Hot on the heels of the news that Apple has started to remove the boxed retail editions of MobileMe in Apple Stores, the company is apparently reducing the number of games that it sells in retail stores as well (via The Loop). According to the report, Apple is planning to remove up to 80% of the games that it sells in store, as well as some peripheral hardware such as printers and hard drives, in order to make space for Apple employees to help users with their personal in-store set-up service.
The news really isn’t surprising given that one of the major strengths of the Mac App Store is access to both cheap and rather expensive major gaming titles. This allows for consumers to instantly acquire the games that they want rather than having to visit a brick and mortar store or wait for boxed software ordered online to be delivered.
The other advantage of this move really relates to Apple pushing the Mac App Store as the central source for all software for the Mac. Software in Apple Stores also tends to have higher prices than found elsewhere such as on the App Store or via third-party retailers such as Amazon. It therefore makes sense for consumers to look at other sources rather than Apple retail stores and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if sales in the stores were actually very low, when compared to similar software on the Mac App Store.
With the popularity of Apple products increasing, the Apple Stores are perhaps being seen less as retail outlets and more as a face to face support area where new and existing users can get help if they need it. While help is always a good thing, browsing the shelves for software with a full wallet may soon become a nostalgic memory.