GameStop have announced they have entered a “multi-year strategic partnership” with Microsoft, allowing them to sell Xbox All Access in stores and more.
The press release details how the 5000 plus video game retail chain will now “standardize the Company’s business operations on Microsoft’s cloud solutions and hardware products to deliver rich new digital experiences to customers.” This is to make it the “ultimate gaming destination.”
Specifically, this means GameStop will use Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 cloud-based business applications for customer data, finance, inventory, eCommerce, retail, and point of sale. This will allow employees to “access omni-channel insights about customer preferences and purchasing history,” along with product availability and more.
Employees will also have Microsoft Surface tablets, allowing employees to move around the store freely while having the aforementioned database of information to hand. GameStop stores will also use Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams business programs.
Finally, GameStop will be selling the Xbox All Access payment program. This allows a user to buy an Xbox Series X (or Xbox Series S), and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $24.99 USD a month over 24 months.
Gamestop states they believe they and Microsoft “will both benefit from the customer acquisition and lifetime revenue value of each gamer brought into the Xbox ecosystem.”
Microsoft Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer stated his high praise for the partnership.
“For many years GameStop has been a strong go-to-market partner for our gaming products, and we are excited about continuing and evolving that relationship for the launch of the Xbox Series X|S. GameStop’s extensive store base, focus on digital transformation in an omni-channel environment and expert gamer associates remain an important part of our gaming ecosystem, and we’re pleased to elevate our partnership.”
YouTuber and GameStop whistleblower Camelot331 (you can read our coverage of his work here [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) theorized that Microsoft and senior GameStop executives had an ulterior motive behind the deal.
Across his videos (based on information he had allegedly received from GameStop employees along with his own experiences) Camelot proposed that GameStop would soon enter bankruptcy. He also proposed there was a “three stage plan” by corporate leaders.
This would involve doing whatever it took to increase the stock value of the company in the short-term (including closing stores and firing staff) before liquidating the company or filing for bankruptcy.
In a recent video, Camelot proposes that improving the store’s infrastructure would not bring in new customers alone. As such, he believes Microsoft may be interested in acquiring GameStop; changing the infrastructure to make it easier for themselves in the long term.
Camelot proposes the buy-out would result in all the physical stores “going away,” or converted into pure “brick-and-mortar” stores that would likely not sell games on rival systems such as PlayStation.
For now however, Camelot stated the partnership was PR stunt, akin to (his opinion on) Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé joining GameStop’s Board of Directors.