My love-hate relationship with GameStop
I’ve been shopping at GameStop (previously EB Games through 2005) since I was fairly young. Back in the day, GameStop was THRIVING. The stores were always packed full of gamers trading in their old games and controllers for that sweet, sweet store credit. Of course I loved (and frankly still love) trading in old stuff I don’t play anymore to get credit toward a new purchase, but what I’ve always loved about GameStop is the camaraderie; walking in and chatting with the “regulars” at the store about games we love, and just about life in general. I have made countless friends at GameStop stores over the years, and that’s something I don’t want to go away. Sadly, or maybe not, it doesn’t look like GameStop is going to be around much longer. Here’s why I have mixed feelings on this.
As a corporation, GameStop has been known to treat their employees poorly. I have seen this firsthand countless times. While you may have a great store or district manager for a while, a bad one inevitably takes over due to constant turnover within the company. I watched someone very close to me slide into despair after a terrible store manager took over. This manager framed my friend, causing them to lose their job. Karma hit pretty soon after when the store manager was terminated for harassment, but that’s beside the point. If you follow the YouTube gaming community at all, you’ve probably heard of Camelot331, a content creator who has been openly vocal about his time as an employee at GameStop. I highly recommend you check out his videos for more on how GameStop treats its employees and customers. He said it best in this video: “You can’t treat your associates like crap, you can’t treat your customers like crap, and you can’t treat your shareholders like crap; you do all those things, you ain’t gonna exist.”
Recently, GameStop’s stock price has been tanking at an alarming rate (it’s currently sitting at just over $3 per share). A letter with some alarming news was sent to GameStop employees and has since been leaked on Twitter; the company laid off more than 50 “field leaders,” which includes regional and district managers. Their reason for doing so? To save on costs, obviously. “These decisions are not easy, but necessary to help us reduce costs to enable investment in revenue-driving initiatives that will help grow the business once again.” Basically, GameStop is on their last leg and they are resorting to laying people off in order to increase profits. My prediction? GameStop will exist for three more years, if they are lucky. How does this make me feel? Honestly? Very sad.
I don’t want GameStop to go under. There are still a lot of amazing people who work there, and I don’t want those people to lose their jobs. It makes me sad because GameStop wasn’t always this way. From what I hear, working there used to be a positive experience. Now, even shopping there is kind of depressing. Stores that were once filled with customers on a Friday night are now all but empty. Most people will blame GameStop’s demise on digital sales, but it’s been proven time and time again that physical games are still relevant and some people are not ready or willing to commit to digital games exclusively. Here’s how I see it - if it’s a game I really love, I want to have it in my hands and on my shelf. I want that beautiful steelbook case with the art book. I want to do this for as long as I possibly can, because eventually physical games will be no more - I just think that date is a lot further off than people think. If GameStop raised their trade-in values and lowered their prices on new games, even by just $5, it would help them hang on a little longer. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be adapting in 2019; again, you cannot treat your customers and employees like garbage and expect them to keep coming back, especially when you aren’t offering lower prices. You have to give people a reason to come to your store rather than order the game they want on Amazon. I think the eventual demise of GameStop will be good for mom-and-pop game shops, and that is definitely a good thing. On that note, check out Red Bandana in Milford.