GameStop posted its new earnings report Thursday, and though it’s been through down times before, things have never been so bad as to force the shuttering of over 100 stores. New software sales were down 19.3 percent in the fourth quarter, and new hardware sales were also down 29.1 percent — and we’re talking about the quarter that introduced the PS4 Pro.
Pundits have been predicting the inevitable demise of GameStop for some time, but they haven’t gone down for the count yet. The closures are a drop in the bucket for a company that boasts over 7,500 locations in 14 countries — this amounts to around a 2 to 3 percent loss for them. But one has to wonder if it’s not a sign of worse things to come.
The growing number of consumers buying games digitally has likely contributed to the slump, and so have the disappointing reviews for some recent titles, but there’s also the GameStop Itself factor. The shady and anti-consumer business decisions GameStop has been involved in over the past few years have given the store a lot of negative publicity, most recently the “Circle of Life” debacle that revealed how desperate they are to sell used copies over new ones. Personally, I don’t feel right about shopping there anymore and only buy games from them as a last resort. I imagine I’m not alone.
While GameStop is closing some of its flagship-name stores, it will be opening new stores that serve a different purpose. They announced 35 new stores for the purpose of selling “collectibles” and 65 new ones dedicated to “technology brands” (these are branded mobile phone stores that GameStop’s company just happens to license).