Simply pass a storefront stocked with N64, PlayStation and Dreamcast games with older gamers in tow and you'll be able to see that retro is very much still in fashion.
The accompanying chorus of phrases like ‘I remember playing this as a kid' and ‘I put so many hours into Goldeneye' highlights the nostalgia-driven opportunity retailers should be harnessing – with many already taking the chance.
Retro gaming remains big news for us,” GAME category director Charlotte Knight tells MCV. A number of our customers are still getting considerable use out of their older consoles. The PS2 and original Xbox are still great pieces of kit as well as an affordable entry point to gaming.
Our aim is to make the widest possible range of software, hardware, digital content and accessories available to our customers, and as long as there is demand for these games, we will continue to sell them.”
David James-Turvey of Welsh specialist Retrobution echoes the sentiment that PlayStation 2 titles are particularly popular.
PS2 always sells well – what a library of games,” he states. At the right offer PS2 software is a brilliant daily seller.”
James-Turvey adds his belief that Xbox 360 games will eventually inherit the retro gaming crown.
In five to ten years or so, Xbox 360 games will be very cheap to buy, like PS2 games, but they will still sell,” he says. They are the retro of tomorrow.”
Many have seen the rise of digital as a death knell for retro gaming, as original cartridges and discs are replaced with code on online stores. For example, Sony offers PlayStation games digitally as ‘PSone Classics'.
I'm trying to help prevent a digital takeover by offering retro stuff at reasonable prices and allowing customers to trade new for old or old for new to keep the cycle going,” says James-Turvey.
He adds: Retro for the average customer is still very much an impulse buy.
Some may want to play Crash Bandicoot for the weekend with mates, and if they buy it digitally they won't be able to sell it again.
As long as you can keep the trade cycle going there's still life in those old yet very playable games.”
"In five to ten years or so, Xbox 360 games will be very
cheap to buy, like PS2 games, but they will still sell.They are
the retro of tomorrow."
David James-Turvey, Retrobution
But GAME conversely sees digital as a new lease of life for some titles.
There is no reason why retro and digital can't go hand-in-hand,” says Knight. The ever-increasing number of platforms and ways to game provide a huge opportunity for publishers and retailers to help unlock the wealth of digital content that is available.
A few months ago we launched a range of Sega digital download codes, opening up arcade games to a whole new audience.
It's fun to be able to offer a new way for parents to play alongside their kids and to see a revival of some iconic games and characters. In fact, we've seen such a great response that we recently extended the range.
That said, we're sure that well looked after physical memorabilia and collectibles will continue to hold their value.”
RIPE OLD AGE
Whichever way retro is being kept alive, it's clear to see that, for both smaller and bigger retailers, the clich stands – there's plenty of life in the old dog yet.
You only need to walk into one of our stores to see that previous-generation consoles still provide viable retail opportunities,” confirms Knight. We'd expect to see content for these platforms become increasingly digital and whilst there is demand we'll be there to meet it.”
James-Turvey concludes: There will always be an audience for more traditional gaming.
The more people preserve physical games and offer trade-ins, the longer you will see them in shops. If stores gradually write them off, then it'll be a sad day when all your physical games will be on eBay at mad prices.”