GameStop wants to make it easier for you to buy a new console this holiday, even if you don’t have the cash in your pocket. The company is considering a plan to launch multiple alternative payment models this month, according to internal documents provided to GamesBeat. These payment options include layaway, installment plans, and rent-to-own. GameStop confirmed the plans during its quarterly earnings report today.
These options could prove crucial to GameStop this holiday. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are both launching this quarter, but gamers are expecting them to come with high prices. Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X is $500 earlier today. These could prove too expensive to the millions of people who are underemployed or on reduced salaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while many people will likely choose not to buy a system if they cannot afford it, GameStop thinks it can help those who want to try to scrimp and save.
This is separate from Xbox All Access, which is Microsoft’s own program that enables gamers to get an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X for $25 or $35 per month for 24 months. GameStop is offering Xbox All Access in addition to other third-party payment options.
Here’s how these payment programs should work.
Layaway enables customers to keep a product on reserve at a store until they complete the full payment. This enables consumers to commit money toward a purchase in smaller chunks.
Once you pay the full price, you can take home your PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Installment plans with third-party processors
GameStop is also adding support for third-party payment services like Quadpay and Klarna. These companies enable you to split up a purchase into 4 payments over a 6-week period.
These payments are interest-free. Instead, Quadpay or Klarna takes a commission from the retailers.
The retailer is also planning to work with a separate company to offer a rent-to-own option. Here is how GameStop describes it in its memo to managers:
The merchandising team is working with a reputable third-party partner that offers rent-to-own options for most items in your stores. This plan allows the customer to walk out the door with minimal up-front money and to pay their purchase off between 30 days and 12 months.
GameStop says that customers can use this to pay as they play. And it also gives the option to return the product at any point during the 12-month pay-off period.
GameStop needs you to buy consoles
This upcoming holiday’s importance is for the world’s largest gaming-specific retailer. GameStop has seen its revenues and stock price decline in recent years as more game revenue goes digital. But you cannot download new hardware. And GameStop played a significant role in console sales during the debut of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2013. The company is hoping to repeat that this holiday and into 20212.
These payment plans are part of ensuring that can work. Of course, it’s still an open question what the console launches will end up looking like.
Microsoft and Sony haven’t announced prices let alone retail partners. But Sony did reveal a preorder-signup program for its own online store. It seems possible that Sony and Microsoft could minimize the involvement of brick-and-mortar retailers for a time.
But GameStop’s new new payment options should still help it whenever it’s able to get stock.