By now it’s safe to assume that every gamer has an axe to grind with Gamestop, whether it’s the measly prices they offer on trade ins or the fact that they push used games down your throat even if you prefer to buy them sealed (and often times, sealed ones are not truly “sealed”), but what no one expected is for shareholders to become as equally skittish about the brick-and-mortar retailer’s future as gamers are.
After the Playstation Now announcement, Gamestop shares dropped a whopping 9%. It’s believed this is due to the fact that the used game business is their biggest income maker and with Sony offering their back catalog to gamers for one flat price, it makes sense that they’d be scared. Especially if the analysts are correct and Microsoft is aiming to play catch-up by offering similar services.
Granted, shares also fell last March when Microsoft announced it wouldn’t let gamers trade games (A decision that ultimately cost MS more than it did Gamestop), but unlike that example there is no belief that Sony will abandon this new idea. As a matter of fact, the excitement it has generated around the web has gone a long way to repairing Sony’s once damaged brand name.
So is this the end of Gamestop? Will they go the way of Blockbuster? Call me an alarmist, but I believe it does. With nearly everyone having broadband now it makes sense for a streaming service like this to come along. While Gakai tried years ago to do this, that was back at a time when Steam had yet to take off and GOG was an unknown name. We live in a digital world, and Gamestop’s own download service has yet to fill gamer’s needs.
It must feel good to be Sony right now.