a bit too much.
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#18
Darmok N Jalad
Well, GameStop also made trade-ins of games nearly worthless. With PS+ discount sales on the PlayStation store, I just have a wishlist and check it for sales and buy when the price suits me. I used to frown on digital-only, but when the trade value doesn’t even cover your gas money to get to GameStop, owning the disc is not of much value anymore. Plus GameStops are ADHD nightmares. I feel bad for employees that have to listen to the recycled reviews and promotions that are blaring over the TVs. No wonder they are always hiding in the back!
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#19
NC37
Game prices have been pretty terrible too. Sales aren't what they used to be. Used game prices have also not gone down like they used to. I used to buy a lot of used Vita stuff at Gamestop. Then prices wouldn't go down. Stopped buying. Now I don't play my Vita.
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#20
NRANM
Paganstomp said:
Just another sign of the Death of Capitalism...
Odd. I see it as the opposite -- capitalism at work. GameStop fails to properly compete on the market, so it shows in their bottom line, forcing them to try and course-correct and/or die.
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#21
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Like 99% of GameStop business over the last decade was console market. They pretty much quit PC back in the early 2000s before Steam was even a thing (mostly because DRM killed the second-hand market). GameStop is in trouble now because Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are moving away from retail to digital distribution. GameStop literally has nothing to sell now except gift cards to respective stores, consoles, and accessories which are largely purchased through major retail chains like Wal-Mart and online stores like Amazon.

Let's imagine that GameStop did keep Impulse's doors open today. The amount of money it could make is trivial because they still would have lost all of the revenue from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo going digital. GameStop would have been forced to shutter its brick and mortar stores because the demand simply isn't there. It was inevitable that GameStop would become a shadow of itself and there's really nothing it could do about it without legal intervention dictating that publishers (Valve, Microsoft, Sony, Steam, CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Epic Games, Apple, Google, etc.) can't run their own stores creating demand for an independent digital store like Impulse that doesn't exist otherwise.
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#22
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
If they are looking to sell the business, I'll give them $3.50 for it, $4.50 if they want store credit, but that's the best I can do.
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#23
Vya Domus
R-T-B said:

Next year after the gamestop aquisition, they closed it for "mitigating their losses?"
You never get the full picture until you are in that position, who knows.
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#24
lexluthermiester
Easy Rhino said:
I am actually surprised Gamestop exists today.
I still shop there. PS4, 3DS and Nintendo Switch games. Granted, there are other places to shop for physical games. It's just not fun to shop there because the staff is required to be so damn pushy. Other places you don't have to deal with that.
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#25
64K
lexluthermiester said:
I still shop there. PS4, 3DS and Nintendo Switch games. Granted, there are other places to shop for physical games. It just not fun to shop there because the staff is require to be so damn pushy. Other places you don't have to deal with that.
Nothing pushes me out of a store faster than pushy salespeople. I think the employees only make slightly above minimum wage, get no commissions and get pressured to meet sales quotas anyway. Doesn't sound like recipe for a pleasant work environment to me.
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