In a recent interview with Fortune, GameStop chief executive Paul Raines said that he believes that disc-based games are always going to coexist with the digital copies, and that VR will follow the same marketing strategy.
He discussed the retailer’s approach to handling the rapid increase of digital sales, and the impact it has on the business model for GameStop.
Digital sales made up $948 million of GameStop’s $9.3 billion in revenue in 2014, with the retailer owning approximately 42% of the shares in the downloadable games market last year.
‘Disc-based games will be around forever,’ he said. ‘The market has seen physical music sales down 50% from its peak and physical movie sales down 60% from its peak, but even in a doomsday scenario, disc-based games will be around for a long time.’
‘I see a complimentary business where we sell discs plus download like the current console mode. Virtual reality games will also likely follow this model.’
DLC has already made a place for itself within GameStop’s sales, and they are therefore ready for the increase in digital copies. Just this year, GameStop reported the growth of their digital business us up by 11%, largely due to The Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight downloadable content.
‘We have a pretty healthy digital business, which includes downloadable content (DLC) for PC and console games, full game downloads, Steam points cards and currencies, and casual games site Kongregate’s online and mobile games sales. We see that as a $1 billion business this year.’
Digital copies will indeed still play an important role in the video games industry, as the demand for special editions and rooms that look like this still exists. However, the need for actual stores is more of a case of delaying the inevitable, something that Blockbuster learned the hard way after the online explosion for films and TV series.