That must be galling for the country’s leading supermarket, and the world’s fourth largest retailer.
But today’s cover story proves that this is set to change, with the retail giant finally revealing its plan for gaming – and pledging that it won’t drop the ball again.
To call this an ashen-faced admittance would be no overstatement. Entertainment boss Rob Salter directly told our reporter that until now the chain’s treatment of games has been a ‘missed opportunity’. And that’s a quote that has been through the usual elaborate PR approval process.
So while hiring Salter, John Stanhope and Mark Burgess will raise some eyebrows – not least at rivals Asda and Morrisons (the most vocal of the other games-loving supermarket chains) or those that knew them from EUK – it’s a confident move which in itself makes amends for its previous faults.
This ‘dream team’ has already set to work in turning games into a priority for the supermarket giant. This is a team that has seen it all across the various large retailers and FMCG specialists through their work at the likes of EUK and Handlemann, and which seem certain to make Tesco, already a force to be reckoned with and respected in other categories, a major player in our own territory, too.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
You’d think that the storming success of the DSi this week could finally put paid to any fears that gaming is being squeezed by the tougher economy.
Yet some quick back-of-napkin calculations by MCV – and a chat with our friends at Chart-Track – tell us that the market is currently trailing 2008’s performance by a small margin.
Of course it’s too early to call if this will remain the case, given the differing timing of this and last year’s Easter periods, and the fact that despite a software drought in April, we’re due some big hitters come summer in the form of The Sims 3 and Ghostbusters to name but two.
But whether the year is ahead or not, the DSi’s success in pushing what is in effect ‘just’ an upgrade makes some things clear.
Firstly, we should count ourselves lucky – and also understand that it’s little wonder Tesco wants a bigger slice of the action. Over in the music industry, they’re only just getting a grip on working out how digital album sales have filled the void left by the hair-tearing demise of pricier CDs.
It also suggests all sorts of things about how the games industry isn’t heading towards a retail/digital switch-over, but is cultivating a model that entwines the two.
Most importantly, however, it at least proves games have some resilience in the retail market in the face of these economic challenges. Here’s hoping that continues.