The world’s biggest video game retailer is struggling to stay afloat — and it just tapped the former president of Nintendo America for a critical role

Former Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aimé (left) with Super Mario (right). Nintendo
  • GameStop is the world’s largest video game retailer, but it’s facing a downturn, like Tower Records and Blockbuster Video before it, as more consumers turn to digital storefronts.
  • The company had been in steady decline for years, but the bottom has dropped out of its stock price over the last year – from $US16 a share in January 2019 to less than $US5 by early 2020.
  • After an executive shakeup and the introduction of a 3-point plan to stave off extinction, GameStop made a major announcement this week: Former Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aimé is joining the company’s board.
  • “The gaming industry needs a healthy and vibrant @GameStop. I look forward to being a part of @GameStopCorp Board and helping to make this happen,” Fils-Aimé tweeted on Monday.
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The world’s biggest video game retailer, GameStop, is in serious trouble.

As more people buy video games through digital storefronts and fewer buy games on physical discs from GameStop, the retail chain faces major challenges to its business model. Blockbuster Video and Tower Records similarly saw their businesses rattled by the shift away from brick-and-mortar retail before being forced to shutter.

GameStop currently operates over 5,700 stores around the world – a massive retail footprint in an increasingly digital marketplace.

The company’s bottom line has showed the catastrophic result of this shift to digital: In the past 14 months, its stock value has dropped by two-thirds – from about $US15 in January 2019 to less than $US5 by January 2020. The gradual decline in GameStop’s stock price represents hundreds of millions of dollars in lost value.

In response, the company has shuffled its C-suite and instituted a 3-point plan intended to turn the company around. And this week, the ailing video game retailer made another big move: Former Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aimé was appointed as the newest GameStop board member.

Reggie Fils Aime Nintendo Switch
Former Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aimé holds a Nintendo Switch game console. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

“The gaming industry needs a healthy and vibrant @GameStop,”Fils-Aimé tweeted on Monday. “I look forward to being a part of @GameStopCorp Board and helping to make this happen.”

Fils-Aimé is a notable board member because of his legacy not at Nintendo, but within the wider video game industry. With Fils-Aimé at the helm, Nintendo had some of its greatest success in the United States since the early ’90s. He led the charge on the explosively popular Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch launches, and weathered the dark days of the Wii U.

He’s also one of the few “faces” of the industry that video game fans know.

Fils-Aimé is notoriously responsible for the “My body is ready” meme, and he led many of the company’s press briefings. He’s appeared in countless Nintendo video streams, and was even turned into a puppet alongside “Super Mario” creator Shigeru Miyamoto and former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata for one especially memorable video.

Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto puppets
Reggie Fils-Aimé (left), Satoru Iwata (middle), and Shigeru Miyamoto (right) as puppets. Nintendo

Appointing Fils-Aimé is one component of a larger overhaul of GameStop’s board, the company said in its announcement. “These changes represent key elements of a Board refreshment process initiated in early 2019,” the release says.

Fils-Aimé steps up alongside two other new appointees, and a slew of existing GameStop board members are stepping down: 6 existing board members will be out by June 2021.

Regardless of the board shakeup, GameStop’s stock continues to languish in the lower $US4 range as the company attempts to stay afloat until next-gen game consoles arrive this holiday season from Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation.