GameStop may have made a profit in 2022, but sales are still below expectations, particularly in North America. In the company’s full year financial report for 2022, meant for investors but funny to read regardless of who you are, it outlined what it believes to be a significant hurdle: there aren’t as many good games right now and there’s a growing trend toward platform exclusivity.
Read More: GameStop Profitable For First Time In Years Even As Everything Seems On Fire
With unprecedented stock activity from retail investors, growing employee frustrations , and regular store closures, GameStop reaching profitability is a technical victory, but one that exists alongside poorer sales across the board. In its full year financial report, GameStop said that sales were down by 1.4% in 2022, compared to 2021. The same report discusses the cyclical nature of the industry as the context, but laments that this time around, games are taking longer to come out. Platform exclusivity, meanwhile, may pose a future threat, GameStop muses.
GameStop points fingers at publishers
“We depend on manufacturers and publishers to deliver video game hardware, software and consumer electronics in quantities sufficient to meet customer demand” GameStop said in regards to its concern over slower release schedules. The report continues: “The number of new software titles available for sale has decreased in recent years. Any material delay in the introduction or delivery, or limited allocations of hardware platforms for software titles could result in reduced sales.” You would think the slower pace would allow GameStop to not have as many pre-ordering messes as they have of late, where buyers often can’t find what they want or are surprised with sudden cancellations, but no.
The report adds that recent acquisitions in the console space could also play a role on sales. “Some publishers that have historically published games compatible with multiple gaming platforms” the report said, “have recently been acquired by console manufacturers. This consolidation could lead to a further reduction in the number of new software titles available for sale in the future. Presumably, GameStop is talking about things like Starfield being tied to Microsoft platforms when in the past Bethesda would have released a big budget game like that on everything.
GameStop might have reached profitability, but still sank in overall sales
GameStop’s issue with slower release schedules and publisher acquisition is called out directly in its assessment of global sales, which have generally decreased across the board. The report highlights “fewer significant title launches in fiscal 2022” as a driving factor in lower sales, as well as other economic factors such as the value of the American dollar.
The decrease in consolidated net sales in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021 was primarily attributable to the translation impact of a stronger U.S. dollar, a decline in sales from new software releases as a result of fewer significant title launches in fiscal 2022, and a decline in sales of video game accessories, partially offset by an increase in sales of new gaming hardware and an increase in sales of toys and collectibles.
Regular store closures and repeat issues with employee morale make it a wonder that GameStop is able to hang in there these days, not to mention the prevalence of digital games purchased through online store fronts. Its move to selling more toys and collectibles in recent years (if not outright junk) has been one of the more beneficial boosts to its bottom line, but with Microsoft’s hope to purchase Activision looking more optimistic, the publisher consolidation issue isn’t going away anytime soon.