Anyone that slipped into a coma circa 2008 isn’t going to recognize GameStop’s business by the end of 2013. The company that built a multi-billion dollar retail business on aggressive sales of used games, particularly new releases re-sold at wild profits, has branched out as consumers increasingly spend on digital downloads. GameStop’s trying to get into used digital game sales, it’s trying to branch into the vintage games market—Anything to survive. The lonely time travel will have one familiar crutch though: Either the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3 will still be on shelves.
GameStop’s CEO Paul Raines said in a recent interview that Microsoft and Sony may no longer be in a rush to join Nintendo in the next generation of the console wars. One of the heavyweights is going to sit out 2013.
“The Wii U is going to be the first in line, and we’re excited about the launch,” Raines told Polygon, “I’m getting a lot of rumors that are very interesting about 2013. We have not been expecting two more consoles in 2013. We’re expecting Wii U this holiday, another one next year, and another one in ’14. These rumors change every week, but we’re hearing more about next year.”
Who will play caboose in the next console wave? Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter told CVG that the Xbox 720 will be 2014’s new console. “We have heard no word yet from Microsoft or Sony about their plans to launch new consoles, but both manufacturers are widely expected to launch consoles by year-end in 2013, although we believe that Microsoft could delay a new console launch until spring of 2014 in order to accommodate what is certain to be overwhelming demand among hardcore gamers.”
Pachter has repeatedly said that he believes Microsoft is playing the long game when it comes to releasing the Xbox 360’s successor. He said in June that he expects Microsoft to wait not just to have a stockpile of consoles ready to meet demand, but until it has a partnership with a cable company in place. The expectation is that the Xbox 720 will retail for just $99 alongside a 2-year contract for monthly payments with access to entertainment services like cable TV through a revamped Xbox Live. Time Warner, Verizon, and Comcast are potential partners.
So no, GameStop won’t look very familiar in 2013, even if the Xbox 360 is still on shelves. Console holders are diversifying more than ever before. Wii U will continue to cater to crowds that love Nintendo’s games while Xbox 720 will shove game consoles into the future as all-encompassing living room entertainment hubs. What will PlayStation 4 be up to in 2013 though? Streaming gaming.
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