UK retailer GAME recently published its sales reports for the six months leading up to January 2017. This period wasn’t as lucrative as predicted, due to a number of highly anticipated titles missing their November release dates. In addition, the sales of physical copies of games has fallen,specifically by 15.2 percent, as recently reported by Ukie.
GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs said that Black Friday is beginning to become an issue for publishers and developers who are looking to get their titles out in the November release window. They’re hesitant because of the price drop now expected of them, particularly in the physical sales sector, where customers all but fight for the best deals.
In addition Gibbs said that Black Friday is an established event that’s here to stay, and the industry needs to learn how to adapt to it, releasing games before or after in new or different release windows. Key titles such as Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, and Watch Dogs 2 were all slashed in price within weeks of being launched, which is terrible for the developers and published behind them who make the most from the initial sales of their titles.
Gibbs said there were some ways around the price cutting week of Black Friday. Nintendo has launched a game during this week and never dropped its price, which Gibbs says is understood given that the game has literally just launched. An alternative is to launch a game in a period when no other publishers launch. This worked well for Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End, and Dying Light.
Martyn Gibbs says that the Nintendo Switch will continue to do well in 2017, though he admitted that stock issues are still a major factor affecting current sales. He says that cartridges have a higher perceived value than discs and downloads, possibly because they seem to have far shorter loading times.
He also spoke about the importance of PC in 2017. GAME have opened two Belong gaming arenas in a couple of their stores, which have seen great success at getting PC gamers in and playing together, at times training for eSports competitions. They plan to expand and open 20 more such arenas this year.
Finally, Gibbs concluded that 2016 wasn’t a great year for the company, but in 2017 they’re investing in growth categories such as Belong in order to innovate and expand into areas that are currently untouched by competing retailers.