While bullish on the subject of our impending digital future
CEO J. Paul Raines isn't totally blind to the new options available to consumers purchasing games. "The world won't be all digital tomorrow," he told TheStreet.com
in a recent interview, "even though that's what people are claiming. In this business, users still want physical content." He does, however, offer up one initiative that GameStop has loosely detailed in the past: a new in-store download option
, spawning from a partnership with Microsoft.
"The strategy is to be a multi-channel aggregator for gaming. We want to be the destination for gamers, whether they are getting content via online, mobile, console or any other platform," he added, also championing the still nascent rewards card program
as helping to keep customers returning to stores into the future. And just as Raines isn't worried about the disappearance of brick and mortar stores, he's similarly unphased by the competition in the used games space. "There is competition out there that likes to dabble in this segment, but I'd like to remind people that we have seen this many times before. Both Walmart and Best Buy have launched and canceled programs [TheStreet points out that Best Buy is still in the used games business]."
But with the relatively dramatic increase in digital distribution over the past few years and enormous hard drives connected to most
of our consoles (and even handhelds), not to mention a recent NPD report
indicating a closing disparity gap between retail and digitally distributed PC games, we have to imagine that the company's digital efforts are expected sooner rather than later. If it will be soon enough remains to be seen.