The IBM of Retail

No surprise that GameStop is now focused on pushing physical game bundles in place of digital game bundles:

Bartel went on to say that "if in fact... the platform holders do continue to put in free games as promotional items, we anticipate that at GameStop you will see more physical bundles from third parties as opposed to digital bundles." That suggests that even included first-party download codes, like Sony's The Last of Us bundle or Microsoft's Halo: Master Chief Collection pack-in, could be replaced with physical third-party games at GameStop stores in the future.

Also unsurprisingly, the CEO credited the move as a customer preference:

GameStop CEO Paul Raines spun this in the earnings call as a move that "consumers have a pretty strong preference in... Consumers prefer those physical bundles, because they know that that disc has value in the trade-in program at GameStop."

As discussed here previously, GameStop is delaying the inevitable and should further focus on their transition to become a retailer beyond just used and new physical form games. Publishers are providing early releases of top games and content in a push to go direct to consumer. Without a transition, GameStop's only strategy will be to continue buying outstanding shares to drive their earnings per share. Flat to declining top line sales coupled with share buybacks makes GameStop the IBM of Retail.

Related: Can GameStop Survive? and Games: Brick vs. Tap