GameStop is an American video game, consumer electronics and gaming merchandise retailer. The company is headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, United States, a suburb of Dallas, and operates over 5,830 retail stores throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Japan, making it the world's largest chain of video game retailers. The company's retail stores primarily operate under the GameStop, EB Games, ThinkGeek and Micromania-Zing brands.
In addition to retail stores, GameStop also owns Game Informer, a video game magazine.
GameStop has been the subject of criticism over the years in response to several of its policies. During the current coronavirus pandemic, the company was criticized for their stores remaining open to customers, a decision that was later reversed the following month in response to the negative feedback.
GameStop traces its roots to Babbage's, a Dallas, Texas-based software retailer founded in 1984 by former Harvard Business School classmates James McCurry and Gary M. Kusin. The company was named after Charles Babbage and opened its first store in Dallas's North Park Center with the help of Ross Perot, an early investor in the company. The company quickly began to focus on video game sales for the then-dominant Atari 2600. Babbage's began selling Nintendo games in 1987. The company went public in 1988. By 1991, video games accounted for two-thirds of Babbage's sales.
NeoStar Retail Group (1994–1996)Edit
Babbage's merged with Software Etc., an Edina, Minnesota-based retailer that specialized in personal computing software, to create NeoStar Retail Group in 1994. The merger was structured as a stock swap, where shareholders of Babbage's and Software Etc. received shares of NeoStar, a newly formed holding company. Babbage's and Software Etc. continued to operate as independent subsidiaries of NeoStar and retained their respective senior management teams. Babbage's founder and chairman James McCurry became chairman of NeoStar, while Babbage's president Gary Kusin and Software Etc. President Daniel DeMatteo retained their respective titles. Software Etc. chairman Leonard Riggio became chairman of NeoStar's executive committee.
Gary Kusin resigned as president of Babbage's in February 1995 to start a cosmetics company. Daniel DeMatteo, formerly president of Software Etc., assumed Kusin's duties and was promoted to president and chief operating officer of NeoStar. NeoStar chairman James McCurry was also appointed to the newly created position of NeoStar CEO. The company relocated from its headquarters in Dallas to Grapevine later that year.
NeoStar merged its Babbage's and Software Etc. units into a single organization in May 1996 amid declining sales. Company president Daniel DeMatteo also resigned, and NeoStar chairman and CEO James McCurry assumed the title of president. In September of that year, after NeoStar was unable to secure the credit necessary to purchase inventory necessary for the holiday season, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. With the filing, NeoStar board member Thomas G. Plaskett became chairman and James McCurry remained company chief executive and president.
The leadership changes were not enough and in November 1996 the assets of NeoStar were purchased for $58.5 million by Leonard Riggio, a founder of Software Etc. and chairman and principal stockholder of Barnes & Noble. Electronics Boutique had also bid to purchase NeoStar, but the judge presiding over NeoStar's bankruptcy accepted Riggio's bid because it kept open 108 stores more than Electronics Boutique's bid would have. Approximately 200 retail stores were not included in the transaction and were subsequently closed.
Babbage’s Etc. (1996–1999)Edit
Following his purchase of NeoStar's assets, Leonard Riggio dissolved the holding company and created a new holding company named Babbage's Etc. He appointed Richard "Dick" Fontaine, previously Software Etc.'s chief executive during its expansion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as Babbage Etc.'s chief executive. Daniel DeMatteo, previously the president of both Software Etc. and NeoStar, became company president and COO. Three years later, in 1999, Babbage's Etc. launched its GameStop brand with 30 stores located in strip malls. The company also launched gamestop.com, a website that allowed consumers to purchase video games online. GameStop.com was promoted in Babbage's and Software Etc. stores.