In the previous article, I tackled the myth that the threat of a retail ban by GameStop or other retailers would prevent the rise of digital distribution.
This article, I'll be tackling the simple question: How GameStop Can Stay Relevant Alongside Digital Distribution.
Note that for this second article, I'm specifically targeting GameStop, since they've got the most to lose from digital distribution while also being one of the bigger retailers out there right now. Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon will easily survive a massive drop in retail copies of games being produced by simple virtue of their product diversity.
That won't be enough, however. If they want to keep their stores open and keep their marketshare, they're going to have to also grow Impulse from simply a content-delivery service into a game streaming service like OnLive, marketing their own units to customers and providing them with the means to play them. They have the infrastructure in place to get the titles to their customers, and a little work and a few deals made on the side could even provide unique opportunities like emulation of older console titles.
Of course, Gamestop could always go the route where they diversify their inventory. I hear they'll be taking iOS devices in trade soon, so maybe in twenty years they'll be a phone store/console store/knitting center. Whatever they do, GameStop as they currently stand are getting a step closer to going out of business with every step the console games industry takes towards digital distribution. They are so large that dialing back their numbers won't be enough. They have to adapt or die.
In the final part
of this series of articles, I'll be discussing the future of physical products versus digital downloads, and how I think the industry will grow in general.
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