Currently, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is taking the world by storm and has been driving out businesses and damaging economies as federal and local governments’ attempt to mitigate the to mitigate its effects. It’s a bad situation, and while the gaming industry has been impacted in numerous ways (particularly, regarding the routine significant conferences), there is one gaming retailer that may not make it out of this situation in one piece: GameStop.
A Suffering Company
As it stands, GameStop has been hurting for quite a while. With more and more gamers using digital stores to purchase games, reduced profits have crippled the company, which has led to bad working conditions for employees.
The store has been trying to rebrand itself. After recommitting to selling novelty items and retro games and consoles, the company has made a separate attempt to give it a more communal feel. In Oklahoma, GameStop’s GameStop 2.0 stores showed a promising new direction, but its effectiveness has yet to be seen.
Bring On Reggie
In early March, former Nintendo representative Reggie Fils-Aimé was appointed to GameStop’s board of directors. While theoretically a good move, this won’t necessarily save the company, and its occurrence has somewhat faded among the noise regarding COVID-19.
Since cities and states have started launching lockdowns and similar orders, GameStop previously claimed to be an “essential” business since the lockdowns mostly called for the closures of “non-essential” businesses. Though it is now closing its doors to customers, its previous decision is rather telling of GameStop’s state of affairs, and it certainly foreshadows GameStop’s future if the coronavirus continues to affect the economy as it has.
How Will GameStop Hold?
For as much criticism as the company has garnered, GameStop has survived through thick and thin and remains alive — if not necessarily kicking — today. By expanding its store’s catalog to something more reminiscent of a local game shop, it has had the opportunity to appeal to more core gamers and collector types.
Yet, this move may likely go to waste. By calling itself an “essential” business, GameStop has signaled that it is on its last legs. When one thinks of “essentials,” even the most whimsical of gamers can recognize the superior value of food, water, and apparently toilet paper over that of games. However, even as it remains an important part of the lives of many, there are other venues besides GameStop that people can use to find games. This includes but is not limited to digital stores, which will be even more frequented with the lockdowns.
GameStop likely thought that, if it were to close for this unknowable period of time, it would lose out on any potential business that remains. People aren’t exactly in a rush to buy games at the moment, but those desperate for some tangible entertainment may be eager to purchase physical copies of games from the retailer. Of course, as more and more countries around the globe tighten their borders and encourage their citizens to stay at home, this scenario becomes less realistic.
Will Coronavirus Destroy GameStop?
No matter which way you look at it, few businesses can genuinely thrive during this moment in time. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, GameStop. It can be assumed that those in management believed it was worth keeping the lights on just so it can get potential profits from eager consumers. However, now with the stores closing themselves to customers, they seem to have changed their minds.
The company is on its last legs with its continued operation during the COVID-19 crisis. The most likely reduced business could signify bad things to come for the company. On the plus side, perhaps GameStop will work on its rebranding again and remain relevant. Otherwise, the scenario appears bleak.
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