GAME’s digital battle cry

Ben Parfitt
GAME’s digital battle cry

Leading UK video games retailer GAME has outlined its ongoing strategy that it hopes will increase the amount of its revenue that stems from its digital business.

At the moment in-store physical sales still account for 94 per cent of the retailer’s total revenue, but amongst GAME’s digital aspirations is what it is calling “a new ‘Websphere’ ecommerce platform” that will offer customers a wide-reaching universal online portal that includes digital downloads.

It’s also currently developing a social network called ‘Gamesnation’.

“Stores remain central to our offer,” interim CEO Christopher Bell stated. “We strongly believe that stores will continue to have a very significant role in PC and video games retailing.

“Over the short to medium term, we believe that the PC and video games market will continue to be dominated by boxed product. This is reinforced by the manufacturers who are producing peripherals for the third generation console hardware, before looking towards the fourth generation. This is positive news for the specialist as we always perform well when new boxed product technology is released.”

GAME is also increasing the focus it places on own brand hardware peripherals, with plans to both extend its range and lower prices.

However, the changing face of the games market – which has seen a massive shift to digital retail in the PC sector and an increased focus on digital distribution amongst console platform holders – is forcing GAME to look toward shifting spending habits.

“Over the longer term, we expect to see increasing diversity in the way people play and interact – more use of digital downloading to enhance disc based games, games downloaded in their entirety, greater access to casual (free-to-play) games, and more people playing mobile games,” Bell added.

“Ecommerce is an important part of our customer offering, delivering over five per cent of our revenues. Through our websites we can offer the same services as in our stores, plus a substantially enhanced range, online-only offers and additional marketing and support, i.e. Click and Collect, to our customers and stores.

“To give our customers a seamless brand experience we are introducing a new ‘Websphere’ ecommerce platform over the next two years, linking all of our territories and stores to provide a universal online portal, and fully connected infrastructure. GAME will invest £5m this year and the next in this ecommerce platform.

“We are building on this position by creating a social networking site, Gamesnation, which is currently in beta testing with thousands of members to increase brand awareness further and to appeal to a wider target audience.”

Bell also believes that, even in a digital world, GAME retains a brand advantage that places it in an advantageous position.

“Customers will expect a seamless service across stores, ecommerce and digital platforms. Fundamentally, however, we still believe that customers will want to access the pc and video games world through a trusted, reliable and independent provider, and we have developed a GAME branded offer for them all.”

And despite the ambitious future plans. GAME has also highlighted its existing digital success, pointing out that its network of sites currently receive around 112m visits a year.

“We continue to grow our digital pc download offer, which is now the largest in Europe with over 1,000 titles available. This gives us invaluable insight into customer demands as we extend our digital offer. We have also become the first video games retailer to have a presence in Sony PlayStation Home. Over the coming months we will announce our plans for other digital arenas.”

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Tags: GAME , games , network , Digital , retailer , social , video , revenues , plans , bricks , gamesnation , mortar , websphere

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