Raines expects two console launches to drive the video gaming industry forward
Chief executive of GameStop says he is prepared for the ‘largest console launch in history’
Paul Raines Global CEO of Gamestop pictured at this week’s Gamestop event in the RDS. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
It has been eight long years since Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 games console on to the market, and seven years since the world was introduced to Sony’s PlayStation 3. To put that in perspective, iPhone was not yet on the market, Facebook was virtually unheard of in Europe and the mobile app was non-existent.
Raines, who was in Dublin this week for a “Gaming Gathering” event at the RDS, said the company expects profits to be up 45 per cent in the next quarter, compared to last year, thanks to release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
And if history is anything to go by, GameStop will undoubtedly do well out of the two new consoles. The video game retailer’s market value soared 50 per cent between the last Xbox iteration in November, 2005 and the release of the PlayStation 3 a year later. Its share price then doubled in the 12 months after the PS3 launch which saw unprecedented demand.
This time round, GameStop is in an even better position to cash in on the popularity of the two consoles, having grown their number of stores worldwide by nearly half since the debut of the last Xbox.
“We have the biggest market share because a lot of other video game retailers are closing down. We are the largest distributor of Xbox in the world. We have more than 6,000 stores in 15 countries worldwide,” Raines said.
The release of the two consoles is good timing for GameStop, which has suffered a brutal nine quarters without much in the way of new video game products.
“We hope the video games industry will grow by 20-25 per cent in the US in the next year. The forecast for Ireland will probably be the same.”
Raines is expecting this to be the “largest console launch in history” adding that staff members are well versed on the two products.
“We are having gaming events all over the world like this week’s one in Dublin. I actually just came from one in Italy and I’m going on to another in Paris. At them, we have smaller sessions with store managers to teach them specifically about Xbox One and PS4.”
He declined to say how many pre-orders the retailer had received “for competitive reasons”, but said he hoped it would bring some much-needed luck to GameStop which has seen a slide in sales over the past five years.
Raines joined the company as chief operating officer in September 2008, before being promoted to CEO in 2010. “I joined at the worst time. The economy around the world was in collapse and our industry was in decline. It has declined by 38 per cent since its peak in 2008.”
“We have survived, though, as we have driven a huge amount of change both internally and externally. We buy old video games and sell them. We sell phones and tablets. We sell downloadable content.”