GameStop’s executives predict that three years from now, at least half of the company’s revenues will come from things that aren’t games. Should they think about changing their name, then? Nah, CEO Paul Raines said in an interview this week: they could change their name in the future, but for now games are still what they’re about. Like most things in life, though, that could change in the future.
We’re not at that point yet, but the company is definitely planning for a world where people don’t need thousands of physical game stores in malls. In an interview with Fortune magazine, Raines discussed the currrent state of his company and of the game industry.
For now, the company’s game revenues in their stores are actually growing, partly because they’re integrating online and in-store retail better. “Over 60% of customer purchases involve both the web and stores,” Raines points out: that means that, for example, a customer might have checked first to see whether a game is in stock in their local store before bothering to go there, or pre-ordered it online.
There are now three ThinkGeek brand stores in the United States, and the company had about 30 stores abroad, mostly in Australia, under the Zing Pop Culture brand. Raines says that the company has made public its plans to open 32 more international stores, and 25 in the U.S. in the near future.
“What we’ve learned is that the geek community is a whole lifestyle community,” he explained, which means that the company can sell all kinds of products, from Batman waffle irons to tauntaun sleeping bags, as long as they’re geek-themed.
They also have some ways to distribute games that you might not expect: the companyoperates Spring Mobile and Cricket stores, which sell AT&T products and have an exclusive deal with the telecom. That includes DirecTV, and Raines says that they’re “in discussions” about ways to use DirecTV’s network and perhaps their set-top boxes to distribute game content to AT&T customers.