Record earnings had become the norm for GameStop up until its most recently concluded quarter, when both revenue and profit were off by millions. However, one way the world's largest specialty game retailer has been attempting to turn it around is through a greater push into the digital sector, picking up game-streaming service Spawn Labs and online storefront Impulse earlier this year.
In a post-earnings conference call following yesterday's earnings announcement, GameStop provided an update on its game-streaming plans, saying it plans to launch Spawn's service on platforms that include the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC during the first half of 2012. A closed beta for the service is currently under way, and GameStop plans to enter an open-beta phase later this year.
"Spawn recently began its first beta and is currently live, testing the streaming of Xbox 360, PS3, and PC games from a data center in Austin, Texas," said GameStop president Tony Bartel. "The initial results of the test are positive, and we are on track to broaden our testing in Q4 to a national beta and for a nationwide launch in the first half of 2012. We continue to get positive feedback from our publishing partners about the pro-console, low investment model that we have chosen."
"We have the closed beta that we're going through and then the open beta that will happen later on this quarter, and we will most likely announce pricing in the first half of 2012," Bartel continued.
As detailed in April, GameStop is experimenting with a try-before-you-buy model for game purchases, as well as a subscription model through its PowerUp Rewards program. The try-before-you-buy model, according to Bartel, will let gamers play approximately 15 minutes of a game before giving them an option to make a purchase.
"The other way we look at it that we're very excited about is a subscription service that we would offer to our PowerUp Rewards members, where based on the games they purchased from GameStop and have in their library, we would offer them a subscription service to stream those games and play them on any Internet-connected device," Bartel said of the subscription service.