We went shopping at GameStop and saw why it's struggling in a new era for video games

Katie Canales/Business InsiderGameStop’s gaming software sales have been slipping for a while now.

GameStop announced in a press release on Tuesday that it is no longer looking to sell the company due to a “lack of available financing on terms that would be commercially acceptable to a prospective acquiror.”

The announcement comes after the gaming store’s board of directors initially began looking for potential buyers in June.

Following Tuesday’s announcement, GameStop’s shares plummeted more than 27%.

The company has been struggling in recent years. At the beginning of the month, it reported that sales were down 5% in the nine-week holiday period, and its game software sales have slipped.

The company recently sold its Spring Mobile business, raking in approximately $US735 million, according to a press release. The company is also still searching for a full-time CEO after former CEO Michael Mauler resigned for personal reasons in May, after three months on the job.

We visited a GameStop location in San Francisco, California, on the day that the board announced it is no longer selling the company.

Here’s what it was like.


We went to a GameStop store near San Francisco’s Union Square, a shopping center often frequented by locals and tourists alike.

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Life-sized characters filled the windows.

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We stopped in around 6 p.m. on a weeknight, and the store was fairly filled with customers.

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Upon entering, we saw a banner incentivizing trading in games and saving money in the process.

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Stacks of pre-owned games priced under $US20 sat nearby.

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Games designed for Xbox were displayed next to them.

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There was a “two for $US20” deal on all pre-owned games, for Xbox as well as for PlayStation, priced at $US14.99 and under.

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In the Xbox section were both new and pre-owned games. The prices varied depending on how new the game was.

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The store has long relied upon its customer base trading in games for new ones.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThis pre-owned ‘Halo 4’ game, which was released in 2012, was priced at $US4.99 in-store.

Source: IGN and Fortune


But with the advent of downloadable games, like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR,” priced in-store for $US59.99, customers can buy and play from their homes.

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Microsoft and Sony, as well as Netflix, also offer game-streaming services. Over time that will likely translate to fewer physical games coming and going through GameStop.

Source: Fortune


A sign promoting 75% savings on gaming accessories, like a universal component cable, was displayed next to the @Play products.

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New game controllers, like this Dualshock 4 wireless controller, were displayed. This one was priced at $US64.99.

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This PlayStation Scuf Vantage controller was more expensive, at $US169.99.

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And this multi-console compatible headset by Cloud Stinger Core was priced at $US49.99.

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An island of smart home devices, which included Roku products, sat near the controllers.

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There were some interactive installations, like this “Kingdom Hearts” social media exhibit where participants could win a contest.

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And full consoles, like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, sat on glass counters.

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The PlayStation section was on the opposite side of the store from the Xbox department.

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Next to the games were notices for Power Up Rewards members to receive twice the amount of points on purchases.

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A sign advertising virtual currency to use in-game for “Battlefield V” hung next to the downloadable games.

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Overall, the store was very organised and clean, and the discounts were clearly marked.

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GameStop regularly has weekly deals, so there weren’t any outrageous markdowns …

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… but downstairs was a bit messier.

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Attached to this GameStop was a ThinkGeek, the retail store supplying pop culture enthusiasts with knick-knacks inspired by their favourite games and movies. GameStop acquired it in 2015.

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Source: TechCrunch


There were markdowns in every one of ThinkGeek’s sections.

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There were T-shirts on sale for $US10.

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Some of the T-shirts sported details from “The Incredibles” movies or the popular video game “Fortnite.”

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There was a “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” deal for these Yu-Gi-Oh! characters.

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And then in a corner was a messy clearance section.

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There was an additional 50% off of all clearance items.

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There were “Overwatch” action figures …

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… a “Call of Duty” card game …

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… and a Fingerlings T-Rex toy.

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The messy ThinkGeek downstairs section aside, GameStop’s setup was easy to manoeuvre, and everything was in its rightful place.

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There were even posters advertising new game launches in the coming months, like the first-person shooter game “Far Cry New Dawn” …

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… and Tom Clancy’s “The Division 2,” which will be available March 15.

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