As the gaming industry continues to shift more and more to the digital world, companies like GameStop are taking a toll. You could go out to a store and buy a hard copy of a game, but why do that when you could purchase one from the leisure of your home? Sadly, this digital shift is the reason GameStop has begun to decline over the past few years, and while going to GameStop to find discounted titles and demo new games is fun to do, it makes sense that nowadays less and less people go there. If GameStop wants to keep a prominent role in the gaming community, they need to make a change—and that’s just what they’re planning.
GameStop has partnered up with R/GA, a marketing, design, and innovation company, in order to pilot new ideas for their stores to appeal more to the gaming community. R/GA has a history of projects with many other companies and people, and is known for their combination of creativity and technology. GameStop and R/GA’s research has found that “immersion, achievement, creativity and community” are the four key motivations for gamers, and plan to utilize that research to modify the GameStop locations. GameStop and R/GA are looking for and working on ideas that give gamers a reason to come to GameStop stores, such as more ways for people to try titles before buying them, and a redesign of the stores. Some of the specific ideas suggested include “competitive sessions in home-grown e-Leagues” and stores “that sell strictly retro gaming software and hardware”. Stores with local competitive gaming and retro arcades would both give GameStop more of an appeal again, and once you enter a store again, there’s much more of an incentive to buy hard copies of games since you’re already there.
GameStop has already announced their GameStop Performance Center, an esports center home to Complexity Gaming filled with gaming areas, new technology, lounge rooms, and other areas. The center plans to open in September, and will help with GameStop’s new design along with the other changes from their partnership with R/GA. As we wait for the changes to emerge and the concepts to go public, anticipate a more community-based and immersive gaming environment.