GameStop says that it has identified immersion, achievement, creativity, and community as the four major motivations for playing video games. With that, the retailer plans to reinvent itself, and it’s just taken a big step in that direction with a new commitment to brick-and-mortar.

The company entered into a strategic partnership R/GA — a global innovation and design firm — with a goal of creating “unique in-store experiences” as the company seeks to “re-affirm its place in the video gaming culture.” In recent years, GameStop has faced challenges as gamers move from physical software to digital downloads, and is currently in sitting in the cyclical lull that forms between current and future console generations.

Working with R/GA teams in Chicago and Austin, the retailer is developing and piloting new, completely redesigned store concepts, including one version that will strictly sell retro gaming software and hardware. Other concepts will offer homegrown esports leagues and competitive sessions as the company seeks to introduce new ways for gamers to try titles before they buy.

“We’re on a journey to use our vast retail footprint to provide an engaging and well-thought-out experience that enhances our consumers’ gaming interests. Among its many strengths is R/GA’s ability to leverage consumer insights and technology to reimagine the experience our consumers can have in our physical space,” says Frank Hamlin, chief customer officer at GameStop.

GameStop says that it’s entered into a broad business transformation strategy in an effort to “cultivate innovative customer-centric opportunities to bring video game culture to life in every neighborhood.”

New store concepts will be tested in select markets in the months ahead.

Earlier this year, George Sherman took the reigns as CEO at GameStop, at the time promising to “expand the culture of gaming in new and exciting ways.” Most recently, GameStop shuttered the website for its ThinkGeek subsidiary, moving product in-house to GameStop, while keeping physical ThinkGeek locations open for business.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.