After 20 years of serving the nerds of the internet with a wide variety of geek-related merchandise, ThinkGeek will officially close down its website and will migrate its operations over to its parent company GameStop’s website instead. In the meantime, the store is holding a 50 percent off “moving sale.”
By way of explanation, a GameStop spokesperson would only provide the following business-speak: The company is “engaging in a strategic business transformation initiative to build the GameStop of the future,” and that as part of that effort “we have made the decision to reorganize our ThinkGeek business by streamlining the operations of our ThinkGeek.com ecommerce platform and transitioning it within our GameStop.com omnichannel platform.”
What that essentially boils down to: the company is consolidating under one brand name. According to the company’s customer service page, the ThinkGeek site will shut down on July 2nd, after which you’ll be “able to ship a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop.” The company also says that it will keep its 40+ physical retail locations around the country open, and that ThinkGeek items will be also be available in the company’s chain of GameStop stores.
On one hand, it makes sense: operating multiple similar brands and their supporting organizations is complicated. When GameStop acquired ThinkGeek back in 2015, it noted that it wanted to expand its offerings in the “fast-growing collectibles category,” and sure enough, you could soon find all sorts of nerdy knicknacks at your local GameStop that were previously only available online.
But for all the cold logic that justifies GameStop’s decision, I can’t help but think that it’s a real loss. ThinkGeek has always been a delightful place to shop for the spectrum of geek-minded people, from the hardcore fans to the befuddled families of those who like things like Star Trek and Dungeons and Dragons. The site always maintained a whimsical, meta nature for the larger geek world and internet fandom. Want an oven mitt that looks like a Wampa paw? Check. How about a bowl shaped like a shark? I still giggle every time I fill it with goldfish crackers. Tardis bathrobe? Yep.
That’s to say nothing of the company’s annual April Fool’s Day prank products, outrageous stunts that no rational company would devote a ton of energy and resources to undertake, even when everyone is in on the joke. (The Verge’s Sean Hollister still wishes he’d coughed up the cash for that Tauntaun sleeping bag.)
Now, whatever GameStop determines will remain of the brand will get wedged amongst the shelves loaded down with Funko Pops, action figures, and racks of video games. Hopefully, GameStop will manage to bring some of ThinkGeek’s playful whimsy, too.