GameStop is “massively expanding” its in-store selection of downloadable PC games.

Curious how a retailer can increase its offerings of in-store, downloadable games? It works like this: You go into your local GameStop, browse through a selection of “focus titles” represented by internally-produced faux-DVD cases [or just tell the guy at the counter what you want] and then, having made your selection, you hand over the dough. In return, you’ll get a receipt with a unique redemption code and instructions on what to do with it, which pretty much boils down to a trip to GameStop’s website. Enter the code and, pow! The game is yours!

GameStop now has more than 1500 PC titles for sale at its GameStop stores across the U.S., which is says represents “one of the most extensive collections of PC games available at retail.” You can save yourself a trip to the mall by just going straight to, of course, but the in-store setup allows gamers to make digital purchases with cash, gift cards and trade-in credits.

The huge selection of games, combined with GameStop’s pervasive retail presence – like it or not, GameStop is a huge operation, with 4400 stores across the U.S. – might just give it the muscle it needs to slug with Steam, or at least to stay relevant in a market that’s increasingly focused on digital. It’s not of much use to PC gamers who lack the pipe to download full-sized games but for a big part of its customer base, having retail-level access to such a huge range of games, including some rather obscure titles – Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Gotterdammerung, anyone? – is a pretty huge deal.

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