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GameStop CEO Q&A: From Retail to Digital

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The video game market has been on a losing streak, leaving GameStop (GME - Get Report) at a critical crossroad.

In June, total video game sales dropped 6% to $1.1 billion, with software sales plunging 15% to $531.5 million, and software growing 5% to $401.7 million. These figures followed several months of declines.

The perpetuating fear is that -- as with the book, music and movie industries -- the increasing dominance of digital content is rendering the traditional means of selling video games obsolete. Investors have already seen this happen to Blockbuster (BBI), which is knocking on death's door as Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) steals market share with its multi-platform movie experience. Borders (BGP) and Barnes & Noble (BKS) have also suffered as they try to find their place in an e-reader world.

Will GameStop now suffer a similar fate?

Paul Raines, who took the reigns as CEO at GameStop just a few weeks ago, is tasked with figuring out what GameStop's place will be in this evolving video game market.
Paul Raines
GameStop CEO Paul Raines

Raines joined GameStop as chief operating officer back in September 2008. Prior to this, he held several roles at Home Depot (HD), including executive vice president of U.S. operations, and also spent time at L.L. Bean.

Raines told TheStreet how he plans to score another life for GameStop and the future of the video game market.

TheStreet: What are your long-term goals for GameStop?

Raines: The strategy is to be a multi-channel aggregator for gaming. We want to be the destination for gamers, whether they are getting content via online, mobile, console or any other platform. To become this destination, [GameStop] has several initiatives underway. We formed a partnership with Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) that will allow us to sell digital content at retail stores. We are also migrating our Web site from a purely e-commerce site to a gaming platform that users can visit to play, learn and purchase games. We are testing a loyalty program, Power Up Rewards, which should go national by fall. The program will provide members with discounts and credits, as well as some other perks like trips to game publishers, passes to Comic Con, and first-access to becoming a beta tester for new games.
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