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At this point, we're sadly getting used to the occasional news that a video game publisher or developer have had to close up shop. Now it looks like the bad tidings are coming from the retail sector as well, as GameStop announces the closure of 250 stores.
CVG picked up on this story last night, noting that, during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference being held in California, GameStop CFO Rob Lloyd announced that 250 GameStop locations will be shutting down during 2013.
It's not all doom and gloom, though, as Lloyd went on to announce that 60-70 new stores will be opened in that same period of time. Think of it as redeploying your troops. GameStop is pulling their units out of areas that aren't doing good business, taking a few casualties, then sending off their soldiers to sell pre-orders and pre-owned games in new areas that look to provide a bigger customer base. Plus, 250 closings is a lot better than the previous estimate of 500.
I know the popular thing to do is to hate on GameStop, and usually with some fairly good reasons, but I'm always made at least a little uneasy by these types of announcements. Here in the States, GameStop is just about the only show in town if you want to exclusively peruse video games of the new and used variety. While some of their practices are questionable and, yeah, we all have a few nightmare stories about dealing with an incompetent employee or two, they're also one of the best places to turn for that game you've always wanted to play but had trouble tracking down.
Hopefully this is just a strategic move and not a portent of darker days to come. This is 250 stores' worth of employees getting laid off in the next year and 250 neighborhoods that will soon have to find new ways to get their video games. That's not great news in my book.