GameStop To Pivot Towards Board Games


GameStop may be the one big retail name left that people can associate with video games, but listings on the company’s website suggests there is going to be a move towards including board games in addition to the games and toys already lining store shelves.

It should be noted that GameStop already has some board and card game items for sale, but these mostly consist of trading card packs for games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh or video game-themed board games like Fallout Checkers or Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. This new move would bring games you’d find in a specialty board game store to GameStop as well.

GameStop wouldn’t be the first large retailer to try introducing board games to its offerings. Barnes and Noble started about a year ago, and has gone so far as to host International Tabletop Day events in stores. Target has also seen success with board games, and have even included stickers on games seen on the popular Tabletop YouTube series.

As seen on the GameStop website, board and card games like POOP In A Bag are now listed as being available starting June 2. iDigitalTimes reached out to POOP creator Blaise Sewell to ask about his game coming to GameStop. "Retail stores like GameStop are smart to adapt to where the market is and recognize how big tabletop gaming has become,” he said.

Sewell feels his and other party games are to thank for the renewed interest in tabletop gaming. "This era of "party games" really kicked off with Cards Against Humanity and as more people play casual games like POOP and Billionaire Banshee they're opening the door to a whole world of more complex games too,” he said. “People want human interaction and in a world full of screens and devices, tabletop games are here to the rescue."

Personally, I feel this is a great decision for GameStop. While I may be biased due to how much I love board games, the way people are buying games has changed. The majority of games are now being sold digitally, with reports that 74 percent of all games sold in 2016 were digital. That has to be a huge drop in sales for a company that primarily sells physical games. Not only would selling board games offer a new market for the company, GameStop could also leverage its retail space to become a new game store for every neighborhood.

In the board game community, there’s a concept known as the FLGS, or Friendly Local Game Store. The idea is that your FLGS often will host events like a D&D night or a Magic: The Gathering night while also providing tables for gamers to hang out at and play with friends (in addition to being one of the few places you can physically look at a board game before making a purchase). In a perfect world, every neighborhood would have a FLGS and every board game store would be as accommodating as I described. However, there aren’t board game stores in every town and some just don’t have the space to allow for events.

This is where GameStop can come in. Now, wherever there’s a GameStop, there can also be a FLGS, complete with game demo areas and space for events. Let’s be honest here, does GameStop really need to have baskets and baskets of $3 used PS3 sports games from seven years ago? While this could conflict with some local game stores already in business, it would probably introduce board gaming to so many more areas that don’t have a board game store.

Of course, this is all speculation based off a few listings found on the GameStop website. This could be as simple as GameStop offering a few games to see if there’s interest before going all-in on the cardboard goodness.

GameStop has been emailed for a comment and the story will update when we’ve heard back.

So what do you think? Are you interested in GameStop selling board games? Do you already have a FLGS nearby? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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