Following a whirlwind of criticism and negative reactions toward yesterday’s announcement that GameStop stores will stay open during California’s state lockdown since they classify themselves as an “essential business,” the ailing retailer has closed its doors after all. Per Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, a memo circulating among employees indicates that Gamestop may have been forced into shutting down by California governor Gavin Newsom. The note reads, “[w]e are closing our stores in California. The closure will remain in effect until further notice as we obtain more information from the California Governor’s Office.” I don’t know what “more information” will include, other than a dictionary definition of essential.
Dating back a few years now, nearly every decision from GameStop’s top brass reeks of desperation at best and negligent incompetence at worse. Attempting to brand itself as an “essential business” during a government-mandated lockdown is quite possibly their worst look yet. It’s an absolutely absurd classification for a games retailer that prioritizes a day of profits from Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal over mitigating a public health crisis. The choice completely evaporates any signs of brain activity that may have once emitted from their recent decision to bring on Reggie Fils-Aime to the Board of Directors. Additionally, any business benefits from staying open were pretty much immediately cut off, though it still isn’t totally clear if today’s action came from the company caving to bad press or an order from the governor. Hell, maybe GameStop just remembered that nobody shops there anyway and they’re just hurting themselves by staying open.