GameStop recently announced plans to redesign many of its store locations and implement a retro gaming design, local e-leagues, with the possibility of trying new games before they're purchased. Bt partnering with marketing company R/GA, the store hopes to reinvent itself as an immersive, communal experience in the wake of years of financial struggle caused by the rising popularity of digital downloads and online sales.
In theory, this idea could certainly work. Firstly, nostalgia has been a huge selling point in all forms of media, especially when it comes to gaming. When Nintendo released its NES Classic Edition back in 2016, the console flew off shelves and it was almost impossible to find one online or in stores for months. Similarly, older games that sold well when originally released, such as THQ's 2005 hit, Destroy All Humans, are constantly being remade with updated graphics for present-day consoles. Gamers love revisiting titles that they enjoyed when they were younger, so there is certainly an argument for why people would love a new GameStop concept with a retro theme.
Secondly, providing local gamers with a location to form their own e-Sports teams and meet other players who enjoy the same titles could give people a reason to set down their headsets and head over to their local GameStop. With the addition of local tournaments and the possibility of highlighting one's skills in front of an audience, this could certainly be a feature that may attract more gamers, especially considering that most areas don't have a place that functions like this.
For years now, GameStop has been known mostly for giving gamers ridiculously low prices on titles they wanted to trade in, and that's about it. Though the company experienced steady growth and high profits in the mid-to-late 2000s, it has struggled to stay afloat in recent years. Because of this, GameStop has been trying to reinvent itself for some time now, and it may have finally figured out a way.
Community has always been a core element of gaming, and if each city were given a central hub where they can celebrate that core element, it may not just be good for GameStop shareholders, but for gaming as a whole. It's too early to say if these new store concepts will be a success or not, but it would be nice to see GameStop make a comeback and reinsert itself into a relevant spot within the world of video games.