GameStop Finds Exec To Handle Digital Media--Downloads To Come?

GameStop Finds Exec To Handle Digital Media--Downloads To Come?

It's the signs of a changing world. Changing demands. Changing norms. And a changing face of gaming. It's the digital era, and it's officially being ushered in at GameStop. While many tied to the brick-and-mortar gaming industry have wondered just how they'd cope with the increasing demand from gamers to have new titles "on-demand," GameStop is staying one step ahead of the curve. Of course, when you see just how far Blockbuster has fallen now that Netflix has entered the picture, you can better understand the company's desire to keep up with the times.

The self-proclaimed "world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer" has today chosen Chris Petrovic to fill a newly created role and a gaping void within the company: General Manager of Digital Media. According to the company, Mr. Petrovic will be serving as the principal leader of GameStop’s digital strategy. What exactly does that mean? We'll tell you...or, actually, we'll let GameSpot tell you:

"He will be responsible for building on the company’s ongoing efforts to integrate digital media into the company’s multi-channel strategy, as well as overseeing the development and execution of a digital acquisition strategy. This includes leveraging the company’s unique and distinctive relationship with customers in-store, online and around the globe to drive driving digital sales through more than 6,200 domestic and international stores and on its Web sites: gamestop.com and gameinformer.com."

Daniel DeMatteo, Chief Executive Officer, GameStop, had this to say about the creation of the new role:

"As the digital world of gaming and entertainment evolves, GameStop is well positioned to do what it does best – help create markets. This includes identifying and effectively participating in emerging trends in casual, browser and mobile gaming. While we are currently one of the leaders in the online PC game retail space through our recently relaunchedGameStop Casual Digital Store, we are also committed to supporting our unique and vast footprint of brick and mortar stores and knowledgeable associates with a smart digital business platform."

It's not hard to read between the line here. GameStop is preparing for an all-war war with digital media, but rather than fighting against it, it's hoping to join sides. There may come a day where actually going to a store to buy the newest Halo at midnight is old fashioned. And that day may be arriving sooner rather than later. With Microsoft opening an Xbox game download store later this year, it's only a matter of time before everyone else follows suit. Before long, the newest titles will be available to download directly to one's console; heck, that's already the way it works in the PC realm thanks to outlets such as Steam.



On a somewhat more comedic note, GameStop is yanking this bigwig from a rather interesting place: Playboy. Yes, that Playboy. Prior to landing this gig, Mr. Petrovic has had over ten years in senior management/digital operations at various firms, the most recent of which was VP of Digital Media at Playboy Enterprises. Hey, at least this guy won't be afraid to try new things, right?

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I'm not rating GameStop's chances of surviving in this venue very high.

Here's the problem: The publishers, who currently love GS for peddling their boxes, are going to be competing *against* GS in this same market. Publishers will want to do their own digital distribution, because otherwise they reduce their value to the development studios incredibly.

In that world, development houses that are financially sound could just start dealing with GS directly and save all that middle-man money.

So, look for publishers to ****-block these 3rd party digital distribution schemes (by not working with GS et al and only shipping boxed games) until they have their own solutions firmly entrenched.

I don't think Mr. Petrovic's Playboy experience is going to translate well at all, because his previous company was producing all of their own content.

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