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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.


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.