This article written for Big Shiny Robot by Trey Sanders, you can reach him on Gmail firstname.lastname@example.org
Following January’s announcement, the partnership between Insomniac Games and GameStop has now blossomed into a full blown video game publication hub for the retail giant; unveiling their new branch of operations: GameTrust.
As of April 18, GameStop has signed deals with multiple independent studios and will focus on supporting games at or around a $15 million budget. The studios that have signed with GameTrust are “The Order: 1886” developer Ready at Dawn, spanish studio Tequila Works, and the “Trine” masterminds, Frozenbyte. Under the non-traditional GameTrust umbrella, developers are free to do and create what they want, at the cost of losing QA support and localization that other publishers provide. GameTrust will act as publisher and distributor for both physical and digital GameStop store fronts, as well as digital services like Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Store.
“GameTrust is a separate vertical for a reason, so we can’t be working with the core merchandising team with all the publishers.
In a conversation between Gamasutra and Mark Stanley, Vice President of Internal Development and Diversification, states that “this is another division that makes sense. Most of the challenges that developers face include two things: ‘how do we get to market?’ and ‘how do we retain full creative control of what we’re making?’ Through traditional publishing models, those are really tough pieces.” When he was asked about the concerns of competitiveness and monopolization he said, “GameTrust is a separate vertical for a reason, so we can’t be working with the core merchandising team with all the publishers. They need to focus on that, that is the bread and butter of GameStop.”
Becoming a video game publisher makes a lot of sense for a company built and driven by the industry, but after closing down more than a dozen locations in Puerto Rico, GameStop has been doing whatever they can to remain a viable, albeit profitable business as digital game sales continue to rise. With their first game, Song of the Deep releasing on July 12, 2016, we’ll just have to sit back and see if this new venture will pay off for the retail giant.