OK, we talked about the GameStop of the future, and I finally the Palo Alto store as I had hoped many weeks ago. Since GameStop is at ground zero for both the changes in gaming and the way companies adapt to them, I wanted to go see what they were doing in their Store Of The Future.
Here's my impressions
The Store: The store didn't seem to different from the other new GameStops I'd visited, except for some layout changes – with more emphasis on areas for gaming competition and demos. It's nice and maneuverable, and feels like it's meant to "be in."
The Personnel: At least in the Bay Area, I find GameStop personnel are pretty good to spectacularly good at their jobs. There are GameStops I enjoy visiting just to chat with people. The people at this Game Stop were friendly, witty, and knowledgeable.
The Stock: The stock was good, with a small but nice PC section and plenty of hardware. Nothing that really stood out from other good GameStops.
The DLC: There are DLC cards here that one can pick up, along with other games, take home, and enter a code to get DLC. That actually sounds sort of useless when you say it – but in the store, seeing the cards next to other games and among other redemption cards, specifically branded, it's shockingly effective. The low prices (displayed prominently) were rather inspiring. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the DLC-at-a-store could be effective – it's certainly convenient.
The In-Store Tech: Handy kiosks are available for you to look up games, check your store card balance, get recommendations, and even scan games to get reviews and videos. This is neat and handy, but not exactly something that stands out. It's meant to be used by heavy regulars, but probably needs more features to really make it something that enthuses people.
The Events: The store was clearly going to have – and build on – various events over time.
What's my overall impression? Is GameStop going to save itself with these stores? Or is this a waste of time? Or something else?
My overall take was that GameStop's Stores of the Future are A) a work in progress, and B) fairly obviously part of a larger plan to expand GameStop and keep it relevant to gaming in the future. It's not the solution. It's not finished. It is a sign of progress.
– Steven Sava