The days when having a video game store meant extravagant midnight launches and the smell of mall carpet intermingling with plastic cases are well and truly behind us. And if you don't believe that, here's some potentially upsetting news: GameStop may be on the verge of a buyout.
Reuters first reported on the situation on Monday, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, but GameStop itself confirmed today that talks are indeed underway. The announcement was short and to the point, saying only that "[GameStop] is in exploratory discussions with third parties regarding a potential transaction. There can be no assurance any agreement will result from these discussions. GameStop does not intend to make any additional comments regarding these discussions unless and until it is appropriate to do so."
Despite diversifying its lineup by adding retro games, mobile devices such as tablets and phones, and figurines / collectibles to its catalog, the corporation has struggled to compete with not only the likes of Amazon, but consoles' own digital storefronts as well. Holiday season 2016 saw sales dip 19 percent, and in March 2017 it was announced that 150 GameStops would be closing for good. But, you may be wondering, what does this all mean for you, the game-buying public?
Well... hopefully nothing. Depending on who (if anyone, remember this isn't a done deal) picks up the world's largest games retailer, it could mean an influx of cash that would allow the company to adapt to a changing marketplace. If GameStop is where you tend to buy your games, that's still going to be the case, at least in the short-term. It's possible GameStop will be sold and its assets liquidated, but I don't think I see that happening, at least for awhile.
More likely the GameStop brand will continue in a more digital presence as physical stores continue to shutter. You could see an increased push for online sales, or partnerships that bring the GameStop brand to the Xbox Games Store, PlayStation Store, or Nintendo eShop. That said, I'm no market expert, and anything at this point is but speculation.
Even so, if you've any Toys R Us-style fondness for the gaming giant, maybe appreciate the days you have?
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