[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In Conversation is a new BASE LINE editorial feature for 2022. Each quarter BASE LINE speaks to a key retail partner, who shares their insights and vision for the future.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”9709″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]What does 2022 look like for GAME customers?
2022 is going to be a great year for GAME customers who are certainly in for a treat. In September, the final game in the legendary FIFA series, FIFA 23, will be on our shelves. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is back for gamers in October followed by Gotham Knights, an epic action role-playing game developed by WB Games Montreal. In November, Santa Monica Studio’s epic follow up to their rebooted God of War, God of War:Ragnarök is set for release and to round things off Pokemon’s much loved role playing games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are also due out this month. All in all a lot for gamers to look forward to in the last quarter of the year.
Outside of video games, GAME customers can also look forward to some exciting toys and tech as well. The Infinity Game table, which brings classic board games into the digital world, is one of the most exciting products which I expect will fly off the shelves. Our younger customers can look forward to the launch of new Pokemon and YuGiOh cards as well as our Mario plush collection.
Tell us about the concept at the heart of the GAME Customer experience?
At GAME, our ambition is to become a retail destination for fun and play. The heart of what GAME does will always be selling and promoting the most exciting and well-grafted videogames on the market and promoting the joys of gaming but we want to be so much more than simply a gaming retailer and entertainment brand. At GAME, our ethos has evolved and we want to advocate the sentiment of ‘play’ to encompass gaming, toys, tech and audio products.
What titles do you think will really catch the imagination of GAME customers in 2022?
With World Cup Fever set to ratchet up towards the end of the year as the group games begin, FIFA 23 will be a chance for players to recreate the biggest games. We also have the Infinity Game table which is truly revolutionary as it brings our love of boardgames into the 21st century by making them digital. It’s the type of product that has a broader appeal to GAME customers, especially those looking for a gaming product that isn’t a console video game but one the whole family can get together and play during the holiday festivities.
What is the most exciting thing about the video game landscape now for GAME?
The video game landscape has gone through a very interesting transition especially with the massive shift to digital. For GAME, being part of this digital evolution and working with format holders has kept us relevant in this exciting period of the gaming landscape. Like the videogame sector, we are also going through our own revolution by repositioning ourselves as a different type of retailer focused around play but not forgetting our heritage in video games which will always be close to our hearts.
What would GAME ask of distribution in 2022 and beyond? What is working well, what could be better?
Digital is obviously all the rage right now among gamers but there is still a lot of value in physical formats and this should not be forgotten by video game developers, distributors and retailers. Video game retailers need to be giving customers more reasons to buy physical. Collectors and limited editions are our industry’s version of vinyl.
What are some digital initiatives you’ve found success with across the last 12 months?
Microsoft Xbox All Access has been one of our most popular digital initiatives that has really resonated with gamers. In fact, we are a world leading partner on delivery for this proposition. A lot of our customers have seen real value for money with Microsoft’s Xbox All Access as it removes the up front cost of Generation 9.
What has excited you in other industries recently? What could be a game changer for video games?
Seeing the vinyl’s revival in the music industry has been inspiring and I would love to see a similar development in the gaming sector regarding a rekindled interest in the humble physical format which will keep people coming back to stores and enjoy the physical retail experience again. There is something special about the journey of holding a physical copy of a game inside a store, speaking to staff excitedly about it and then paying for it at the counter that simply cannot be replicated through a digital purchase.
What role can associations like ERA play in supporting your business this year and in the future?
ERA can really be advocates for the highstreet and keeping it alive. The popularity of digital downloads and ecommerce are a credible threat to the future sustainability of Britain’s highstreet. GAME are in a great position in that we are part of the Frasers group which are focused on the future of the highstreet and still believe in its importance. Associations like ERA and others need to really lobby the government to level out the playing field between brick-and-mortar and digital retailers by working with content creators to support highstreet retailers.
What has fundamentally changed for the video game retailer over the last few years?
GAME, like the rest of the video game industry, has to contend with the rise and dominance of ecommerce and digitisation. This age of digital and the subsequent reduction in sales has made us, as a brand, really reconsider who we are and who we need to be or should be. When Frasers acquired us in 2019, they provided massive support to enable us to save costs and re-imagine our brand.
Any retailer has had to acknowledge that most customers have moved online due to the proliferation of e-commerce channels. Now the onus is on traditional retailers is to give customers a reason to visit physical retail outlets and keep them coming back.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]