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Kinect at retail

Ben Parfitt
Kinect at retail

GAME's trading director Adam Davis tells MCV about how the High Street chain is driving pre-orders...

What demand have you seen for Kinect so far?

We have sold out of our initial allocation. Microsoft really got behind showcasing the product to our staff at our recent conference. This has helped drive awareness with our staff, raise awareness in our stores and has resulted in some great pre-orders.

From our perspective we’re lucky to have such a good relationship with Microsoft. This means we are still able to take pre-orders, and we are pretty confident of getting more Kinect stock in time for launch.

What has the demand for software been like?

Generally, we are seeing very good pre-orders on the software as we are on the Kinect camera itself. The demand has been spread evenly across the first-party titles and we are still rolling-out the third-party titles as they are confirmed.

What excited us most recently were the games announced in Japan [Steel Battalion, Project Draco, Codename D and Rise of Nightmares were announced at Tokyo Games Show in September]. These are games coming next year for the core gamer demographic, which for us is very exciting because that drove a lot of interest on the forums and with our staff.

Are pre-orders that important for a mass market product like Kinect? Isn’t it a device that grows over time like Wii?

What’s been critical has been experiencing Kinect. Every time we show the product in stores we get a reaction. That demonstrability is key, and we are the only guys I think that is doing that. And that has given us a real advantage in driving pre-orders better than anyone else.

Day one will be important. How can it not be when you consider the size of the marketing and PR that Microsoft is putting into it? We are treating it like it is a new gaming platform. So it is important for us that we do get behind it from day one. But I agree with you, this is about a long burn for both us and Microsoft.

How have you made room for Kinect in store?

Space is of course a premium, and it’s not just about giving more room for Kinect – although we have done that with some outlets. All our store managers have had hands-on time with Kinect, and we have worked with Microsoft to host a range of customer events in our shops. I think we are one of the only retailers to really get behind Microsoft and evangelise Kinect, and we’ve done it with the constraints of our square footage. It has been a challenge, but one we’ve embraced, and we have done a good job of it, which is reflective of the great pre-order numbers we’ve seen.

SUPERMARKET SUPPORT

Alastair Islip, Asda’s buyer for Microsoft, reveals the supermarket’s plans for the arrival of Kinect

“Here at Asda we are treating the launch of Kinect like we would a new console. This means front-of-store displays, in-department takeover, above the line marketing and lots of in-store theatre like standees, floor stickers and so on.

“We have dedicated space for Kinect in the Asda Entertainment department in over 330 of our stores. This will include a new Kinect software chart that is separate to the regular Xbox 360 chart.

“We’ve also produced Asda training videos to educate our staff on what Kinect is and how it works – obviously customers will have lots of questions about it and we want our colleagues to feel comfortable that they can answer them. We will also launch Kinect with midnight openings in over 200 stores.

“The response has been excellent with interest and pre-orders building nicely. We have recently had to switch off the pre-order on the solus SKU as it was going so well. Clearly Kinect is a very mass-market product and we pride ourselves on being great at speaking to a broad cross-section of people. We really believe we can be a destination store for Kinect.”

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