GameStop's biz model is helping the retailer thrive in the present climate, but many foresee the eventual death of the disc-based game in favor of the downloadable.
While we're a long way away from digital distribution as the sole software model, it could have a significant impact on retailers like GameStop if it becomes predominant.
But the company's not concerned. At its 2008 GameStop Expo trade show
for its managers, merchandising VP Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra it'll be a long time before digital distribution becomes a "significant threat." How long? Not until the year 2020, according to him.
"We've done some internal studies, really looking at the bandwidth of the internet in the U.S. as it is now, and, I mean, it's years before you would be able to take a larger game and timely download that within the current configuration of the internet," McKenzie said.
McKenzie stressed that, in the current climate, digital delivery is an option for consumers, but not the only one. GameStop's done studies, he said, on the topic, and come up with a projected time frame for when downloadable games could be fully and easily supported for everyone.
"So again, there is a percentage of the consumers that are going to want to have that type of distribution choice, but as far as it turning into a significant threat, I think is several years -- from the study we had, it is out to 2020 or beyond, before the bandwidth of the current internet configuration would allow that," McKenzie said.