GameStop has been around for as long as I can remember. It is difficult to imagine a world without them, but in the last few years that reality has become more likely. The gaming retailer has been struggling and was forced to shut down many of its locations, with seemingly more closures to come. It’s safe to say even GameStop’s most avid supporters are concerned about their future.
However, on March 9 they announced an addition to their leadership that could potentially change everything. Reggie Fils-Aime, former president of Nintendo of America, will be joining GameStop’s board on April 20. Also joining the board are Walmart exec Bill Simon, and CEO of PetSmart J.K. Symancyk. These additions come in as many of the current board members such as Dan DeMatteo, Gerald Szczepanski, Larry Zilavy, and Steve Koonin, will be retiring from the company.
— Reggie Fils-Aime (@Reggie) March 9, 2020
“The Board refreshment and governance enhancements announced today represent an important milestone in GameStop’s transformation,” said GameStop CEO George Sherman, indicating he envisions the new blood should ensure the company’s “long-term success.” Given the current trajectory or things, that’s a tall order.
Can GameStop bounce back?
The company’s struggles have been ongoing for years. The exact cause of this downhill spiral isn’t hard to guess. Between an increase in the digital game market and GameStop’s reputation for poor policies, trouble in the company was inevitable. They have been trying some new things to save their business from dying, though.
One example of this is their re-designed test locations. These new stores seem to put a bigger focus on being a gamer’s one stop hangout. Images taken there have shown sections for tabletop gaming and different areas for actually playing video games.
On paper this sounds great, but it is questionable whether or not this new structure could really save a business built on game sales. In fact I would go as far as to say it can’t. More is needed to stabilize them, and the change up in leadership is clearly an effort in that direction. After all, it’s hard to argue that some of GameStop’s problems are the result of myopic decision-making from the top.
Reggie Fils-Aime is obviously the biggest acquisition for the gaming retailer. He is one of the most popular and prolific figures in the industry. Before retiring in April of 2019, Fils-Aime helped to lead Nintendo through some of its best times and also its darkest. GameStop likely recognises this and believes that perhaps he can do the same for them. Clearly Fils-Aime at least believes that stores like GameStop are necessary for the industry. An opinion like this flies in the face of many leaders in the industry claiming we need an all-digital future.
Overall, having the “Regginator” join their team is a wise choice and hard to argue it wouldn’t do at least some amount of good. However, it remains to be seen if even the best businessman in existence could fix the mess that GameStop is already in. Only time will tell, but it’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on.