Make no mistake: The videogame industry is alive and well. However, retail videogame giant GameStop appears to be on a decline. After reporting fourth-quarter sales drops in just about all categories, GameStop says it will close 150 of its 7,500 retail locations.
The GameStop corporation on the whole is doing okay, however. It says it will instead open several of its other retail franchises, including ThinkGeek and Spring Mobile.
While 150 out of 7,500 stores doesn’t seem like a lot, it may be a sign of things to come as more gamers turn to digital downloads, Amazon, and other online retailers. Meanwhile, gamers continue to turn to big-box stores like WalMart. On top of that, a lot of the videogame industry’s revenue came from mobile games, and as we all know, there’s nothing to buy in a store for the latest Angry Birds (does anyone play that anymore?).
It’s not just games that are hurting in terms of sales at GameStop. Hardware sales were down 29.1 percent during the fourth-quarter of 2016, as people turn to online retailers for their quick and free delivery. Meanwhile, software sales were down 19.3 percent. While the retailer blames a lack of blockbuster gaming titles during the period, the writing is on the wall: Retail videogame stores are on the decline, and they have been for a decade. Feels like Blockbuster all over again.
And it’s not just retail videogame stores. Sears says they’re about to close their retail locations, while JCPenney just had to close 140 of its department stores. Young people just aren’t heading out to stores to buy media (and many other things) any more. Meanwhile, WalMart says they’re re-investing in e-commerce as they continue to lose out online to Amazon.
Ask yourself this: When was the last time you got up off your butt to go buy a videogame at GameStop or another store?