Today [02/12/20] I’m reading GameInformer’s October 2019 issue. The note from the editor is interesting, for once, in the way you rubberneck at a carcrash. That’s because there were massive layoffs. Q2 2019 GameStop (GameInformer’s publisher) reported a 14+% loss and vowed to close 200 stores worldwide.
And that’s a big deal because GameStop is — especially in the United States — the chain. They bought out most chains and slapped on a GameStop logo years ago; the total transformation of videogame retail has been over for a decade.
I remember specifically 7 writers of a total of 120 employees were let go.
But back to the issue. —
This issue, at first touch, felt like it had been printed in a hurry with lower quality material. Colors ran; paragraphs weren’t justified correctly.
The feature articles are the bulk of the thin magazine. Pay no attention to how fighters have moved on from Street Fighter after two bad entries; or the “Tackling Infinite Expectations” interview with Sean Murray of No Man’s Sky infamy. Because we’re here for the footwear and jeans and college ads.
(The December 2019 issue has ads for cellphone plans, alcohol — not rated by the ESRB, and a naked baby with a full back tattoo and mohawk?)Speaking of small complaints, here’s a much bigger one: I dug for info about GameStop and I found their average wage is $8.35 per hour. That’s their average. The federal minimum wage is $7.35 per hour. For the sake of math, that’s only $1 above the federal minimum. $0.20 lower than Ohio’s minimum at $8.55. And that’s… really not a lot.
Got me thinking: paying someone minimum wage… isn’t minimum wage if you don’t give them full time hours. GameStop is infamous for attracting younger high school kids who can’t work full time and promising them a fast ladder to management. And even if you’re a manager you don’t get paid a lot; there’s only room for one manager per store.
If you do some thinking yourself, GameStop pushing their used games sales is what forced publishers to go digital.
GameStop led the Gold Rush on used copies. 100% of each sale on a used copy is pure profit because unlike a new sale you don’t have to pay per-copy licensing fees. (Or simply, you don’t have to order more copies.) It’s public knowledge that after a game’s release, if you take a mint copy off the shelf they will take a used copy out of their cabinets, slap in on the counter and say “it’s cheaper.” and they can afford to do so.
Go figure, after years of the biggest retailer cutting publishers at the ankles they would attempt to cut GameStop out of the loop entirely.
Years ago we would say things like “Where would we go for games if the biggest chain goes out of business?” and “What will happen to videogames if the biggest physical retailer shuts down?” but I’m beginning to think the rest of the games industry wants this.
The console producers’ marketplaces are set up; all the major developers have their own stores; it’s not like the indies were going to be able to afford physical copies or pay extra for shelf space at a GameStop in the first place.
Hold on! GameStops are closing because of their abuse to not only their employees but to the industry. Oh. See, when you frame it like that GameStop makes it difficult to care if they vanish in smoke.
At the time of writing this rant, I’m only halfway through the magazine. I’ve hit the part about Ghost Recon Breakpoint and my eyes are drooping.