In an attempt to avoid a slow, painful death not unlike the music retailers, Gamestop is racing to update it’s stores and embrace a digital distribution future. While some of the world’s largest brick and mortar video game retailers efforts have been steps in the right direction, like purchasing online game portal Kongregate as well as Jolt Online Gaming to help further monetize the retailers massive traffic to it’s website. Other measures such as the “store of the future” just seem to be missing the point.
The first of these new store models was dedicated in Silicon Valley recently and boasts reward program kiosks, large displays for watching and one would assume playing demos, flash based game kiosks, a dedicated trade-in area, high speed internet, and other such amenities.
Gamestop is looking to get it’s patrons more involved by using these new interactive kiosks, and a new reward program to offer incentives called “reward points” for spending money at their stores. Customers will also have the ability to purchase DLC for their console of choice at these kiosks by just swiping their credit card and obtaining a validation code that they then drive back home and enter to start their download. Do I really need to point out witch step in this process is completely unnecessary?
“You walk up to the big display and show your PowerUp Rewards Pro card to an optical scanner. Your name comes up on the screen and then displays the games you’ve bought. It also shows your wish list and allows you to add to it. You do so by grabbing a game from the racks and scanning its barcode. The game instantly pops up on the Interactive Game Guide kiosk display. You can share the information with your friends. And GameStop can give you more rewards and achievements the more you spend at the store.”
While all of these new in-store features admittedly sound pretty cool, none of them address the real issue of why so many consumers have walked away from old-school brick and mortar retailers in favor of digital distribution or online retailers. Making a purchase online means I don’t have to put on pants, jump in the car, waste gas driving to the store, have some teenage tardo commit ear rape all over me, and then drop 10% to 20% more than I would have payed online. I mean seriously, who wants to put on pants…like ever?