Enlarge /. No hand disinfectant needs to be used after downloading
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Update (19.03.2020 23:16 ET): Gamestop made a statement to Ars Technica: "While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide range of products and devices that are important for remote working, distance learning and enable virtual connectivity. " "" According to GameStop, it is "one of many providers" that meet the "significant need for technology solutions" that many Americans now face when working and studying from home.
"Although there are many companies and organizations that are far more critical than ours, we believe that we can have a positive impact in this very challenging time," he said. "We comply with all state, regional, city and local regulations and we will continue to prepare for future developments."
Update (19.03.2020 17:04 ET): Vice and Kotaku report that several GameStop store employees have received a memo from the company's corporate offices saying that the stores should be considered "essential retail" and can therefore remain open during this time. According to the memo, this is "due to the products that we have that enable and improve our customers to work from home".
According to reports, employees in the memo also receive a note that can be provided to law enforcement officers who may be trying to close GameStop retail locations, partially saying, "Thank you for what you are doing to protect us all. " This notice also includes a phone number for the "GameStop COVID-19 Law Enforcement and Government Assistance Line", which will be forwarded directly to voicemail when dialed.
It should perhaps go without saying that most states and places that have forced closings for nonessential companies do not consider video game retailers to be an "essential" exception. The Pennsylvania State Closure Policy, to name just one of many examples, explicitly states that all "retail stores, including malls, excluding pharmacies or other retail health facilities," are not essential and have asked them to do so voluntarily close at least two weeks.
GameStop representatives were not immediately available to respond to a request from Ars Technica for comments.
GameStop announced today that it will release Doom Eternal a day earlier to distribute the expected amount of pre-order customers picking up this game and tomorrow's release of Animal Crossing for the Switch.
Original story (03/18/2020)
Large retailers across the country are feeling the crisis as health authorities continue to push for social distancing and many US communities are ordering closures for all nonessential companies to limit the spread of the novel corona virus. A variety of retail chains, from Apple and Macy's to Nike and Hot Topic, have voluntarily closed all locations for at least a few weeks.
However, GameStop is still open in thousands of locations across the country.
This does not mean that it runs as usual. In a public "message to customers," GameStop says it supplies its stores with disinfectants, encourages employees to stay at home if they have mild symptoms, and encourages potential customers to "follow the recommended self-quarantine guidelines if." You suffer from flu ". like symptoms no matter how mild. "
The company also canceled scheduled midnight release events for Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal this week to "avoid situations where a large number of guests are gathered or queued up". And GameStop also says that it implements policies for social distancing in stores, e.g. B. Allow only ten people at a time and "create line management practices that create a 1 meter parameter (sic) between customers at checkout lines".
However, the actual situation in the shops themselves seems less encouraging. Reports from Kotaku, Vice, and Polygon, as well as a long Reddit thread, highlight many anonymous GameStop employees who say they haven't received promised cleaning supplies from the company's headquarters. Instead, store employees were expected to purchase disinfectant products from local consumables, which are often already picked clean, and then submit reimbursement requests.
"We can buy these items ourselves and record them as an expense," a San Francisco store employee told Kotaku. "At least in relation to my business, it is practically impossible to find the items we need to properly clean and disinfect the stores, and to keep ourselves as safe as possible."
Confusion seems to be widespread in other aspects of doing business. Vice reports that a memo sent to employees ordered them to close "interactive game stations" where customers could try out new games. But stations paid for by Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have to stay active, the memo says. Employees who may have shut them down are asked to restore them and "periodically wipe them with disinfectant wipes".
Perhaps most worrying, GameStop does not appear to have changed its policies for accepting used games and technology at all, forcing employees to use materials from customers who may not know they are infected. A store employee informed Polygon that he was instructed to "not refuse business for any reason."
"They require standard and tech trades, so we process a lot of unknown goods," a separate GameStop employee told Polygon. "They said we can use gloves, but (the company) can't provide them, so it's up to us to find them."
Was this trip really necessary?
To be fair, GameStop's continued operation apparently serves an increased market demand for business services. Kotaku reports from several employees that there is more pedestrian traffic at their locations, and Polygon heard from an employee who was directly told to "use the increased traffic". This is not too surprising as more and more people are looking for additional indoor entertainment while either working from home or in quarantine amid the spread of the virus.
Enlarge /. Ah, for the carefree days when you plunged into a GameStop and couldn't worry about being a meter away from other buyers …
Still, GameStop is hardly a retailer who needs to stay open during a pandemic. On the contrary, every main console now offers downloadable versions of all retail games in its catalog.
That said, if you're one of the nearly three-quarters of American adults who have broadband connection at home, there's no real reason to risk additional virus exposure and spread by going to a store for a physical disc or cassette search. Sure, some may prefer physical game durability or find lengthy downloads impractical. However, immediate concern about the spread of a global pandemic exceeds the pros and cons of this particular debate.
Even in broadband-free households, the vast majority have a smartphone with internet access, so they can order physical games from Gamestop.com or other online retailers, even when the stationary locations are closed. Just as ordering food delivery nowadays is more responsible than eating in a restaurant, ordering games delivery (personally and socially) is much safer than ordering a GameStop.
Still, GameStop seems to be focusing on keeping the stores open for now, even if the decision violates local government regulations. Polygon confirmed that several GameStops in the San Francisco region were still open yesterday, although only "major companies" were open across the region.
Long before the outbreak of the corona virus, these increasingly popular alternatives to the stationary game store GameStop caused massive problems. These issues have become so bad for the retailer that many investors have recently speculated that the entire company is about to go bankrupt.
I think we find the real reason why GameStop insists on continuing retail during a pandemic. "At two different conference calls, we were told we would have to think about the longevity of the business and GameStop would have to close the stores permanently if we shut down for health reasons," an employee told Vice. "So they basically sentenced us to work, otherwise we'll lose our jobs anyway."
There would surely be some sadness if a corona virus shutdown would result in a more permanent GameStop shutdown, either for individual locations or for the entire chain. Last but not least, such a closure would put a huge economic burden on the thousands of employees whose income depends on the retailer.
But there will also be grief if GameStop employees or customers contribute to the spread of an illness, experts warn that they could easily overwhelm hospital facilities in the coming months. And even without Corona virus closures, GameStop's fate as a version of the no longer existing Megachain Tower Records of the game industry seems relatively clear at this point.
Extending GameStop's inevitable decline does not appear to be worth the risk of prolonging human suffering that could result from an additional spread of the coronavirus. It is time GameStop followed the leadership of other major retailers and temporarily closed its stores during this crisis.