OPINION: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Michael French
OPINION: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Our three leading stories in this week's edition of MCV magazine paint a pretty clear picture of the flux gaming currently finds itself. The traditional retail market continues to shrink. It’s been long predicted, but that makes it no less pleasant to live through. Nothing is filling the £50m year-on-year shortfall. Not even Zumba.

Meanwhile, another publisher is ramping up its plan to offer free-to-play games, supported by online ads and microtransactions. No part for retail to play there. To cap it all off, some of the most respected entertainment firms warn the next generation of gamers won’t be ‘gamers’ at all. Hopeless, right?

Certainly, retail faces some serious challenges.

The road to recovery requires us to pin our hopes on a Q3/Q4 comeback. We’ve got to assume that the games coming don’t just deliver, but add to the market. Battlefield must widen the genre, not cannibalise Modern Warfare; Assassin’s Creed must grow again; the dance genre bubble must balloon, not burst. 

But these hopes are the same as we have at this point in every cycle – be that generational or a yearly trading one. What isn’t the same is that the market is in the midst of some huge changes. And most of them are irreversible. 



Tags: Retail , Opinion , uk , video games , christmas

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Shameless but relevant plug - titles like We Dance can broaden a genre because it brings something new and delivers on quality. It is me-too, poorly produced titles and over-milking that are the problems which usually lead to a burst-bubble. The high st are not making the most of evergreen titles and instead constantly fighting with over-stocks from "the next last big thing" that wasn't quite so big. Not so simple as that? Naive? discuss...

Nik Blower

Jul 14th 2011 at 3:14PM

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Less is more! Less games released per week per month per year would help ease the risk and high turnover abandoning of titles retail can be forced to do.

This then may create less crap games / more better games - which would help reduce overstocks of rubbish for release supporting retailers.

I'd also like to see increased publisher trust in their own titles / less soon after release price slashing (leaving supporting retail in the lurch).

Darren Bennett

Darren Bennett INDUSTRY
Jul 18th 2011 at 9:19AM

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