America’s renowned video game retailer GameStop is of the opinion that the age of digital content cannot be considered as the beginning of the end of physical stores.
Speaking with GameSpot earlier this week, the director of digital content at GameStop Brad Schliesser asserted that the growing trend of digital trend, specifically downloadable content (DLC), does not threaten the retail business.
He contended that in fact it is the exact opposite as physical stores are more than capable of catering to the digital needs of the people.
He noted that the last couple of years made it evident that GameStop has been doing a pretty good job of selling digital content to people.
“We had an opportunity over the last two years to prove to first-party that we can play a meaningful role in the distribution of digital content. In 2010, we started with 35 stores and five sellable DLC SKUs in a [pilot program] with Microsoft. Since then, we’ve added 4,500 stores and 1,800 products available for sale just on the console side,” Schliesser said. “And we’ve sold over 10 million units of DLC in that time period. I think we’ve proven that retail still provides a very meaningful role, even in the digital content space.”
The emergence of first-party virtual stores such as Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network Store is without any doubt an attractive medium for people who find going all the way to the store inconvenient.
Schliesser, however, is of the opinion that its employees at the store directly communicate with the customers and inform them about the appeal of a DLC and why they should make the purchase. He noted that this gives physical stores a significant advantage over its competitors.
With the growing trend of digital content, the publishers are considering a digital distribution channel to sell their games and content instead of selling it through retailers. Electronic Arts (EA) was reported to have stated earlier this year that its long term plan includes going 100 percent digital.
Both physical and virtual stores have their own merits and demerits and at the end of the day, it really comes to a consumer to decide which of the two suits him better. Thus, it is difficult to comment on the eventual fate of retailers just yet.