For the first time, GameStop will offer digital content for sale at its brick and mortar retail stores.
In a strangely ironic twist to the relationship between digital and physical game media, GameStop will soon allow you to trade in games to buy digital DLC. In fact, you can use any form of payment including gift cards, cash and credit to purchase digital content. The program planned right now is only limited to DLC available on the PlayStation Network for your PS3, but the service is planned to extend to Xbox Live as well. According to GameStop's announcement, you'll be able to purchase digital content in any of its 4,400 stores in the next couple weeks.
"As part of our digital strategy, our goal is to help make extended game play of popular titles discoverable for our customers," said GameStop President Tony Bartel. "In many cases, customers aren't even aware of certain add-on content for their favorite video games, and our in-store DLC centers are a great way to discover what's available."
Bartel also explained how this program will be great for last-second stocking-stuffers this Holiday season:
DLC content, which typically costs between $10 and $15, also makes terrific holiday gifts for gamers who enjoy playing titles with available add-on content. To make this work, we partnered very closely with Microsoft and Sony to link our point of sale directly into their systems in order to provide customers with instantaneous access to the DLC they wish to purchase. We anticipate we'll complete the nationwide rollout of Sony DLC within a few short weeks in order to service customers during the busy holiday shopping season.
While it is interesting to have a physical place for gamers to browse content, I'm not sure that doing so in a GameStop is the best idea. I'm also concerned about how this initiative will affect the publisher's bottom line. Previously, the full price of digital content all went to the publisher, but if people can trade-in games and then use those credits to buy DLC or full indie games, how will they be compensated.
Honestly, I think this is a huge can of worms for the videogame industry that I think benefits GameStop and no one else.