You heard right. GameStop is now a Publisher. They are using the name GameTrust for the publishing side of things, and they will be focusing on publishing Independent Developers rather than AAA titles, at least for the time being.
They have also stated that they will not have any involvement in the creative development of the games they are publishing. The example they give is for Song of the Deep. Not only are they advertising it pretty heavily, they are working on publishing a book with Barnes & Noble, and working on potential TV and movie deals. All of this for Song of the Deep. Since they also own ThinkGeek, I’m sure we can expect a lot of gear from their new published games as well.
Personally, with the way it’s described seems like a good thing. They are publishing games that otherwise wouldn’t get the attention they need/deserve as well as giving them all the exposure they can handle, and even giving customized deals for each developer/title. They have also said they will not be in-store exclusives, meaning they will be selling on the digital platforms as well. Developers are also allowed to develop on any platform they choose, including VR.
It sounds like GameStop is going to do some good. At very least, that’s what they are starting with. I personally take everything GameStop says with a grain of salt. I don’t fully trust them anymore after the Dragon Age: Inquisition Collector’s Edition fiasco, which my wife and I fell prey to, as well as certain stores openly lying to people to push product. In 5-10 years, if GameStop is sticking to the philosophy they are using to start GameTrust, then I’ll have gained my trust in them back.
As of right now, I believe that GameStop has the potential to do a lot of good, provided they don’t get greedy, and could move in to the world of good, honest publishers.