And the bomb has officially dropped. Except, there's a second bomb:
The company also revealed today that it is set to launch its own brand of Android gaming tablet, which will be classed as a "GameStop certified gaming platform."
The iOS device move is pretty conventional, seemingly. It's a very popular piece of hardware, there is a gigantic asston (now an official unit of measurement) of units out there, and letting people trade them in for credit at Gamestop is another way for Gamestop to print money.
The second boom, though, is much more interesting.
In a business climate where fewer and fewer games are coming out for consoles, that should theoretically mean lower profits from used game sales. Plus, every console released in the future will have substantial amounts of content released via digital distribution, which can't be sold back to Gamestop for $.25 on the dollar.
If you look at the picture as a whole, the future doesn't look bright for buying and selling used shiny discs. In fact, in software terms, it doesn't look like "used" has any future whatsoever.
Clearly, Gamestop is unwilling to sit back and drift slowly to the bottom of the sea as these various large anchors land on the deck of their golden ship. They purchased Impulse five months ago, and now they're to have a Gamestop-branded tablet.
It's quite forward thinking of them. It could also, obviously, turn out to be a total disaster.
Gamestop is a one-trick pony, but that pony prints money. Their knitting is buying used crap that other people made and selling it for much more than they paid for it. They've stuck to this knitting quite successfully-- incredibly successfully, really. Now they want to move into the business of making shit? It's like trying to transition from pawn shops to selling new televisions. What's the difficulty of that on a 1 to 10 scale--15?
It's very brave, and I'd say "even if they wind up with an arrow in their chest", but that's mixing metaphors. It's clear, though, that the future--the 5+ year future--doesn't really have Gamestop in it, at least not in its current incarnation. So dipping their toe (back to the water) in the future is a very, very good idea.
Look, this may all totally fail, but I give them credit for not standing idly by while the future hits them in the face.