Going nostalgic means new revenue for GameStop

Published 11:40 am Saturday, June 27, 2015

Leave it to GameStop to recognize the demand for nostalgia.

The biggest video game-specific retailer in North America launched an online retro store this week, which sells used copies of old-school games and equipment at reasonable prices.

It’s a blast being able to search for games I can play on my Super Nintendo — I’m totally going to get a copy of “Secret of Mana” and another copy of “Final Fantasy III(VI)” once GameStop gets more copies — but what’s striking is the idea behind GameStop’s Retro Classics store.

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As a company, GameStop tries to drive sales toward its used games. The retailer gets 100 percent of the profit behind a used game rather than sharing the wealth with a new game sale. Over the years, GameStop has cycled out older platforms in favor of used games on current generation consoles.

Yet as more online retailers draw consumers, GameStop found a way to leverage its used-game market for gamers. By offering titles for the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 and the original Playstation, GameStop is encouraging all of us 20-something and 30-something gamers to reinvest in our childhood nostalgia.

That’s a powerful business move for multiple reasons. Nostalgia is arguably the biggest factor in today’s entertainment market. That’s why movies like “Jurassic World” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” garner huge opening weekends and lots of buzz. It’s why people get excited to hear new music from longtime acts like Mariah Carey, Metallica, etc.

It’s also why people went nuts this month when Square Enix announced a remake of “Final Fantasy VII,” a game that came out in 1997 on Playstation. And it’s the reason why people cheered for Microsoft executives when they announced the Xbox One would feature backwards compatibility with certain Xbox 360 games.

Nostalgia is a powerful driver for brands, and GameStop is in a good position to further market itself to gamers. A clear place to buy older games means gamers don’t have to search their local pawn shops or secondhand stores for titles. It also provides people who grew up playing games a chance to relive their childhood.

It’s a smart move by GameStop to bolster its bottom line, especially in a remake-heavy and sequel-filled entertainment landscape where people often want to experience the first game or movie in a big-name series. Nostalgia is in, what’s retro is shiny again and people are going to want more older technology as a comfort in an ever-updating world.