GameStop, the world’s largest video game retailer, has announced that it will no longer be selling “digital hardware bundles.” A recent earnings report conference call outlines a strategy to move away from hardware bundles that include digital games, and instead carry only those with physical pack-ins. Of the big hardware manufacturers, this could stand to affect Nintendo most significantly, as the past few years have seen countless Wii U, 3DS and 2DS bundles that include digital vouchers or pre-installed games.

Just as significant, though, is the message GameStop is sending to hardware and software makers. With an ever-increasing consumer interest in digital shopping, the coming months and years will be a pivotal period for the massive retailer. Only time will tell if doubling down on physical and used game sales, their bread and butter, will continue to be a viable strategy.

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Meanwhile, retail chains, like Best Buy, have been offering digital game code purchases directly from their websites for some time now. Amazon recently launched a store that allows customers to purchase digital Nintendo games online and have them sent directly to their console. So don’t worry, there will still be plenty of places to buy those bundles with digital copies; GameStop just won’t be one of them.

It’s no secret that physical game sales are the cornerstone of GameStop’s business model. A new release on its shelves today will be a used copy that it’ll buy back tomorrow and resell in a week. It’s a model that has worked for them for years, and has made them the retail giant that they are. But digital game sales are perhaps the biggest threat they have ever faced, and it will be interesting to see how they choose to adapt in an increasingly digital future.

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Written by Brittin Shauers

Brittin literally grew up with Link, Mario and Samus. These three characters and their worlds collectively capture everything that he loves about video games.

Brittin Shauers

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  1. NintendoPSXTheSecond says:

    Asinine and mental. This may be a strategy to them but feels like it’s made to stab Nintendo specifically.

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    • Aaron MacNaughton says:

      Having worked there for 2 years as a manager before I couldn’t stand it anymore and realizing how horrible of a company they are…I’ve been waiting for them to burn for a long time. I’d even welcome full digital overlords if it meant that company nosediving.

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  2. Hermione Granger says:

    gamestop is doing a good thing here, digital is worthless. physical disc version of games is worth money for customers and gamestop. what is asinine and mental is selling customer digital hardware bundles for more money than its worth. because what we see happening is that even when there is no disc,plastic,paper,box etc digital prices is going up… its not getting cheaper as people think. so digital is not the future but physical is. physical releases also give people jobs and customer the option to get some of their money back after a purchase. its a win win for everyone, so i hope more shops will join in on this.

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  3. DariusQ says:

    From a collector’s perspective going all digital was never an option. In retrospect, I think even the idea of 100% digital being a possibility is what sunk XBone before it was even launched.

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