It's sad to see organisations like GAME going to the wall, but there is always a silver lining to any cloud. Other gaming retailers – that are left in the market – should be able to generate increased revenue from the year's big launches. Ahead of GamesCom in Cologne, KitGuru has a look at three stars lining up for a Q4 shoot out and asks ‘What is the future for the humble shop keeper?'
The last two Call of Duty games have gone ballistic, taking more money than anyone ever thought possible for a game. Famously, it was the revenue for this series that passed Avatar's takings. So the announcement that Black Ops II will arrive on November 13th is going to stimulate some interest among game retailers.
Ahead of the new BO, we'll be treated to Medal of Honor: Warfighter on 23rd October and Halo 4 on 6th November. Nicely staggered we think. Shows that the major game companies are not taking any chances and have decided to ‘play nice' with each other in terms of high-jacking your pay packet.
So with billions of dollars sitting idly by in gamer's accounts across the globe, what can the retail chain expect?
Well, looking at the longer term future of gaming, the situation seems bleak. This could be one of the last times that a major release generates super-revenues, at least in the modern world. Valve led the way with online registration, sale and downloads – but there is a massive investment happening at EA right now, to make sure that it can eat a bigger slice of the new-release-pie in the future. The project is EA Origin and it's aiming to usurp Steam at the top of the download food chain.
David DeMartini is EA's Senior VP for getting more dollars online and, in a recent interview with MCV, he's sounding bullish about how EA Origin will develop. Specifically, while seeming to praise Valve's pioneering work in this field – he also seemed to liken Steam to MySpace and EA Origin to Facebook. Given that we're all aware how that competition went, it's a pretty serious swipe at the competition.
We're talking about EA Origin as if it's just broken out of a shell and is stumbling around in a weakened state. In actual fact, the service has been installed by around 12 million gamers and it has already taken $150m in the last 12 months alone. Not bad for EA. Quite bad for the retail channel.
KitGuru says: So the high street stores like HMV et al will get a nice little boost on the run into Xmas, but it's hard to see how things will end positively for traditional shops when you roll the clock forward two years, everyone in the UK has some kind of high-speed-low-cost broadband and a new console (which makes downloading content simples). Our advice is for the high street to make hay while the 2012 Xmas lights shine, cos it's looking very grim after that.
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