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GameStop's Zork 'customer acquisition engine' experiment was a success


The free-to-play browser game Legends of Zork has been a bit of an experiment for GameStop. The retailer has promoted the free-to-play browser game both in-store and online as the major title in its "Free2Play" service. It hasn't just been an experiment in offering online content to customers -- GameStop has also used it as a testing ground for promoting specific games.

"Targeted customers received free in-game play cards with purchases at GameStop and they used the codes on cards to enter the game site online," explained COO J. Paul Raines in yesterday's investor call. "The results were that we added a large number of new game players to Legends of Zork, roughly doubling the audience of that game in four weeks. Our customer acquisition costs were significantly lower than advertising driven customer acquisition, and it is clear to us now that stores can efficiently convert online game players and provide a multi-channel gaming experience."

Later, in response to a question about the growth of web-based games and its effect on GameStop, Raines called GameStop stores a "customer acquisition engine" for specific online games, as proven by Zork. GameStop's idea appears to be to earn revenue by promoting online games in stores -- and then possibly sell DLC cards. If it can do those things, it has nothing to fear from browser games.

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