What just happened? While this doesn't necessarily have a huge impact on customers, this may be more of a win for Microsoft to get more businesses to use its enterprise business tools. GameStop will get the benefit of streamlined business processes and tools but it probably won't help with getting more customers in the door.
Struggling gaming retail outlet GameStop announced a "multi-year strategic partnership" with Microsoft. The deal largely centers around GameStop's back-end systems and doesn't have much customer impact. Still, this deal is important to Microsoft as it closed its own retail stores earlier this year.
Under the deal, GameStop will adopt Microsoft's solutions for business operations such as Dynamics 365, Microsoft's cloud-based business and customer data platform. Internally, the company will also switch to Microsoft 365, which includes all of Microsoft's enterprise collaboration tools such as Office and Teams. GameStop's in-store associates will also be issued Surface devices for freedom of movement around the store.
GameStop confirmed that it will be offering the Xbox All Access program that allows customers to pay for a new Xbox console with monthly payments over two years. All Access includes Xbox Live and Game Pass Ultimate (which itself includes cloud streaming). That bit of news is nothing new as Microsoft already offers All Access through other retail outlets such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.
GameStop has continued to struggle despite strong pre-orders for the next-gen consoles. The company reported record losses in 2018 and shut down its ThinkGeek online outlet.
Last year, they started piloting new in-store concepts in an attempt to salvage its traditional brick and mortar stores. The new concept would feature unique store layouts meant to get gamers to try new games and compete in local tournaments. That said, with both Microsoft and Sony releasing digital only versions of next-gen consoles, GameStop may continue to struggle with physical sales.
Image credit: Jonathan Weiss