GameStop


GameStop
GameStop Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NYSEGME
Industry Retail
Founded 1984 as Babbage's
Dallas, Texas, United States
Headquarters Grapevine, Texas, United States
Number of locations 6,450 (2009)[1]
Area served Worldwide
Key people R. Richard Fontaine[2]
(Chairman International)
Daniel DeMatteo[3]
(Executive chairman)
J. Paul Raines[3]
(CEO)
Products Video games
Consoles
Accessories
Revenue increase US$ 9.078 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income decrease US$ 637 million (2009)[1]
Net income decrease US$ 377 million (2009)[1]
Total assets increase US$ 4.955 billion (2009)[1]
Total equity increase US$ 2.723 billion (2009)[1]
Employees 17,000 full-time (2009)[1]
Divisions GameStop
EB Games
Babbage's
Micromania
MovieStop
Kongregate
Game Informer
Impulse
Website GameStop.com

GameStop Corporation (NYSEGME) is an American video game and entertainment software retailer. The company, whose headquarters is in Grapevine, Texas, United States,[4] operates 6,500 retail stores throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and in the United Kingdom. GameStop opened around 400 new stores for the 2009 business year.[5]

The company operates retail stores under the names GameStop, EB Games, Babbage's, Software ETC, Micromania, MovieStop, Planet X and FuncoLand. In addition, the company runs three e-commerce websites (GameStop.com, EBgames.com and ImpulseDriven.com), Flash game site Kongregate,[6] Jolt Online Gaming,[7] and Game Informer magazine, GameStop's proprietary video and computer game publication. In addition to video and computer games, GameStop sells magazines, strategy guides, and other related merchandise. In the fiscal year ending May 2010, 48.1% of GameStop's profits came from the sale of used video game products.[8]

Contents

History

Logo of retailer Software, Etc. on a 5.25" floppy disk branded by the company

GameStop traces its roots to Babbage's, a small software retailer that started in Dallas, Texas in 1984. The movements that made Babbage's into GameStop started in 1994 with a series of mergers between Babbage's and several other software retailers. in 1994.[9] A merger with FuncoLand stores (who owned Game Informer magazine) followed in 2000, as well as one with Electronics Boutique in 2005. Internationally, there was a merger with the Gamesworld franchise in Ireland and in the United Kingdom in 2008, and a merger with French-based Micromania.[citation needed]

When Babbage's first merged with Software Etc. in 1994 [9] the combined company was named NeoStar Retail, but the two halves continued to operate as if they were separate entities.

The combined management of the newly formed entity developed a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. This ultimately caused NeoStar to go into Chapter 11 reorganization in early fall of 1996. At this point the company had approximately 800 stores in the United States. Several potential buyers of NeoStar's assets emerged.

On the last day of the manager's conference there was a special guest during the meeting. Leonard Riggio, the head of Barnes & Noble, announced that he and a group of investors were going to put in place the financing to keep the company afloat, and get new merchandise into the stores in time for Christmas (at this point, the company's creditors were owed so much back revenue that they were no longer shipping anything to NeoStar).

In a personal comment during the address, Riggio stated that he "hated" the name NeoStar Retail, and thought that the merged Babbage's/Software Etc. should have been called Babbage's Etc. He said should his buyout bid be successful that the company would be renamed.[citation needed]

From the potential buyers, the judge desired to accept the offer from the one that would keep the most people working, preserve the most competition and consumer choice, and be the most stable. Ultimately, Riggio's offer was accepted on the day before Thanksgiving. Barnes & Noble, through B. Dalton, was the original owner of Software Etc. A new management team largely composed of former Software Etc. executives and long time associates of Len Riggio was put in place to run Babbage's.[citation needed]

On November 12, 2004, GameStop spun off from Barnes & Noble; at that point the company had approximately 800 stores in the United States. Due to Riggio's involvement, GameStop and Barnes & Noble employees still received employee discounts at each others' stores, despite the companies being completely separate; both companies chose to terminate this arrangement on September 1, 2010.[citation needed]

In October 2009 Leonard Riggio, chairman of the board at Barnes & Noble and director at GameStop sold 2.3 million shares of GameStop for $60.2 million. Riggio still retains 9.1 million shares in the game retailer.[citation needed]

1996 closures

On November 29, 1996, approximately 100 Babbage's and Software Etc. stores closed their doors. The remaining merchandise from these stores was shipped to 100 of the remaining stores that would participate in a massive "going out of business" sale throughout December. These 100 stores would close for the last time on Christmas Eve, and all merchandise left would be shipped back to corporate headquarters by New Year's Eve. The company would be pared back to about 600 of its best performing stores.[citation needed]

Merger with EB Games

On April 18, 2005, GameStop and EB Games announced that they had entered into a "definitive agreement and plan of merger". After shareholders and US regulatory agencies approved the merger, it closed on October 10 of that year with the agreement that the companies would be run separately, but not as they had been in the past. To ease the transition process of the two companies being run as one, it was agreed upon that the two separate entities would not merge operating activities until the new fiscal year which starts February 1; this also included maintaining two separate distribution centers. At the beginning of the following year, operating activities of the two companies was integrated, starting with the realignment of districts and the closure of EB's West Chester, PA corporate office.[citation needed]

Acquisition of Rhino Video Games

On January 4, 2007, GameStop Corp. officially purchased Rhino Video Games from Blockbuster and the stores were renamed GameStop during a remodel period lasting through late Spring 2007.[citation needed]

Acquisition of Spawn Labs and Impulse

On March 31, 2011, it was announced that GameStop Corp. acquired the peer-to-peer playing service, Spawn Labs, and the game distribution platform, Impulse from Stardock.[10]

Acquisitions in other countries

Norway

On April 6, 2008, GameStop Corp. officially purchased 51 stores from the Dutch entertainment company Free Record Shop. Throughout the summer of 2008, most of the stores were rebranded to GameStop.[11]

France

In October 2008, GameStop announced it would purchase France’s leading video-game retailer, Micromania, from the L Capital equity fund for $708 million, including debt.[12] The purchase of Micromania added 332 locations (boosting locations in Europe to 1,077 total) and expanded GameStop into France for the first time. It was announced that Micromania President Directeur General Pierre Cuilleret would keep his current post.[13][dead link] GameStop financed the purchase with cash on hand, credit, and $150 million loan from Bank of America.[14][dead link]

This acquisition took place in November 2008.[citation needed]

Other brands and concepts

Game Informer

Game Informer is a magazine owned by GameStop, Inc. and primarily sold through subscriptions which can be purchased at GameStop locations. Purchasing a subscription to the magazine also gets the subscriber the PowerUp Rewards card, GameStop's customer appreciation card. This increases all store-credit trade values by 10%, discounts all used accessories and games by 10%, gives new PowerUp members a coupon for 'Buy 2 Get 1 Free' on pre-owned games / accessories, enters them twice for the Epic Rewards Givaway for each purchase, gives the cardholder opportunities to gain points with their purchases and redeem them for rewards and gains them access to special content on the Game Informer website.

Trade-ins

GameStop sells used games that are traded in by customers for store credit or currency (20% less than credit ).[15] This practice has recently come under fire from game publishers and developers as they make no money from these sales.[16]

GameStop TV

GameStop TV is the in-store television network run by GameStop in partnership with CBS Outdoor.[17] GameStop TV features programming designed to speak to the consumers shopping in GameStop stores. Each month brings content segments about upcoming video game releases, interviews, tips and tricks as well as lifestyle content provided by CBS.

Pre-order bonuses

Game Publishers have begun to obtain more pre-orders by including exclusive in-game bonuses, available only if the player pre-ordered the game. Bonuses typically include extras such as exclusive characters, weapons and maps. For example, GameStop included an additional avatar costume for Call of Duty: Black Ops when it was released in November 2010, and a pictorial Art-Folio for Metroid: Other M. Soundtracks, artbooks, plushies, figurines, posters, t-shirts, etc. have also been provided as pre-order bonuses.

Criticism

Gutted/Opened Copies of Game Titles

The company has a policy where new games upon release are "gutted."[18] This means that while sealed copies of the new release are kept behind the counter, one copy is opened and put on display to be advertised, with the game filed behind the counter. Consumers may reach for the opened copy and purchase at the counter whereupon the consumer will receive a factory-sealed copy from behind the counter. If the opened copy is the last copy of the new game, it is sold at regular price.

GameStop's check out policy allows employees "to check out one item of store merchandise for personal use for up to four days", with the intent being to allow the employee to evaluate the game and learn about its content. When returned by the employee, the game that had been "checked out" is repackaged and sold as a new item, although it has already been used. The Federal Trade Commission may be in the process of investigating the selling of gutted and check out games as new to determine if any laws were broken.[19][20]

GameStop came under fire from critics when customers discovered that content had been removed from the original packaging of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.[21][22][23] Gamestop had instructed employees to remove coupons for a free copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution on OnLive, an online digital distributor service, a value of $50. Gamestop stated that the coupon promoted a competitor of one of its subsidiaries, Spawn Labs and Impulse, which it had recently acquired in April of 2011.[21] Later, the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution was removed entirely from the store.[24]

Used Games Market

Gamestop has frequently been criticized by game developers and publishers for the retailing of used game titles.[25] By reselling used copies at a small discount on the same shelf space as new copies of the game, it is argued that Gamestop is taking profits directly from organizations such as developers and publishers which are solely dependent on their intellectual property for revenue. The motion picture industry prohibits selling second-hand copies of films in the same retail space as new, full-priced copies of films, but for the game industry there are no such established protections. In effect, this means that companies such as GameStop can resell used copies of a game within days of the title's release and keep all of the profit, thereby cutting directly into the critical initial sales which would otherwise go to publishers and developers.

As a contrast, Digital distribution methods such as Valve Software's Steam and Microsoft's Games for Windows – Live allow users to download and use an instance (copy) of a game title that is unique to that particular user without the physical media that can be resold. Based on factors such as purchase time frame and the user's geographical location, games purchased through digital distribution methods may or may not be less expensive than physical copies purchased at brick and mortar retail stores.

See also

Portal icon Companies portal
Portal icon Dallas portal

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "2009 Form 10-K, GameStop Corporation". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326380/000095012310030164/d70778e10vk.htm. 
  2. ^ "GameStop Management". GameStop Corporation. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=130125&p=irol-govboard. Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  3. ^ a b "GameStop Announces Key Executive Promotions" (Press release). GameStop. June 2, 2010. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=130125&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1433525&highlight=. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  4. ^ "Contact Us." GameStop. Retrieved on December 8, 2009.
  5. ^ http://www.retailerdaily.com/entry/49720/gamestop-400-new-stores/
  6. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gamestop-announces-agreement-to-acquire-kongregate-inc-2010-07-27 GameStop Announces Agreement to Acquire Kongregate Inc.
  7. ^ http://www.next-gen.biz/news/gamestop-acquires-jolt-online-gaming
  8. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gamestop-reports-record-2010-first-quarter-sales-and-earnings-2010-05-20
  9. ^ a b Jones, Kathryn (August 26, 1994). "COMPANY NEWS; Two Software Peers Combine Their Specialties". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10A13FB3B5D0C758EDDA10894DC494D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fC%2fCD%2dROM%20%28Compact%20Disk%2dRead%20Only%20Memory%29. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/31/gamestop-acquires-game-streaming-startup-spawn-labs-and-distribution-platform-impulse/
  11. ^ http://kotaku.com/374039/gamestop-buys-norways-free-record-shop GameStop Buys Norway’s Free Record Shop
  12. ^ "France: Gamestop Acquires Chain". The New York Times. October 2, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/business/worldbusiness/02fobriefs-GAMESTOPACQU_BRF.html?_r=1&ref=technology&oref=slogin. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  13. ^ . http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/10/01/ap5493728.html. [dead link]
  14. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081001/tc_nm/us_micromania_gamestop
  15. ^ Henry. "GameStopping". 3xGamer. http://3xgamer.com/2009/10/gamestop-pilot/. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  16. ^ Reisinger, Don (November 16, 2010). "Dev: Used games sales are 'destructive' to the industry". cnet. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20022957-17.html. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  17. ^ "GameStop TV". https://www.cbsoutdoor.com/media/gamestoptv/. 
  18. ^ "Joystiq - Gamestop shenanigans sell open games as 'new'". AOL Inc. http://www.joystiq.com/2007/03/25/gamestop-shenanigans-sell-open-games-as-new/. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  19. ^ "Kotaku - GameStop Sells Played Games As New, Sources Say, Practice Could Be Illegal". Kotaku. http://www.joystiq.com/2007/03/25/gamestop-shenanigans-sell-open-games-as-new/. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  20. ^ "Joystiq - GameStop's employee checkout policy may be illegal". AOL Inc. http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/10/gamestops-employee-checkout-policy-may-be-illegal/. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  21. ^ a b Gamestop Confirms Removing OnLive Coupons from 'Deus Ex'
  22. ^ GameStop intentionally removing Deus Ex OnLive coupons from retail PC copies
  23. ^ GameStop opening Deus Ex boxes, removing free game code
  24. ^ "GameStop responds to Deus Ex controversy by pulling it from shelves". Ars Technica. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/08/gamestop-responds-to-deus-ex-controversy-removes-game-from-shelves.ars. 
  25. ^ Developers Respond to GameStop's Used Games Market Comments

External links


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