The Games as a Service (often abbreviated to GaaS) model is best described as a game or piece of game content that uses a continuous revenue model similar to software as a service (think of the Adobe or Microsoft suites). For a game to be labeled as Games as a Service, it needs to implement ways to monetize video games either after their initial sale or to support through a free-to-play economy (think Fortnite or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds). Every publisher wants GaaS because GaaS brings the cash. And according to GameStop, GaaS brings a lot of cash, roughly $1 billion worth.
In an interview conducted by GamesIndustry.biz, Eric Bright, GameStop’s vice president of merchandising, said the company is seeing an immense increase of traffic because of the popularity of GaaS.
We’re seeing huge increases in our traffic for headsets and controllers and digital, as people are coming in and purchasing digital subscription cards, digital currency, so they can go home and play Fortnite,” he says, adding that bricks-and-mortar stores benefit more from games-as-a-service titles than you might think. We do about a billion dollars in sales of digital – that’s consumers who are opting to come to a physical location to pick up digital currency. Either they’re an [underage] customer or a customer who doesn’t like utilising their credit card, but they’re coming in because what they see is that in order to buy their digital goods they’re using either cash or trade to make that purchase. So that’s an absolutely re-occurring and growing revenue stream that we’re seeing. And while there they’re picking up an extra controller, they’re picking up a headset, they’re picking up accessories that go along with it.
According to Bright, GaaS is helping GameStop see a potential market revenue: digital currency and distribution. Because of the numbers games like Fortnite and PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds (210,000 and 68,000 viewers on Twitch, respectively) see on a daily or even hourly basis, GameStop seems excited about the prospect of capitalizing on this increase of “traffic for headsets and controllers and digital.”
This comes just months after GameStop had a rough Q1 with global sales dropping by 5.5 percent and the company admitting to “exploratory talks with third parties regarding a potential transaction.” KontrolFreek has also sold more than one million units through GameStop, so it seems like the accessory business could be a valuable avenue for them.