GameStop to Join Digital Download Arena

In an acknowledgement of the growing popularity of digital distribution, GameStop has announced that it will begin offering digital downloads at its stores starting in early 2010.

According to a Reuters news story, the downloads will focus on online console games using Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. GameStop cutstomers would be able to purchases available levels for their favorite games at the store and have them available when they got home.

Speaking at the BMO Capital Management Digital Entertainment Conference, GameStop COO Paul Raines said he doesn’t see the market for full-game downloads as fully viable yet, but that "the add-on download market will grow."

The Reuters story speculated that these type of downloads will help publishers through this recession:

These additional payments may be a key driver of revenue for publishers and retailers in the video-game industry, which has seen slow overall growth amid the tough economy. The idea is that consumers are more likely to pay to enhance beloved games than they are to experiment with unknown new games.

GameStop CEO Dan DeMatteo said he expects the company to have a strong business next year because of the impending release of some high-profile titles.

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