GameStop Safeguards Future, Acquires Digital Distribution And Game Streaming Companies

By James Brightman

GameStop knows that digital is growing quickly, and the company has become quite serious about its plans to stay relevant in a digital world. Not only did it buy Kongregate, but it’s beenaccelerating its DLC plans, and today the retailer made two significant acquisitions: Spawn Labs and Impulse.

According to TechCrunch, Spawn Labs will now work closely with GameStop to further develop its game streaming product. Spawn Labs was founded in 2009 and allows players to play games that exist in data centres rather than locally on their computers (somewhat similar to OnLive or Gaikai). GameStop will allow customers who purchase physical, retail copies of games in stores to also play that game through a new web-based service on a variety of devices (tablets, PCs, etc.)

As for Impulse, the digital downloads portal was a subsidiary of Stardock Systems Inc, and competes with Steam, Direct2Drive and others. It offers more than 1,100 games, provides DRM and copy protection tools for publishers, and gives gamemakers the ability to enable achievements, account management, friend lists, chat, multiplayer lobbies, and cloud storage within their games. GameStop plans to keep Impulse business going, but the company will be integrating the digital platform with its own site in the coming months. 

These acquisition shouldn’t come as a surprise, as GameStop had set aside its war chest for just these sorts of moves, as the Wall Street Journal points out. 

“GameStop is seeking to avoid the fate that has befallen many other specialty-media retailers that stumbled because of the Internet, from Tower Records in music to Borders Group Inc. in books to Blockbuster Inc. in movies. Several years ago, GameStop earmarked $100 million to spend on acquisitions in the digital distribution business, a pot of money that the retailer started using in the fall of 2009 to acquire two earlier start-ups,” the WSJ said.

“We’ve got a hybrid consumer, and we are now a hybrid company. We’ve become more and more a technology company,” commented Paul Raines, chief executive of GameStop.

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