GameStop to Expand In-Store DLC Sales

Retailer GameStop will be expanding its sales of downloadable content add-ons through its retail stores later this year, the company has confirmed--an initiative that will kick off in thirty-five locations through a "limited catalog" this spring and then expand to encompass more content and GameStop locations nationwide by the fall.

"We've had to create proprietary point of sale technology in partnership with Microsoft to be able to show that DLC catalog at retail," company COO J. Paul Raines explained during a conference call with investors, as transcribed by Joystiq. "We're also working on merchandising and marketing the DLC content in our stores. So this is something that we feel like the industry is moving our way, and our investments are starting to really be timely and publishers see us as the destination for sale of DLC in stores."

Currently, GameStop and several other retailers offer an extremely limited selection of downloadable content by way of publisher-made token cards, which contain codes for the content--such as Fallout 3's later add-ons--and are sometimes packaged in a traditional game case. However, this new approach sounds different and more expansive.

At the moment, the specifics are a little unclear--it's unknown if the company will be selling downloadable content for just the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3 as well, and it's unclear if buyers will receive a code to download their purchase or if the content will be added to their account and automatically downloaded upon booting the console.

Regardless, it shows GameStop is trying to keep up with the times. Across the past few years, publishers have embraced the idea of selling additional game content via download, with some even bundling such content with new copies of games as a way to help monetize second-hand sales and introduce gamers to the "ecosystem."

Certain publishers have also recently begun to restrict the online multiplayer components of their games to those that either buy them new or pay an additional fee, with GameStop having pledged to support these efforts through sales of the virtual PlayStation Store / Xbox Live currency one may need to unlock the functionality.