Entire GameStop Store Quits On Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Release Day
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to hear of entire GameStop stores quitting en masse as working conditions at the video game retailer continue to deteriorate. It’s rarer to hear of employees resigning the day the biggest game of the year launches. But that’s apparently what happened at a store in Michigan the day The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom came out.
“Unfortunately due to poor working conditions, the staff of the Brighton GameStop have decided to resign, effective immediately,” a note reportedly posted outside the store read. “Management overworks, under pays, and under-appreciates its frontline workers, sets unrealistic expectations and constantly threatens termination for any employee that cannot exceed them.”
A photo of the note was posted on Facebook by a customer named Chris Cannaert and subsequently reported on by local media after a tweet by gaming deals account Nintendeal went viral. Cannaert told Kotaku he was visiting the store on May 12, the day Tears of the Kingdom launched, to hunt for some collectibles. I got there right before they opened and saw the sign,” he said. “While I was there, five people l stopped by to pick up the pre-order of Zelda.”
According to a post on Facebook and Reddit, the entire staff of a GameStop in Michigan quit due to poor working conditions pic.twitter.com/9NOjDpDhK6
— Nintendeal 🎮 (@Nintendeal) May 15, 2023
GameStop did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tears of the Kingdom’s launch was a huge day for the ailing retailer turned meme stock phenomenon. There were lines around the block at some places, and several current employees told Kotaku they were inundated with in-store purchases and online orders. “I will say this is the biggest launch for a game that I’ve seen in years; not even recent Pokemon games have been this huge for us,” one current employee said. Some stores had hundreds of copies and still had to turn customers away who didn’t pre-order the game.
Many stores held midnight launches, and Cannaert said he heard from other customers that the Brighton location was one of them, with diehard fans able to get their copies of the game the night before release. It’s not clear if the staff was planning to quit the next day ahead of time, or the midnight launch was something that put them over the edge. A new employee at the Brighton location declined to comment about the situation, but told Kotaku that the store eventually re-opened on Tears of the Kingdom launch day within three hours of the resignations.
Despite its meme stock continuing to defy all logic and its first profitable quarter in years, GameStop employees have continued to report high turnover, lack of meaningful pay raises, and more intense pressure than ever to hit unrealistic sales metrics. As a result, even some longtime staff have gotten too fed up to continue working there, and occasionally entire stores have been forced to temporarily shut down amid the staffing shortages.
“To all of our loyal guests, we are terribly sorry for this inconvenience,” the Brighton store’s note read. “We appreciate every one of your and your continued business, but I literally cannot pay my rent.”
More from Kotaku
Sign up for Kotaku's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.