UK games retailers are surprisingly upbeat in the face of significant market declines.
MCV’s annual retail survey shows that a whopping 75 per cent of store managers and retail buyers are confident about the next year, with those on the frontline pointing to the arrival of new consoles and Grand Theft Auto V as reasons to be hopeful.
Hopes are remarkably high for this year’s Christmas takings as well, despite a tough market throughout October and November. A lot rests on the next three weeks of sales.
We spoke to over 100 retailers to gauge the mood of the High Street this year. You can read the full results here.
Nearly 70 per cent of video games retailers expect a merry Christmas. According to MCV’s annual retail survey, 38 per cent of stores believe their Xmas takings will be greater this year than in 2011, while 30 per cent predict a similar year-on-year performance.
It’s a remarkable display of optimism in the face of a market that just saw November sales fall year-on-year by 22.2 per cent. Stores told MCV they believe strong sales of Activision shooter Black Ops II and Wii U will help see them through December.
However, a further 26 per cent of participating stores weren’t so hopeful, while a remaining six per cent are cautious about the festive season.
RETAIL LOVES COD
Black Ops II’s sales were slower this year, but 41 per cent of retailers still listed it as their highlight of 2012. In fact, many firms associated with Call of Duty received high praise in this year’s survey.
Activision was the top publisher with 27 per cent of retail votes. Official supplier CentreSoft was voted the No.1 distributor by 59 per cents, while Turtle Beach – the firm behind the official Call of Duty headset range – was the top peripherals brand with 27 per cent.
THE ONLINE MENACE
It’s not all smiles and Christmas cheer: more than half of all High Street stores surveyed expressed concerns about the threats from supermarkets and online retailers.
30 per cent of participating firms declared online stores to be the biggest problem the specialist market faces – a massive leap from the eight per cent that shared this fear in 2011’s survey. A further 24 per cent were more troubled by supermarkets.
It’s easy to see why. Supermarkets are currently the No.1 games retail sector, while online retail is the fastest growing.
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR?
UK games retailers expect a blockbuster 2012 with the help of a few new consoles.
58 per cent of stores told MCV they want new hardware, listing the next Xbox, PS4 and Wii U (our survey was conducted just ahead of the Wii U launch) as their most anticipated releases.
But the biggest hit was actually a game for current consoles – GTA?V. 27 per cent said the next Rockstar blockbuster was their most anticipated release of 2013.
Stores are also expecting much from the triple-A titles due during Q1, such as BioShock, Aliens, and Gears.