GameStop is hurting. Same store sales fell 5%-11% and revenue was down 17% to $2 billion. Profit fell to $72.5 million. Arguably, those are still huge numbers and presumably a new console refresh should push the company out of the doldrums. But what the company has just launched – a new MVNO called GameStop Mobile – is almost inexplicable.
GameStop Mobile is, in short, an unlimited voice with limited data offering for $55 a month (down to $20 a month for pay-as-you-go plans.) GameStop is just selling SIM cards and service and is running on AT&T’s network with some notable dead spots.
The stores actually do take trade-in electronics so, potentially, the company could begin selling unlocked GSM phones to customers who come in for games. Because of the intended audience – kids and the adults who bring them as well as a few die-hards who aren’t yet into PC gaming – it makes some sense for this service to exist.
The synergy also opens AT&T to new markets and, more important, places GameStop right at the nexus of mobile and gaming – a place it absolutely needs to be once future consoles stop accepting optical media.
However, with revenue down and hard-core gamers moving to services like Origin and Steam, there is little impetus for folks to trek out to the local GameStop for titles. Here’s hoping this latest attempt at monetizing the audience works as well as their midnight launches of Diablo III.