The ever-growing market of digitally-distributed games has had GameStop jockeying for a position in this changing space since the latest generations of consoles launched. Gamers are becoming increasingly more aware and comfortable with either downloading their games from digital storefronts or ordering their merchandise from online retailers such as Amazon. The truth of the matter is, the market in which Gamestop found their success in, disc-based video games, is trending steadily in the opposite direction.
Evidence of this truth can be seen in changes that have recently been either explored or implemented by the company in the last year: searching for a way to sell second-hand digital content, telling Microsoft that they refuse to sell bundles that don’t include physical copies of games, and dedicating an increasing amount of store space to the sale of collectibles.
It is clear that without a radical change in the way that GameStop does business, their chances of becoming the next Blockbuster increase. It’s no wonder that the game retailer’s latest move to stay relevant is by far its most out-of-box to date.
On January 28, it was announced that GameStop would be partnering with Insomniac (the studio behind Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive) to bring their latest project, Song of the Deep, to both digital storefronts and GameStop shelves. The partnership is a publisher/developer one in nature, with Gamestop handling the marketing and promotion of the title while Insomniac maintains creative control and IP ownership.
As part of the deal, Gamestop will retain exclusive retailer rights to the physical distribution of the game. This means that any player wishing to get their hands on a new physical copy of Song of the Deep must do so at their local GameStop or on GameStop.com.
Can publishing really be the path to GameStop’s continued relevancy and success?