Image: GameStop

Over the last several months, GameStop has been trialing 12 new concept stores in Tulsa, Oklahoma in an attempt to reinvent (and salvage) itself. GamesIndustry.biz was recently invited to provide coverage on the struggling chain’s experiments, and apparently, they seem to be working.

Gamestop’s new concept stores are “loud, bustling, and packed with people playing games” thanks to a shift to communal experiences. Instead of shelves and kiosks of pre-owned cases and collectibles, the majority of space is now reserved for activities such as LAN parties and tabletop gaming.

One of the stores features 36 gaming stations in the back, where customers can battle one another in Fortnite tournaments and win prizes. These “were almost entirely full with a wide age range of players, most of whom were participating in the event (though others were demoing titles such as Pokémon and Super Mario Maker 2),” described GamesIndustry.biz.

Image: GamesIndustry.biz

The stores also feature a couch co-op station for multiplayer gaming, as well as a community table for Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop games. What’s particularly interesting are the retro-themed store concepts, which let customers play classic arcade machines. There’s even giant, heavy CRTs available to play 8-bit and 16-bit titles as they were intended.

Image: GamesIndustry.biz

GameStop is calling its concept stores “laboratories,” but while the experiment appears to be working in terms of increasing foot traffic, it isn’t clear how they’ll translate to sales. Is anyone going to even buy anything, or will they just treat GameStop like a modern arcade?

Time will tell, but there’s no shortage of bad news for the retailer these days. Just yesterday, Polygon received news that GameStop had laid off as many as 10 district managers. This was “part of a middle-management cost-cutting exercise.”

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6 Comments

  1. Problem with Lan centers like this is about the best you can do while charging a price that will keep buts in seats is to break even. You want to make money you need to do things like Lock In’s and such for the teenagers to hang out. And I don’t think Gamestop will want to make that leap.

    Friend of mine started, ran, and closed a Lan center and his overall experience was to break even. And he was freaking good at it!

    GameWyze in Plano Tx was the name of the place. I helped build out his first gamin PC’s and they were pretty damn good.

  2. [QUOTE=”Riccochet, post: 10714, member: 4″]
    LAN’s don’t make money anymore because internet.
    [/QUOTE]

    You have to get the dollar per square foot cost ratio to the dollar per butt in seat ratio correct. DPS VS DPB.

    Ok I’m doing some arm chair number crunching here.

    Average store size is 1500 square feet. (google)
    Cost per square foot in retail strip center in Plano tx average is 1.50 per square foot. (per month.)
    Monthly cost per square foot for an average store in rent is 2250.00
    If we extrapolate that down to week it’s 519.24 (rounding)
    Divide that by 7 days a week and you get 74.18 dollars a day. (Again rounding.)
    Divide that by 14 to represent 14 open hours in a day. You get 5.30 cents an hour.
    Divide that by 18 available seats to game in and you get .30 cents an hour per seat in Retail cost.

    Employees…
    My son did some time at a game stop they pay shit for retail employees. less than 10 an hour if your a key holder/leader. And you’re lucky to get 32 hours a week. Some might say cursed.
    So lets presume an hourly employee cost of 11 dollars an hour. (insurance and other costs that Game stop has to pay)
    And lets presume 4 employees equivalent of time per store at all times. (broken up over an 14 hour work day.)
    You end up with a weekly average cost of 1,408 a week.
    A monthly cost of 6101.34 (rounding) per month.
    A daily cost of 201.15 (again rounding)
    Average hourly cost for 4 employees 14.37 (rounding)
    for an cost of .80 cents an hour.

    If stock and goods cost is three times employee cost is 3.20 cents an hour per seat on average.. That would give you a budget of 293,529.60 dollars per year for goods to cover. (Not even bringing up profit from selling goods and such.)

    And you can charge 8 dollars an hour per seat. Even offering ‘deals’ as low as 5 dollars an hour per seat and you’re still profitable. (for average cost. Peak gaming hours charge 10 an hour. Off peak charge 5 an hour.)

    This CAN be profitable. Especially if you build in some tournaments and spend a bit more on square footage to have more space and offer snacks and drinks.

    Because those = huge markup.

    I like numbers can you tell?

  3. Too little, too late. RIP Gamestop.

    All the lan/game places around me have closed down (not that I went to them, but I drive by them). You could make money doing it in 1998 but not today.

    The only way game resale shops have a chance is to go full retro. All the old stuff, maybe they build their own MAME cabinets or something. Because kids have phones and that is all they care about.

  4. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 10718, member: 215″]
    This CAN be profitable.
    [/QUOTE]

    Your missing a lot: accounting, insurance, upkeep, taxes, utilities, overhead – that will pretty much crush your numbers I fear.

    On the surface a lot of things look like they can float; it’s all the small costs you forget to account for that add up quickly. Death of a thousand cuts.

    I’m surprised anyone could even break even, that is an accomplishment.

  5. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 10725, member: 96″]
    Your missing a lot: accounting, insurance, upkeep, taxes, utilities, overhead – that will pretty much crush your numbers I fear.
    [/QUOTE]

    All that plus employee payroll. I just see no way this is a viable way to make money in 2020. Not unless the internet explodes and we all have to go back to physical media. Actually as huge as the downloads are, which are only going to get bigger, plus all the damn patches… I wouldn’t mind going back to a physical media world. I mean I have 50mb fios and it can take an entire day to download a game from PSN.

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