It seems the video game industry is headed towards a world of digital downloads, as the recent past – full titles on the PSN and Xbox Live, the announcement of the UMD-less PSP Go, etc. – indicates, but GameStop says they're not worried…well, not for about five years, anyway.
During a recent IndustryGamers interview with GameStop's Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, the biggest game retailer in the world "has been conducting thorough studies on the capabilities of digital downloads and its potential adoption for several years now…" Not surprisingly, the findings fall in favor of the brick-and-mortar stores for now, and Bhatia further estimates that the digital download market won't infringe upon the GameStop goldmine until 2014. That is when he believes about "25% of the population" will have easy access to this new fandangled technology and, more importantly, when price and storage capacity are no longer major obstacles. It's good to know that GameStop is being proactive in their approach to this shift in the industry, which requires constant adaptation from many who are involved in what used to be a "kid's hobby." The only question is, are Bhatia's estimates correct? Furthermore, if they are, what will happen in five years? How will GameStop assimilate to the retail landscape, which will have forever changed?
For our part, despite our many gripes with GameStop, we'd find it very strange to live in a world without that retailer. Heck, we'd just stop going to malls entirely, wouldn't we? I mean, who cares about The Gap?