The fall of Gamestop

Wonder if it’s the one I’m thinking of in Stockholm. Prices are usually OK to woof but the owner is real nice to chat to and is always curious about how our collection is growing.

On the flip side: I’ll never forget when my partner came to visit me and I drove him to the only local non-chain game shop I had near me…only to find out it had gone out of business like, weeks before. Incredible luck, that.

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GameShop, right? It’s, well, the only one left, innit. (ʼCourse, there are still some quite pleasant second-hand stores that incidentally happen to also carry games – Stockholms Serie–och Skivhandel comes to mind – but that’s another sort of dealio.)

Me, I wish I’d visited TV-spelsbörsen while I had the chance. I used to get GBA games there as a wee little tyke, but I didn’t know the name of the place, so I never actually went there in my teens – and then it closed. Feels a bit like I missed out on history there – that could’ve been to me as Tradition (in Gamla Stan) was to RPG geeks in the ʼ80s.

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These days GameStops are either liminal spaces or hot-topic but with 20% more funkopops, no in-between.

One thing that kinda sucks about Gamestop’s trajectory in recent years is that I feel like you can’t really buy into a console mid-generation anymore and just pick up a bunch of used games for super cheap anymore. There’s a local used games/movies chain that does pretty well for itself, but it’s not really how it used to be. Not really competitive with ebay for me and the standards are arguably lower. Maybe I just miss there being big shelves of Gamecube and PS2 games for cheap and haven’t kept up with the times, I dunno.

I can’t say I really mourn the company much. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with Gamestop over the years. When I bought a PS4 I went with a “refurbished” one through them and it straight up wouldn’t work with controllers. Kind of a dealbreaker. They didn’t even have stock on hand to replace it for me, so I had to drive 40 minutes away to get a working one from another store. At that point, why bother with brick and mortar?

My most recent experience with them was finding out they were the cheapest online for 4090s, buying one, and then finding out after the fact that they were actually on back order. After they’d taken my money. Like, I had to contact support to get them to tell me that they didn’t actually have it despite the site saying it’d ship in 1-3 days. I would be annoyed if it was a regular video game, but I feel like doing it with something that expensive is legitimately nuts.

The decline is real but man they were always doing something that sucked. It’s just that dealing with the upselling and membership pushing makes even less sense now that they can’t compete with digital sales and big box stores. I mean, even for the figures they sell, their selection is worse than Target and Walmart. They’re not even doing collectibles in a way that makes sense.

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