How does GameStop neglect the PC platform? What has GS done to have this reputation?
GameStop was once one of the best ways to get PC games. Due to its close competitors, it kept itself honest, stocked some indie titles and generally speaking wasn't too much of a hassle to shop at. Over the years, what was 4 whole walls of PC games (and these were the 'full box' size, but was still at about 2 1/2 walls when the switch to small box happened) shrank to a tiny, stomach-high, two-sided rack mainly stocked by Blizzard (they pay to have their presence in the store) and by stocked by Blizzard I mean the war chests. Sometimes there are some recent, high-profile, titles on the shelf but not often and never in quantity.
If you would like to buy any PC game you have to pre-order it, basically, otherwise they won't stock it. Now, all that wouldn't be bad in your typical business environment. It's likely GameStop would just lose out PC competition to its competitors. Except that its competitors got swallowed into GameStop; effectively making it a monopoly in some areas. Circuit City provided PC retail, but went bankrupt. Best Buy used to offer a wide selection of PC games over a large area (I think 4 or 5 full shelves, about 3-4 sections long): now it's half of one full shelf.
Now the most important thing is: That monopolization occurred before Steam really existed. The whole problem was that there was usually no place else to go to get PC games unless you were lucky enough to live in a major metropolitan area. The reason for why PC games started shrinking in presence at GameStop are probably primarily greed motivated: As PC games started using DRM the PC section shrank and the used game sales grew. Now, fine, that cuts into their retail pricing and all (because they can't sell them used anymore). But I want to stress that they were effectively a monopoly
, therefore unless the whole of PC gamers decided to just stop buying games, they had
to buy them at GameStop if they were unlucky. All that put together: GameStop abandoned its PC market and still has no real desire to be in it.
This trend of not caring about the PC market [and independent games] has been a long and growing thread. It's even still visible: the digital distribution system on their site (not Impulse) was an aggregator that only really sold big-name games and even those included didn't represent the lion's share of market demand. That timid 'toe into the water because maybe it'll kill our company'/'we really don't know how to make this work, so do it for us' really shows well their inexperience and their discomfort in breaking back into the PC market. They don't really understand the PC market because they didn't know how to sell it before, they still don't now because they're letting other companies decide "who they wear", and I'd mark this purchase down as an act of desperation in attempting to be relevant in the PC market.
With all that: GameStop has had the wealth and more than the opportunity to really be a leader in the PC market sector for years and years. They've neglected the market and neglected their customers, so few owe them any loyalty anymore. They are a business whose primary obligation is to get customers 'invested' in their storefront as they're the only game in town that buys consoles and games for cheap and 'flips' them to turn a great profit (but then turn around and only offer a fraction of that fraction of money in actual walk-out cash to the customer); all this whilst badgering the customer about the various opt-ins they have.
That they're now trying to 'make amends' to those same customers after several years of Steam demonstrating a vibrant and profitable PC market, their token download system was a joke and this recent acquisition a demonstration of inconfidence in their ability to lead (justifiably so)? None of these things are confidence building and none of them are qualities we would like to see in a partner: and that's why, in the context of the necessity of making a snap decision, we made the decision that we did.