Game stores everywhere are dying

Photo by Wikimedia Commons, used with permission

Photo by Wikimedia Commons, used with permission

Once upon a time, kids of all ages would go to a game store to purchase a new title that was released, whether it be a new sports game, the recently released shooter, a new platformer that’s been all the rage or a spin off on their favorite movie franchise. However, these same kids are instead leaning towards the convenience and luxury of buying that same game online, directly from stores built into their console, than the conventional retail store.

For example, if someone recently went out and bought the new XBox or Playstation, he could purchase a game online and have the game directly downloaded into the console’s memory. Then, the user can easily uninstall the game if they ever want to free up memory space. Additionally, every game that is deleted is conveniently ready for reinstallation if the user ever wants to play that game again, without any extra payment or consequences.

Despite costing the same amount of money, there are numerous advantages for consumers to purchase their game online and not at a game store. For example, buying a game online allows for the buyer to avoid driving to a game store specifically to get a game, having to talk to employees who may try to sell you something you don’t want or encountering any type of human error that may worsen the experience.

However, one of the biggest reasons to buy a game online is that you do not have to deal with keeping, maintaining and storing a disc. While some people enjoy having a library of discs, others see it as a hassle to keep track of and monitor them. If you scratch the disc, it breaks. If you lose the disc, you can’t play it. If you take it to a friend’s house, there’s a high probability of it being lost. But if the game is bought online, then it’s stored onto the system permanently.

Additionally, the decline of AAA gaming further hurts the game stores. Pronounced “triple A gaming,” being a AAA game is a title given to games who have had a large budget spent on them, such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” or “Assassin’s Creed.” Over 2017, these games took a huge hit in sales, while smaller, indie style games received a rise in popularity. Games such as “Cuphead” and “Fortnite: Battle Royale” have run rampant over online stores, and often won’t even sell in retail game stores. These games tend to sell at much lower prices, making them affordable, easier to purchase and a fun alternative to a $60 disc.

However, video game stores are still in business because they provide a more complete buying experience for the consumer. For example, game stores sell accessories such as mics, headsets, controllers, hard drives and other useful items. Additionally, consumers can sell a disc or trade it in for store credit, something you cannot do online. Finally, consumers can buy pre-used, fully functionable games for a much cheaper price. While they may not come with any collectible items or game manuals, these games still work and often cost at least 50 percent less.

Ultimately, the game store continues to offer some of the same appeals to buyers as they always have, but in a day and age when everything is moving online, gaming retail stores are beginning to see their final chapter.