1984; 34 years ago (1984) (as Babbage's)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
1999; 19 years ago (1999) (as GameStop)
Gary M. Kusin
Grapevine, Texas, U.S.
Number of locations
7,276 outlets (2018)
US$9.225 billion (2017)
US$135.6 million (2017)
US$34.7 million (2017)
US$5.042 billion (2017)
US$2.215 billion (2017)
Number of employees
22,000 full-time (2018)
25-45,000 part-time (2018)
Video Game Brands
Zing Pop Culture
GameStop Corp. (known simply as GameStop) is an American video game,
consumer electronics, and wireless services retailer. The company
is headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, United States, a suburb of
Dallas, and operates 7,117 retail stores throughout the United States,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. The company's retail
stores primarily operate under the GameStop, EB Games, ThinkGeek, and
In addition to retail stores,
GameStop also owns Game Informer, a
video game magazine; Simply Mac, an Apple products reseller; and
Spring Mobile, an AT&T wireless reseller. It also operates Cricket
Wireless branded retail stores as an authorized agent. Cricket is an
AT&T brand pre-paid wireless retailer.
1.1 Babbage's (1984–1994)
Retail Group (1994–1996)
1.3 Babbage’s Etc. (1996–1999)
1.4 Barnes & Noble (1999–2004)
1.5.1 Decline (2016–present)
3 Owned brands and concepts
3.1 Game Informer
3.5 Pre-order bonuses
3.8 GameTrust Games
3.9 Simply Mac
4.1 Opened copies of game titles
4.2 Used games market
4.3 Fingerprint identification
4.4 Circle of Life policy
5 See also
7 External links
Logo of retailer Software, Etc. on a 5.25" floppy disk branded by the
GameStop traces its roots to Babbage's, a Dallas, Texas-based software
retailer founded in 1984 by former
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School classmates
James McCurry and Gary M. Kusin. The company was named after
Charles Babbage and opened its first store in Dallas's North Park
Center with the help of Ross Perot, an early investor in the
company. The company quickly began to focus on video game sales for
the then-dominant Atari 2600. Babbage's began selling Nintendo
games in 1987. The company went public in 1988. By 1991, video
games accounted for two-thirds of Babbage's sales.
Retail Group (1994–1996)
Babbage's merged with Software Etc., an Edina, Minnesota-based
retailer that specialized in personal computing software, to create
Retail Group in 1994. The merger was structured as a stock
swap, where shareholders of Babbage's and Software Etc. received
shares of NeoStar, a newly formed holding company. Babbage's and
Software Etc. continued to operate as independent subsidiaries of
NeoStar and retained their respective senior management teams.
Babbage's founder and chairman James McCurry became chairman of
NeoStar, while Babbage's president Gary Kusin and Software Etc.
president Daniel DeMatteo retained their respective titles. Software
Leonard Riggio became chairman of NeoStar's executive
Gary Kusin resigned as president of Babbage's in February 1995 to
start a cosmetics company. Daniel DeMatto, formerly president of
Software Etc., assumed Kusin's duties and was promoted to president
and chief operating officer of NeoStar. NeoStar chairman James McCurry
was also appointed to the newly created position of NeoStar CEO.
The company relocated from its headquarters in
Dallas to Grapevine
later that year.
NeoStar merged its Babbage's and Software Etc. units into a single
organization in May 1996 amid declining sales. Company president
Daniel DeMatteo also resigned, and NeoStar chairman and
McCurry assumed the title of president. In September of that year,
after NeoStar was unable to secure the credit necessary to purchase
inventory necessary for the holiday season, the company filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy. With the filing, NeoStar board member
Thomas G. Plaskett became chairman and James McCurry remained company
chief executive and president.
The leadership changes were not enough and in November 1996 the assets
of NeoStar were purchased for $58.5 million by Leonard Riggio, a
founder of Software Etc. and chairman and principal stockholder of
Barnes & Noble.
Electronics Boutique had also bid to purchase
NeoStar, but the judge presiding over NeoStar's bankruptcy accepted
Riggio's bid because it kept open 108 stores more than Electronics
Boutique's bid would have. Approximately 200 retail stores were not
included in the transaction and were subsequently closed.
Babbage’s Etc. (1996–1999)
Following his purchase of NeoStar's assets,
Leonard Riggio dissolved
the holding company and created a new holding company named Babbage's
Etc. He appointed Richard "Dick" Fontaine, previously Software
Etc.'s chief executive during its expansion in the late 1980s and
early 1990s, as Babbage Etc.'s chief executive. Daniel DeMatteo,
previously the president of both Software Etc. and NeoStar, became
company president and COO. Three years later, in 1999, Babbage's
Etc. launched its
GameStop brand with 30 stores located in strip
malls. The company also launched gamestop.com, a website that allowed
consumers to purchase video games online. GameStop.com was promoted in
Babbage's and Software Etc. stores.
Barnes & Noble (1999–2004)
Gamestop shop front inside a mall
Barnes & Noble purchased Babbage's Etc. in October 1999 for $215
million. Because Babbage's Etc. was principally owned by Leonard
Riggio, who was also Barnes & Noble's chairman and principal
shareholder, a special committee of independent directors of Barnes
& Noble evaluated and signed-off on the deal. A few months
later, in May 2000, Barnes & Noble acquired Funco, an Eden
Prairie, Minnesota-based video game retailer, for $160 million.
Babbage's Etc., which had been previously operating as a direct
subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, became a wholly owned subsidiary of
Funco. With its acquisition of Funco, Barnes & Noble also
acquired Game Informer, a video game magazine that was first published
in 1991. Funco was renamed GameStop, Inc. in December 2000 in
anticipation of holding an initial public offering for the
Barnes & Noble took
GameStop public with a February 2002 initial
public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
listed under the ticker symbol GME. Barnes & Noble retained
control over the newly public company with 67% of outstanding shares
and 95% of voting shares. Barnes & Noble retained control over
GameStop until October 2004, when it distributed its 59% stake in
GameStop to stakeholders of Barnes & Noble, making it an
A store in Hillsboro, Oregon
EB Games (formerly Electronics Boutique) in 2005 for
$1.44 billion. The acquisition expanded GameStop's operations into
Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Two years later, in
GameStop acquired Rhino Video Games from Blockbuster for an
undisclosed amount. Rhino Video Games operated 70 video game stores
throughout the Southeastern United States.
GameStop purchased Free Record Shop's Norwegian stores in April 2008.
The company acquired 49 stores and converted them into video game
shops. Daniel DeMatteo replaced Richard Fontaine as
in August 2008. DeMatteo had served as company COO since 1996.
Fontaine, who had been
GameStop chairman and
CEO since 1996, remained
the company's chairman. J. Paul Raines, formerly executive vice
president of Home Depot, became company COO in September. GameStop
acquired Micromania, a French video game retailer, in October 2008 for
$700 million. GameStop, which had previously owned no stores in
France, now had 332 French video game stores. It also acquired a
majority stake in Jolt Online Gaming, an Irish browser-based game
studio, in November 2009. Jolt closed in 2012.
J. Paul Raines became
CEO in June 2010. He replaced
Daniel DeMatteo who was named executive chairman of the company.
While serving as
CEO in 2012, GameStop's digital revenue grew from
$190 million in 2011 to more than $600 million in 2012.
GameStop acquired Kongregate, a San Francisco, California-based
website for browser-based games; terms of the deal were not
GameStop acquired Spawn Labs and Impulse in separate transactions
during 2011. Spawn Labs was a developer of technology that allowed
users to play video games that were run remotely on machines in data
centers rather than their personal computer or console. Impulse was a
digital distribution and multiplayer gaming platform. GameStop
closed Spawn Labs in 2014.
GameStop purchased BuyMyTronics, a Denver, Colorado-based online
market place for consumer electronics, in 2012. Later that year,
it acquired a minority interest in Simply Mac, a Utah-based authorized
GameStop acquired the remaining 50.1% interest in
Simply Mac in November 2013.
GameStop also acquired Spring Mobile,
a Salt Lake City, Utah-based retailer of AT&T-branded wireless
services, in November 2013. They obtained 163 RadioShack locations
as of February 26, 2015, as well. All
GameStop stores have been
closed down in Puerto Rico at the end of March 2016, citing increased
rates of government taxes. On August 3, 2016, it acquired 507
AT&T store chains in plans to diversify into new businesses and
less dependant on the video game market.
The market for physical game media has been in a state of decline
since online services such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and
Steam have taken foothold, and GameStop, whose business was
long rooted in new and pre-owned software, has begun feeling the
effects of the changing market. In 2017,
GameStop reported a 16.4%
drop in sales for the 2016 holiday season, but expressed optimism in
its non-physical gaming businesses. Reasons cited for the decline
in sales included industry weakness, promotional pricing pressure,
lower in-store traffic, and a near-monopolization of the physical
games industry leading to customer dissatisfaction.
GameStop stock fell 16% throughout 2016. On February 28,
2017, shares dropped an additional 8% following Microsoft's
announcement of its
Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass service.  Following these
GameStop announced it would close over 150 stores in 2017 and
expand its nongaming business. On the same day, however, GameStop
said it planned to open 65 new Technology Brand stores and 35
Collectibles stores due to a 44% and 28% increase in sales,
GameStop expects a continued drop in operating
income between 3% and 10% in 2017.
Paul Raines notified
GameStop of his resignation on January 31, 2018.
Raines had been on medical leave since November 2017. He had "a
medical reoccurrence" of a brain tumor. DeMatteo, GameStop's executive
chairman stepped in as interim chief executive officer. On
February 6, 2018 the company announced Michael K. Mauler as the new
CEO and new member of the board of directors.
GameStop is divided into two operating segments: Video Game Brands and
Technology Brands. The Technology Brands was created during the
fourth quarter of 2013, and houses the companies Simply Mac, Spring
Cricket Wireless business. As of April 2014, the
Technology Brands segment included 218 retail outlets. GameStop's
Video Game Brands includes the company's other businesses such as
video game and consumer electronics retail shops; Kongregate, a
digital video game distribution site; and buymytronics.com, a consumer
electronics marketplace. Pre-owned and value video games accounted for
47% of GameStop's gross revenue for the fiscal year ending February
Owned brands and concepts
Game Informer is a magazine owned by GameStop, Inc. and primarily sold
through subscriptions which can be purchased at GameStop
locations. Purchasing a subscription to the magazine also gets the
subscriber the PowerUp Rewards Pro card, a pro version of GameStop's
customer appreciation card. This increases all store-credit trade
values by 10%, discounts all used accessories and games by 10%, gives
new PowerUp members a coupon for "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" on pre-owned games
and accessories, enters them twice for the Epic Rewards Giveaway for
each purchase, gives the cardholder opportunities to gain points with
their purchases, and redeem them for rewards and gains them access to
special content on the
Game Informer website.
GameStop PC Downloads, formerly called Impulse, is a digital
distribution service run and operated by GameStop. Originally known as
Impulse when owned by Stardock, it was sold to
GameStop in 2011 and
GameStop PC Downloads, with the Impulse client renamed as
GameStop App. Under the ownership of
GameStop the service has had
a redesign, and sells games that use other platforms such as Steam
while also selling games that use its own proprietary DRM solution
GameStop sells games that are traded in for store credit. This
practice has come under fire from game publishers and developers as
they make no money from the transaction.
GameStop TV is the in-store television network run internally
GameStop, with non-endemic sales in partnership with Playwire Media,
GameStop TV features programming designed to speak to the
consumers shopping in
GameStop stores. Each month brings content
segments about upcoming video game releases, exclusive developer
interviews, product demonstrations and more.
Game publishers have begun to obtain more pre-orders by including
exclusive in-game or physical bonuses, available only if the player
pre-ordered the game. Bonuses typically include extras such as
exclusive characters, weapons and maps. For example,
an additional avatar costume for Call of Duty: Black Ops when it was
released in November 2010, and a pictorial Art-Folio for Metroid:
Other M. Soundtracks, artbooks, plushies, figurines, posters, and
T-shirts have also been special bonuses.
MovieStop in 2004 as a standalone store that focused
on new and used movies. More than 40 locations were opened, which
typically adjoined or were adjacent to
GameStop spun off
MovieStop to private owners in 2012. In November
2014, Draw Another Circle LLC, a company controlled by merchandising
executive Joel Weinshanker that also owns Hastings Entertainment,
In October 2012 at
Grapevine Mills in Dallas,
GameStop introduced a
new store concept known as
GameStop Kids. The brand focus on
children's products, and carried only games rated "Everyone" by the
ESRB, along with merchandise of popular franchises aimed towards the
demographic. The locations opened in 80 malls as pop-up stores for the
holiday shopping season.
In January 2016,
GameStop announced a partnership it had made with
Insomniac Games with their 2016 title Song of the Deep. GameStop
executive Mark Stanley said the concept was to help the chain have
more direct communication with players, and would expect to expand out
to other similar distribution deals with other developers if this one
succeeds. Subsequently, in April 2016,
GameStop announced that it
was formally creating the GameTrust Games publishing division within
the company to serve as a publisher for mid-sized developers. In
addition to Insomniac Games, GameTrust Games is working with Ready At
Dawn, Tequila Works, and
Frozenbyte to prepare more titles to be
published by the end of 2016.
In October 2012,
GameStop acquired a 49.9% minority equity ownership
interest in the Salt Lake City-based Apple authorized reseller and
repairer Simply Mac.
Simply Mac was founded in
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City in 2006.
GameStop acquired the remaining 50.1% that it did not own in November
GameStop tried to target areas for potential new Simply Mac
locations in slight smaller markets that did not have an existing
Apple Store within a reasonable driving distance.
In January 2017,
GameStop closed a large number of Simply Mac
locations. The chain had as many as 70 locations at the time of the
announcement. After the closings, a few recently vacated
Simply Mac locations were replaced by sister company ThinkGeek.
Opened copies of game titles
The company has a policy where some copies of new games upon release
are "gutted". This means that while sealed copies of the new
release are kept behind the counter, one copy is opened so the case
can be put on display, with the game disc filed separately behind the
counter. Consumers may reach for the opened copy and purchase at the
counter, whereupon the consumer will receive a factory-sealed copy
from behind the counter. If the opened copy is the last copy of the
new game, it is sold at regular price.
GameStop's check-out policy allows employees "to check out one item of
store merchandise for personal use for up to four days", with the
intent being to allow the employee to evaluate the game and learn
about its content. This check out policy does not apply to only used
merchandise, which has been a hotly contested practice among the
GameStop came under fire from critics when customers discovered that
content had been removed from the original packaging of Deus Ex: Human
GameStop had instructed employees to remove
coupons for a free copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution on OnLive, a
cloud gaming service.
GameStop stated that the coupon promoted a
competitor of its subsidiaries, Spawn Labs and Impulse, which it had
acquired in April 2011. Later,
GameStop entirely removed the PC
version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from its stores. Square Enix, the
publisher of Deus Ex, said that it "respects the right of
have final say over the contents of products it sells and to adjust
them where they see fit in accordance with their policies".
Used games market
GameStop has been criticized by game developers and publishers for the
retailing of used game titles. By reselling used copies at a small
discount on the same shelf space as new copies of the game, it is
GameStop is taking profits directly from organizations
such as developers and publishers which are solely dependent on their
intellectual property for revenue. In effect, this means that
companies such as
GameStop can resell used copies of a game within
days of the title's release and keep all of the profit, thereby
cutting directly into the critical initial sales which would otherwise
go to publishers and developers. It has been suggested by industry
insiders that this directly results in increases to the retail cost of
It was revealed in early August 2014 that
GameStop was required by the
Philadelphia Police to provide fingerprint identifications when
customers traded in games at Philadelphia
GameStop locations. The
policy had been in place since early July of that year and did not
apply to the suburban areas of Philadelphia. This caused some
heavy criticism from video gamers living in the affected area.
Philadelphia Police asserted that the fingerprint identification would
help track thieves. By August 4, 2014, the policy had been reversed in
Circle of Life policy
In February 2017, it was revealed that
GameStop enforced, on all of
its retail employees, a program known as Circle of Life. The policy
itself was made to ensure that each employee would allot a certain
percentage of their sales to pre-orders, rewards cards, used games, or
have a customer trade in a game. Upon revelation of the policy,
GameStop employees including current and former, brought up their
stories of how the policy has led to them lying to customers. Many
more claim that the policy had led to poor working conditions and
emotional distress. Later into the month,
GameStop reformed the
program to solely focus on the store as a whole instead of the
previous individual employee basis.
Play N Trade
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