GameStop is the Starbucks of gaming. There's one on every corner and they at least pretend to serve your every need. Unlike Starbucks, however, GameStop's bread and butter - video games - are increasingly moving to the digital space where GameStop is cut out of the profit loop. Now the retailer is partnering with some of the best tech minds in the country to find a solution.
GameStop announced today that it's partnering with IBM and Texas A&M University to launch the GameStop Technology Institute. With this new endeavor, GameStop will attempt "to discover and deliver business innovation and technology solutions to better address the needs of today’s empowered consumer." In other words, physical game sales aren't going to cut it anymore and GameStop needs to find other revenue streams to stay afloat.
“Now more than ever, GameStop’s internal rate of change must continue to exceed the rate of change occurring within the retail environments in which we compete,” said Paul Raines, chief executive officer for GameStop. “The launch of GTI represents GameStop’s commitment to cultivate innovation within the retail industry, as well as lead the charge in discovering new technology advancements to drive positive customer experiences.”
GameStop will be utilizing IBM's Design Lab and BlueMix to "build new mobile and cloud applications that integrate with GameStop’s existing systems." These new applications will link a customer's online and in-store activities to remove any barriers that may get in the way of a smooth customer experience.
“We are excited to collaborate with GameStop to bring the power of our cloud development platforms and design teams to the greater GameStop community,” said Steve Robinson, General Manager of IBM Cloud Platform Services. “This cloud partnership will integrate existing systems into a new class of applications to build even deeper relationships for GameStop with their clients and will help GameStop lead the next phase of retailing by restoring the balance between physical and digital commerce platforms.”
As for Texas A&M's contribution, GameStop will be partnering with the university's Center for Retailing Studies to "focus on retail research, consumer technology and the evolving consumer experience at the intersection of the two."
The GameStop Technology Institute will be led by GameStop CIO Jeff Donaldson who will serve as senior vice president of GTI.
“As GameStop continues to transform its business beyond video gaming and into the technology space, we formed GTI to address our growing need for new innovation as a specialty retailer,” said Donaldson. “As we begin our partnership with IBM and Texas A&M University, GTI’s initial focus will be on the digitization of the physical retail space which would allow customers to interact with the brick-n-mortar store environment in ways that mimic interaction with digital platforms.”
The establishment of the GameStop Technology Institute is a pretty good move on the part of GameStop. The retailer is facing increased pressure from consumers and its retail partners in the face of increasing digital game sales. Through these new partnerships, GameStop might be able to keep consumers engaged with their retail environment, and more importantly, keep publishers happy.
Image via Wikimedia Commons