GAME is the prominent specialist video game retailer in the UK, with some stores around Europe, but has endured difficulties in recent history with administration and a transition to new owners in 2012. Since then the company appears to have found a degree of stability, and in an interview with MCV magazine stores director David Howard has explained how the download industry is a major part of the high-street retailer's plans.
GAME does sell plenty of goods through its website, of course, yet since its shift to new ownership the company has focused on high street events and new products to drive sales, moving beyond simply offering boxed discs on shelves. As part of a trend that's starting to be seen at retailers worldwide, digital content is available in stores through download cards. Howard explains that adding demo units and download products is vital for GAME's ongoing business.
It never stops. The digital world will constantly develop and we will continually invest in our store estate to give the best possible digital service. If you've been in any of our stores in the run-up to Christmas you'll have seen our dedicated Sony and Microsoft bays which have dedicated digital sections, touch screen technology and digital content for customers to engage with.
This is about offering an incredible physical experience to help customers understand and engage with digital on their terms. We have also launched Nintendo experiences in our top stores for Wii U and 2DS and 3DS.
Corporate hyperbole aside, many of the larger GAME stores — in particular — do now have a reasonable range of eShop download cards for both the Wii U and 3DS, as well as demo units for each system. These include some Virtual Console and download-only games (recent additions include Wii Sports Club options), as well as codes for retail titles; while the pricing can be steep — typically the maximum price — they do provide an alternative and, for those less savvy or confident with the technology, an accessible entry point to the platforms. Howard points out that by having download content on the high street, it can open up these markets to new consumers.
The amount of digital content is going to keep growing and we embrace that.
We help people to access that content. Could we have better visibility? Yes. We're working with our supplier partners on that and getting better visibility will help us develop the best possible customer experience. In short, we are already a very significant proportion of the market and are selling a huge amount of digital content - with better visibility we will sell even more.
Nintendo has certainly been improving its distribution of download content to retailers, though there's always room for improvement. Have you seen many Nintendo download products for sales at retailers in your region, and do you think bricks-and-mortar stores have an important role to play in selling these eShop games? Let us know in the comments below.