Given the state of the current GPU market and, well, the PC hardware market as a whole, it would be an interesting business decision for any company to start selling components. But this is 2021, and all logic be damned; GameStop is going to start selling graphic cards.
According to PCMag, GameStop CEO George Sherman told investors during an earnings call on Tuesday that the company is expanding its product catalog to include everything a PC gamer would ever need in a battle station. Despite the company’s drop in net sales for Q4 2020—$2.12 billion compared to $2.19 billion in Q4 2019—the gaming retailer seems confident expanding into PC gaming is the right move. Even with the drop in net sales, and a tumultuous year overall, GameStop saw an explosion in e-commerce, which helps explains its pivot to selling PC components. But the company will not solely focus on GPUs.
Sherman said the new PC gaming section of GameStop’s website will include pre-built desktops, gaming laptops, game tables, gaming TVs, monitors, and much more. The main hub for all that will be GameStop.com/PCGaming in the future, but for right now it redirects to a different address where you can get other PC gaming-related things.
Currently, the only way you can search for a graphics card is by typing ‘RTX 3080' or something similar into the search bar, as PCMag points out. There isn’t an obvious link to that page, unsurprisingly, because there is zero stock available. But that hasn’t stopped GameStop from putting out local ads featuring several RTX 30-series graphics cards for sale. (To be fair, the website says there’s a RTX 3060 MSI Gaming X Trio expected to be available on April 16, but it’s listed at $690, which is $361 above MSRP.
Intel and AMD processors are conspicuously missing from the PC gaming section, however, even from the search option. It seems that GameStop is selling everything but the CPU, which is arguably the most important part of the entire gaming PC. Perhaps it’ll add processors to its inventory sometime in the near future, but the CPU market is as strained as the GPU market at the moment, so it seems unlikely.
It’s all well and good that GameStop wants to go in this direction, but how the company handles bots and scalpers remains to be seen. It could go the Micro Center route and require people to purchase GPUs in store or only offer them for in-person pick-up. That will help mitigate scalpers, although not entirely; people can still scalp a single GPU they purchased from Micro Center or another retailer, as we’ve seen in the past.
Ultimately, GameStop will have to pry PC gamers away from the other tried and true retailers, including Micro Center and Newegg, that have carried PC components for years. It seems like GameStop is hoping to draw in customers by carrying some elusive graphics cards and hoping they stay for a motherboard or a power supply.