We went shopping at GameStop and saw how, in the age of game streaming, selling physical video games and consoles is hurting the company

GameStop's gaming software sales have been slipping for a while now.

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GameStop’s gaming software sales have been slipping for a while now.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

  • GameStop stocks fell 29% on Wednesday after it reported dismal first-quarter sales.
  • The company also announced that it would not be paying investors a quarterly dividend, the portion of a company’s quarterly earnings that goes to shareholders, following the 13% slump in first-quarter sales, according to CNN.
  • The gaming store has been suffering for some time now as its game software sales have continued to slip during a time when people are streaming and downloading games instead of buying physical copies or consoles, according to Fortune.
  • The company has closed hundreds of stores, according to CNN, and is working on adjusting its business strategy. Notably, GameStop delved into creating a sort of “Netflix for video games,” but shut it down in 2014.
  • At one point, GameStop was trying to find a buyer, but in January, it announced that it is no longer looking to sell, a move initially made by the board of directors in June following some C-suite re-shuffling. After that announcement, GameStop shares plummeted more than 27%.
  • We visited a GameStop store earlier this year, and while there were plenty of people shopping there, we saw how its business model could suffer in a new era of video gaming.

We went to a GameStop store near San Francisco’s Union Square, a shopping center often frequented by locals and tourists alike.

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Life-sized characters filled the windows.

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We stopped in around 6 p.m. on a weeknight, and the store was fairly filled with customers.

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Upon entering, we saw a banner incentivizing trading in games and saving money in the process.

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Stacks of pre-owned games priced under $20 sat nearby.

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Games designed for Xbox were displayed next to them.

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There was a “two for $20” deal on all pre-owned games, for Xbox as well as for PlayStation, priced at $14.99 and under.

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In the Xbox section were both new and pre-owned games. The prices varied depending on how new the game was.

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The store has long relied upon its customer base trading in games for new ones.

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This pre-owned “Halo 4” game, which was released in 2012, was priced at $4.99 in-store.
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Source: IGN and Fortune


But with the advent of downloadable games, like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR,” priced in-store for $59.99, customers can buy and play from their homes.

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Microsoft and Sony, as well as Netflix, also offer game-streaming services. Over time that will likely translate to fewer physical games coming and going through GameStop.

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Lisa Su, president and CEO of AMD, talks with Phil Spencer, head of Xbox and executive vice president of gaming for Microsoft, during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., January 9, 2019.
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Steve Marcus/Reuters

Source: Fortune


A sign promoting 75% savings on gaming accessories, like a universal component cable, was displayed next to the @Play products.

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New game controllers, like this Dualshock 4 wireless controller, were displayed. This one was priced at $64.99.

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This PlayStation Scuf Vantage controller was more expensive, at $169.99.

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And this multi-console compatible headset by Cloud Stinger Core was priced at $49.99.

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An island of smart home devices, which included Roku products, sat near the controllers.

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There were some interactive installations, like this “Kingdom Hearts” social media exhibit where participants could win a contest.

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And full consoles, like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, sat on glass counters.

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The PlayStation section was on the opposite side of the store from the Xbox department.

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Next to the games were notices for Power Up Rewards members to receive twice the amount of points on purchases.

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A sign advertising virtual currency to use in-game for “Battlefield V” hung next to the downloadable games.

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Overall, the store was very organized and clean, and the discounts were clearly marked.

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GameStop regularly has weekly deals, so there weren’t any outrageous markdowns …

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… but downstairs was a bit messier.

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Attached to this GameStop was a ThinkGeek, the retail store supplying pop culture enthusiasts with knick-knacks inspired by their favorite games and movies. GameStop acquired it in 2015.

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Source: TechCrunch


There were markdowns in every one of ThinkGeek’s sections.

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There were T-shirts on sale for $10.

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Some of the T-shirts sported details from “The Incredibles” movies or the popular video game “Fortnite.”

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There was a “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” deal for these Yu-Gi-Oh! characters.

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And then in a corner was a messy clearance section.

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There was an additional 50% off of all clearance items.

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There were “Overwatch” action figures …

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… a “Call of Duty” card game …

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… and a Fingerlings T-Rex toy.

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The messy ThinkGeek downstairs section aside, GameStop’s setup was easy to maneuver, and everything was in its rightful place.

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There were even posters advertising new game launches in the coming months, like the first-person shooter game “Far Cry New Dawn” …

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… and Tom Clancy’s “The Division 2,” which will be available March 15.

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