Microsoft confirmed during its E3 2018 briefing that it's working on at least one new Xbox console. And before that, rumours were circulating about a new PlayStation. Those consoles have yet to be announced, but they are expected eventually, of course, considering it's been more than four years since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2013. Gamers are eagerly awaiting new consoles, and retailers are too. We spoke with GameStop merchandising boss Eric Bright at E3 2018 and he told us that hardware transition years are huge for GameStop, and he expects the next shift to be no different.
"When is always the big question," Bright said about when the new consoles might launch. "Phil Spencer announced they are working on a new Xbox, which I think everybody expects. When, I don't know. I honestly don't. But like every hardware transition that occurs--and GameStop has gone through many of them in the past--it's a tremendous time for us."
As an example, Bright pointed out that the Nintendo Switch launch in March 2017 was a huge success for GameStop. That success was driven in part by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being a can't-miss launch title. "We were selling more than we could get in," Bright said.
The executive added that he expects a similar situation for the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox console, saying he anticipates a "feeding frenzy" for the new systems. Beyond the hardware sales along, Bright said GameStop expects to be a market-leader in terms of "attach" rates for games and accessories.
"It's going to be a feeding frenzy that I expect to drive tremendous traffic into our stores," Bright said. "And we'll attach better than anybody else accessories, software to that."
Bright went on to say that GameStop's trademark buy/sell/trade model will also pay dividends during the next console transition. The retailer historically offers nice trade-in offers for people who are looking to trade in their older systems to get cash or store credit to buy new ones, and Bright said you can expect this to continue when the next consoles launch.
Importantly, new consoles from Microsoft and Sony have not been announced. However, as mentioned, evidence for their existence is mounting. Recently, Sony management said the PlayStation 4 was entering the final phase of its lifecycle, while Microsoft is already openly talking about working on new hardware.