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GameStop Watches Netflix’s Online Business

July 21, 2010 Written by Ray Conley

Mega-retailer GameStop is looking to watch more than just movies from Netflix.  The hardcopy game store is beginning to rethink methods of game distribution, and has recently admitted that they are now studying cues from Netflix to understand another market place than just your average corner store.

For years GameStop has had wonderful success of dominating the gaming market with their new and used sales model.  When the advent of digital distribution came around, the game retailer merely brushed off the idea of digital content effecting their business.  However, as time went on, they began to see how the method of acquiring games via online could potentially pose a threat to their hard copy sales.   GameStop is finally showing curiosity and interest in digital content.

GameSpot’s newly assigned CEO, Paul Raines has expressed that the company is now trying to understand the various methods of digital game distribution.

“We are getting a good picture of how to balance digital and physical content.  We have studied Netflix a lot, and most of their users still absorb physical content rather than streaming.  Now we are looking to see how gaming compares.”

Already, we can see some changes that are taking place, such as their online store, where some games can be purchased and downloaded immediately for play.  Other ideas have been discussed, such as adding kiosks in their physical store locations to allow the buying and downloading of digital content.

Raines made it clear that GameStop will not be completely turning over into a digital distributor, at least not yet.  He believes that gamers still appreciate the physical copies of the game, and after all, GameStop is about pleasing their customer base.

“The technology is clear — what’s not clear is the chronology.  We are focusing on consumer acceptance. The world won’t be all digital tomorrow, even though that’s what people are claiming. In this business, users still want physical content.”

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