(Bigstock Image)

GameStop announced today a multi-year strategic partnership agreement with Microsoft. Under the terms of the deal, GameStop is now an authorized dealer for the Xbox All Access program, which provides an Xbox console and a 24-month pass for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for no cost upfront.

The agreement further involves what GameStop refers to as a “transformation,” where its individual stores will upgrade to take advantage of Microsoft’s suite of business applications and portable devices.

Now, when you walk into a GameStop store, the sales associates will be equipped with Surface tablets for searching purposes, working with Microsoft Teams, and running the back end with Microsoft’s cloud-based Dynamics 365 suite of applications. In fact, by the terms of the deal as written in GameStop’s press release, it looks less like a partnership and more like Microsoft is sponsoring GameStop as one would a softball team.

“For many years GameStop has been a strong go-to market partner for our gaming products, and we are excited about continuing and evolving that relationship for the launch of the Xbox Series X|S,” Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in a statement. “GameStop’s extensive store base, focus on digital transformation in an omni-channel environment and expert gamer associates remain an important part of our gaming ecosystem, and we’re pleased to elevate our partnership.”

The Xbox Series S, left, and the Xbox Series X. (Microsoft Photos)

News of the deal caused GameStop shares to jump 21%, which is enough to qualify this as the first good news that GameStop has received in quite some time. While GameStop is still the single largest video game retailer in the world, with more than 5,000 retail stores worldwide, it was seen as being on a downward spiral even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is,