The future of gaming retail may come from an unexpected source: Target.
While GameStop quietly tests new store concepts in and around its Tulsa, Oklahoma market and PlayLive Nation continues opening new store locations, Target stealthily converted its San Francisco Open House location into a new gaming experience.
Following a two-month renovation period, Target Open House reopened as Game Room earlier this month. The spacious store located at 115 4th St. in San Francisco is touted as “A Play Space for Tomorrow’s Gamer.”
“We aren’t just showing you tomorrow’s gaming,” says a statement on the Open House website. “We hand you a controller and invite you to take it for a spin. In our Game Room, gamers of all skill levels can find new tools to double-jump into an exciting gaming future.”
The experiential retail concept includes hands-on demo stations for PC and console games including Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch; streaming on Mixer; and places for guests to explore Apple Arcade and Google Stadia. Additionally, visitors can check out the latest hardware and accessories and shop in-store.
For the past few years, Target has used its Open House location as an incubator to test and develop new ideas and concepts. With new systems on the horizon, the game industry is looking for a boost following several quarters of decline. The right retail environment just may help move the needle back in a positive direction.