GameStop stores are strange beasts that must please multiple masters, yet never quite makes everyone happy. The brand must cater to the core gaming crowd, but also wants to court the casuals. It wants to be your source for new purchases ordered weeks ahead of release, but also really wants to sell you a used copy of Halo 3. It wants to bring in older customers, but also appeals to children. It seems that the company has solved that last quandary, as a new chain of GameStop stores designed for kids are opening in malls across North America. Don't be surprised if you zip over to your local GameStop to preorder Assassin's Creed III and discover that the store has become a GameStop Kids location that focuses exclusively on E-for-Everyone games targeted at younger players. The Dallas Business Journal has the news.
The Grapevine-based company will open roughly 80 GameStop Kids stores in malls across the country by Nov. 15. The first store opens Friday at Grapevine Mills Mall, the only Dallas-Fort Worth location.
“All of the stores will be in malls that have a better-than-average GameStop in them, so we know that the stores are high-traffic malls,” CEO Paul Raines said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal.
GameStop Kids is something the video-game retailer has been planning for about seven to eight months as the company’s global merchandising team identifies products that need exposure, Raines said
The stores will carry E-rated video games, accessories and toys ranging from a 2-foot-tall talking plush Star Wars Chewbacca to a Skylanders backpacks.
If there is success with GameStop Kids, the stores could stay open beyond the holiday season and become another channel for the company, Raines said citing other experimental concepts by the company.
So, basically, GameStop Kids is your Skylanders and licensed junk game superstore. At first I wondered why this subbrand was even necessary, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Now parents can take their children to a video game store wiped clean of those awful Medal of Duty and Call of Kombat games that want to poison little Jayden's mind. Better yet, now little Jayden can run wild in a store designed for his enthusiasm while I shop at a regular GameStop that isn't crawling with hyperactive children who don't watch where they're running. Everybody wins! My local mall ended up with two GameStop stores in it following the company's acquisition of its competitors. It's incredibly redundant, but they stick around because they must both do good business. Why not turn one of them into a GameStop Kids and fix the overlap? Best of luck, GameStop Kids. We're all counting on you.