GameStop "Not Afraid" to Compete with Publishers

At the GameStop Expo this week, company execs told Edge that when digital distribution of full-size games arrives on a wide scale, they expect to be kept in the revenue loop.

"Our position with our vendors has been pretty straight forward. We've been honest with them--we're not afraid to compete with them," said Bob McKenzie, SVP of merchandising at Grapevine, Tex.-based GameStop.

"All that we ask is that our customers are able to get the product [at traditional retail] at the same time for the same price ... so that the consumer has a choice."

He said the speed limitations of most broadband solutions would drive consumers to traditional retail.

"[In that scenario,] we're confident that we're going to win the majority of that business. We're not saying we won't be impacted at all by digital distribution, but the average customer isn't going to have the patience for a 72-hour download for a game on their system," he said.

McKenzie noted how presently, most console downloadable content is in the form of add-ons and expansions, while relatively few "full-size" games are available on services like Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.

Tony Bartel, EVP of merchandising and marketing argued that brick and mortar retail offers something meaningful beyond digital shopping. "We really think we provide a tremendous value to the customer by them coming into our stores. We offer a great experience with the expertise of our staff."

Bartel also said that he doesn't see the issue of digital distribution as a "publishers vs. retailers" matter. "I don't see it that way at all. The way that I see it is I think we're both after the same goal--to offer customers a great experience. If they want to offer games digitally, we understand. But we sure don't plan on getting in the publishing business--we just want to be great retailers."

via Edge

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