GameStop has had to deal with a pile-on of negative publicity thanks to the whole Deus Ex: Human Revolution OnLive coupon removal scandal from last week. The company’s mea culpa offer of a $50 gift card didn’t do much to soothe angered gamers, but perhaps today’s news will at least get them poking their head in the store again. A rumor surfaced that GameStop will carry the full lineup of iOS devices — iPad, iPhone, iPod — in stores soon. Supposedly the company announced its intentions at a recent trade show. That GameStop locations recently began accepting iOS devices for in-store credits bolsters the rumor.
If true, the official announcement may come in conjunction with the official iPhone 5 launch.
This looks a good match for both Apple and GameStop. Hardcore and casual gamers are spending more time (and money) on mobile games, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. For maximum benefit GameStop will probably have to sell more than just iOS devices. I imagine we’ll see some special App Store coupons or deals for games and an ample stock of game-enhancing accessories, such as capacitive joysticks or stuff like the iCade or Atari Arcade.
Just as with music and books, physical game stores are going to need strategies to deal with the increasing relevance of digital games. The whole OnLive debacle shows that GameStop is stumbling just as much as other retailers did in the beginning. Is this iOS device strategy enough of a course-correction?