As the number of gamers turning to Apple’s handhelds continues to increase, America’s largest game retailer is going to try to pander to them. GameStop is reportedly set to begin selling Apple’s iOS devices in a bid to stay relevant in the modern gaming market. You might think that’s a surprising move, but it’s really a desperate one.
To be fair, GameStop’s plans to sell Apple devices are yet to be confirmed, however, it makes a lot of sense. As Apple’s devices have begun to make a considerable dent in handheld console sales, luring customers away from devices like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, it seems game retailers are now recognizing their potential as gaming devices.
Then there’s the elephant in the room: Gamestop’s brick-and-mortar business is mostly generated by selling physical copies of game software. By also encouraging users to trade-in their old games for credit, then reselling those games to other customers for close to full retail price, Gamestop has made a pretty penny out of software… a penny that is starting to melt away thanks to digital distribution platforms like the iOS App Store, or Valve’s Steam digital delivery service.
What GameStop is doing here is acknowledging that their core business — selling physical copies of games — is about to dry up. By selling iOS Devices, GameStop has started its evolution from a software merchant to purveyors of game hardware.
Not that GameStop is going to stop any of its old dodgy tricks, you understand. The company has recently begun to accept trade-ins for Apple devices. That means you can now walk into a GameStop store with an old iPod touch and trade it in for store credit. GameStop then gets to sell it for close to full retail price, and the only cost to them is a handful of used games.