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MCV 13/08/10 23 GAMESTOP’S DIGITAL PLAN


But it might not be the core revenue driver in future, and should that tipping point come, Petrovic and Freeman want GameStop to not just be location in a shopping centre or mall that users have to leave their homes to get games from. They want it to be the online site of choice to buy, demo, download, read about and discuss games. “We do see that there are a lot of players, through research and insight, that want to play games outside the living room,” says Petrovic. “So we feel there is an opportunity to extend that relationship – we already speak to them when they are in stores so why not continue that when they are playing games across other devices or other arenas that aren’t the living room?” In that context, it won’t be a surprise if GameStop in times becomes less like GAME and more like IGN, Amazon and Xbox Live. It can be a content firm that provides service, editorial and support for gamers and game developers – not just the owner of thousands of concrete rooms around the world filled with a 1,000 feet of shelving that consumers may or may not visit.


Certainly, GameStop is keen to learn more about how digital content can be part of its offer – and the best way to do that is experience first-hand how the market will develop.


The other advantage, of course, is that even if GameStop’s focus is primarily on the crossover between online gaming and the people who visit its stores, the secondary benefit is reaching those it doesn’t usually engage with. Such as that the UK audience – the one country with a tiny number of GameStop outlets.


Petrovic says: “The benefit of any digital business is that it is location agnostic. It does give us purview into those territories where we don’t have a physical presence. It give us an opportunity to make an entrée into areas where we don’t have a retail presence at all, or where our retail presence isn’t as strong as other countries.” A powerful global retailer, with lots of users around the world, but not necessarily needing physical placement in every territory? Sounds like GameStop has already founds its place in the online world.


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