Even though GameStop seems to be accepting the inevitable digital future
, one analyst says the major gaming retailer won't feel the pinch from online game delivery services until 2017. According to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter, limited storage capacity and bandwidth limitations mean it is "unlikely" that digital services will have a "meaningful impact" on GameStop's sales within this console cycle. Schachter doesn't anticipate the next console cycle to kick off until some time in 2014 and, even if future formats are completely digital, believes it will still take a number of years for market penetration to reach a threatening level to the retail business.
For an example of "proof" to his claims, Schachter points to the "very disappointing sales" of the digital download exclusive, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost & Damned
. Confusing, considering all previous accounts
have pointed to the downloadable expansion as seeing strong sales
"The bottom line is that retail still matters," Schachter told IndustryGamers
. While some analysts are keen on throwing the brick-and-motar chain under the bus during the increasing digital age, Schachter claims Gamestop "continues to defy the naysayers." He went on to ask if we wanted to pre-order any future games industry analysis.