Coronavirus Pandemic Leads GameStop to Cancel All In-Store Events

In what should come as little surprise, GameStop has announced that all in-store events have been cancelled indefinitely, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes midnight releases, and any other store exclusive activities. This will likely come as a bit of a disappointment for those that pre-ordered games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal through the retailer, but with the Center for Disease Control advising against gatherings of more than 10 people, this sort of decision seemed only inevitable. While many other retailers are temporarily closing their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, GameStop has announced no plans to do the same, as of this writing.

The pandemic will surely have an impact on businesses across the board, but GameStop currently finds itself in a precarious position. The company is coming off a tough year, as interest in the current generation of consoles is waning. GameStop has hinged their bets on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X providing a much stronger 2020 holiday season, but with industry impacted across the globe, it seems entirely possible that the two systems could miss their holiday release windows.

Despite a lack of demand for the PlayStation and Xbox brands at the moment, Nintendo Switch has proven to be one of GameStop's better sellers throughout the last few years. Unfortunately, Nintendo is also feeling pressure as a result of coronavirus, as shortages for the Switch console are expected in North America and Europe. With that potential revenue stream in danger, and the prospect of several highly-anticipated games missing their releases dates, GameStop doesn't seem to have much to fall back on.

As the pandemic results in more gamers opting to self-quarantine, it seems only inevitable that those same gamers will opt to purchase their games digitally, rather than physically. It makes sense that GameStop would want to remain open as long as possible to prevent players from doing just that, but the retailer's current situation seems untenable, at best, particularly with midnight launches now cancelled. An announcement that the retailer is temporarily closing seems all but inevitable. In order to keep customers safe, the company should consider making the move sooner, rather than later.

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