Gamestop Doubles Down on Esports as the company seeks to cater to amateur players with partners including Complexity, OpTic and the Houston Outlaws.

Gamestop for many years was a titan in the gaming industry. Their retail presence along with the second hand market of buying and trading used games powered them to having over 7,200 locations across the globe since the company launched in 1984. They quickly became a Fortune 500 company with billions in profit each year…

Despite that success, Gamestop is now facing the same monster Blockbuster Video was in the 2000’s: A major media consumption shift.

The gaming industry is quickly going digital in the same way video did in years past. Physical games are going extinct as consoles and personal computers have access to the entire platform’s library of titles for download on various online storefronts. This raises profit margins for the game publishers, prevents second hand sales (sales that net no profit for the publishers) and gives more pricing control to the creators. All bad news for a company that finds most of it’s profit in second hand disc sales. Selling games as digital downloads via cards and codes is also going away as large platform holders like Sony have now announced plans to end digital redemption sales in totality and will direct all future business to their PSN storefront.

Unlike BlockBuster, Gamestop is aware of the changing tides and has made efforts to expand their offerings of merchandise and other products that can’t be digitized for sale. (You can’t download a toy or t-shirt now can you?)

Now it seems that esports is the next front they intend to move on. Gamestop wants to become a social hub for aspiring esports competitors by offering training and tournaments inside their retail stores. If they can bring the esports community into their storefront, it will be much easier to sell them interest aligned products.

So let’s break this down:

1.) Gamestop is teaming up with OpTic Gaming to create esports events, training sessions and special events.

The first move for Gamestop into esports is teaming up with one of the most well known esports orgs in the world, OpTic Gaming.

“For over a decade, GameStop has been an ancillary supporter both of our brand and fans. Now through this partnership, OpTic Gaming can help curate GameStop’s success in esports,” said Chris DeAppolonio, EVP – Partnerships, Infinite Esports & Entertainment. “We look forward to bringing new and exciting opportunities for the Greenwall both in and out of GameStop stores.”

“Through this partnership, we are hoping to provide access and resources to the amateur community that’s looking to learn new techniques and strategy from the very best in esports,” – Frank Hamlin, Chief Marketing Officer for GameStop.

In short, Gamestop will be rolling out tournaments, meet and greets and training sessions at Gamestop locations all themed around OpTic Gaming and their fanbase, the “Greenwall”.

2.) Gamestop has teamed up with Complexity Gaming to launch the Gamestop Performance Center.

Next up is Gamestop’s new Performance Center.

Via Nasdaq:

“The GameStop Performance Center will not only serve as a training ground for gaming clinics but will also be one of the premiere public headquarters where gamers can unite and share their passions for esports while celebrating their love for video games. Through this partnership, Complexity Gaming and GameStop will work to engage fans both locally within the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex through onsite activations, and globally via online content.

As part of today’s announcement, GameStop will be collaborating with some of the best esports teams and players in the country to create original content, by leveraging their love for gaming and expertise to help amateur gamers gain access to exclusive materials and experiential activities.”

3.) Gamestop has teamed up with the Houston Outlaws Overwatch team.

Via Nasdaq: GameStop will be bringing top-tier Overwatch instructional content to stores within Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and surrounding cities through Gaming Clinics featuring the Houston Outlaws. Fans will have newly find access to the team through a series of offline and digital events, keeping true to GameStop’s “Power to the Players” focus. Texas-Local fans of the Houston Outlaws will also have additional opportunities to engage with live matches through additional official watch parties.

“When it comes to high-level competition in the Overwatch League, it doesn’t get any better than the Houston Outlaws – and we are thrilled to partner with one of the very best esports organizations,” said Frank Hamlin, Chief Marketing Officer for GameStop. “Through this partnership, we are hoping to provide access and resources to the amateur community that’s looking to improve their skillset in the Overwatch League,” Hamlin added.

Gamestop is now poised to leverage their 7,200 locations, new training facility and high profile partnerships to make a play for the amateur esports fan and bring them into the building.

We’re excited to see this program develop and deploy. How much success it brings the transitioning corporation could say a lot about the mind share the esports sector has and how that can be physically mobilized.