GameStop selling direct-to-console DLC next year

World's largest specialty retailer will begin selling 360, PS3 add-on content in-store; acquires majority ownership in gaming portal Jolt Online.

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GameStop has been vehement in its position that digital distribution of retail console games is not the future, despite increasing support from publishers and adoption by consumers. Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 17th Annual Digital Entertainment Conference today, GameStop chief operating officer Paul Raines reaffirmed that position, saying, "A large market for full game downloads is not imminent in the short term."

A look at GameStop's possible marketing plan.
A look at GameStop's possible marketing plan.

And while GameStop already sells a number of downloadable PC games through its Web site, the world's largest specialty game retailer now appears ready to give a bit of ground on the console front as well. After bemoaning the current state of broadband Internet and its inability to quickly transmit full games, Raines said that GameStop sees some current viability in bite-sized add-on sales.

"It's clear to us from our research that full game digital downloads will move slowly, but we are optimistic about the possibilities of downloadable add-on content and episodic content," he said. "We do believe...that the add-on downloadable market with smaller file sizes will grow."

Raines then laid out GameStop's new strategy for selling add-on game content to consumers at brick-and-mortar outlets. According to the executive, GameStop sales associates will begin informing consumers of DLC for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. Gamers can then purchase the add-on content in-store using any form of payment, including trade-in credits, and the content will be directly added to the consumer's Xbox Live or PlayStation Network account.

GameStop expects to begin testing this concept in-store during the first three months of 2010.

As part of the BMO Capital Markets conference, GameStop also said that it has acquired a majority interest in Jolt Online. The online gaming platform gained prominence earlier this year by reviving the classic text-based adventure game Zork. Founded last year, Jolt already operates a number of free-to-play online gaming properties, including the truck-driving-themed Trukz and the geopolitical sim NationStates 2.

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