Despite the onslaught of desirable, highly anticipated titles, week after week this fall, GameStop's sales are "lower than expected," the dominant games retailer told investors, simply because there were too many good games out there for customers to buy, especially in a poor economy.
"The quarter presented some challenges in topline, due to a cash-strapped consumer that could not afford all of the good titles released during the quarter," CEO Paul Raines said in an earnings call, according to Gamasutra.
What's worse, GameStop president Tony Bartel said customers put down for preorders on all sorts of games this fall, ranging from Arkham City to Madden 12 to Dead Island, Gears of War 3 and Battlefield 3, but never picked up the game. "We had expectations for strong sales due to the great title lineup and record reservations," Bartel said. "But we found that consumers were unable to fund the products that they wanted, as these strong titles rolled out week after week."
That's the devil you dance with when you're so aggressive about preorders, I guess. It's not surprising, then, that I've heard through the rank-and-file grapevine that the retailer is de-emphasizing its ubiquitous, often obnoxious upsells and pre-order pitches. It could be because we're coming to the last big week for retail releases, with nothing to really upsell until January. But it may also be that booking those $5 commitments in better times was more indicative of future sales, where now all it represents is a gamer's wish he can't fulfill.