Holiday sales at GameStop (NYSE: GME) were good, but just not good enough.

Shares of the video game retailer opened 3% lower and traded as much as 6% lower after posting same-store sales growth of 3.4% during the nine-week holiday season.

That may be a positive number, but it's easy to see why investors are disappointed. Comps fell 8.6% during the 2009 holiday season, so the company didn't even claw half its way back to where it was two years ago at the individual store level.

This was also the holiday season that found Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) move 8 million Kinect motion-based sensors at $150 a pop and Activision Blizzard's (Nasdaq: ATVI) Call of Duty: Black Ops shattered initial sales records. So there was no shortage of hot products.

Industry tracker NPD reported an 8% spike in industry sales through its channel checks for the month of November, so either December was ho-hum or folks just aren't shopping at GameStop the way they used to.

The NPD report gets more unsettling when you dig into the sales breakdown, with lower-margin hardware sales growing faster than the software side with its chunkier markups. This is a bit of a surprise. Call of Duty: Black Ops is obviously software, and who buys a $150 motion-based accessory without loading up on a few of the new Kinect-compatible games?

GameStop's online sales doubled during the period, but total sales growth of 5.4% -- which includes a larger base of stores -- just isn't good enough. Heck, even beleaguered Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) just came out with a healthier holiday sales report this morning, posting a 9.7% gains in comps.

This will be a challenging year for GameStop. More retailers are offering video game trade-ins. Coinstar's (Nasdaq: CSTR) Redbox now has thousands of its kiosks spitting out video game rentals. Digital delivery continues to be the undeniable future.

GameStop investors can always cling to the company's attractive balance sheet and cheap earnings-based valuation. That may be enough to limit the downside, but the company's sorely lacking the catalysts to get investors excited about bidding up the shares again.

Where do you see GameStop in five years? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Activision Blizzard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on GameStop. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, GameStop, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz will admit to still playing video games, though finding time is the rub. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.