The Finalists stage is a hard-nosed business, with Team MCV picking out special cases for special praise. Then we let the Judging Panel decide winners. And there’s a hundred judges to moan at. We even publish their names, but only after they have voted. So all above board.
Anyway, congratulations to the 38 Finalists that will take their seats with pride, and perhaps a little perspiration, on Thursday April 23rd. Enjoy the moment, you deserve it.
Whether GAME or Gameplayer, Disney or D3P, Media Molecule or Music Box Leisure, the important thing is to enjoy the success of being a Finalist in such a competitive market.
And should the prize elude you, some polite applause and heavy drinking should ease the pain.
Given the collapse of Woolies and Zavvi, it is clear the landscape of games retail is changing rapidly.
But there was evolution anyway. In the past two years, MCV has seen a widening of its retail universe – with many significant, or potentially significant, new accounts signing up to our magazine, daily email news service and trade events.
Despite erosion of the indie sector and the disappearance of two entertainment chains, the total number of buyers or stores that MCV reaches has not actually reduced. And the market overall has enjoyed explosive growth.
As well as the traditional game retail names, think Aldi, Blockbuster, Borders, ELC (Mothercare), The Entertainer, Marks & Spencer, Next, Waterstones and more. These are some of the ‘marginals’ that have already increased their games interest or are thinking about it. Plus many new online players.
Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and more are ramping up, whilst even the Gamestation and GAME empire will open 20 new stores this year.
And guess what we find in the Retail category of the MCV Awards? Yep, some new names, like Lovefilm, Gameplayer, Shopto.Net, The Hut and Gameseek. Seems to me that there is an abundance of retail opportunity if you look in the right places.
Our Retail Advisory Board has rightly given awards in the past two years to Margaret Pearson and Paul Donnelly for their service to games retail.
So the quintet up for consideration this year should feel proud that they were picked out. Not by us, but by the leading games retailers in the UK.
Take a bow Darren Bowen (Ubisoft), Andy Yates (Nintendo), John Clark (Sega), Mark Howsen (Sony Computer Entertainment) and Jonathan Grimes (Microsoft). May the best man win. But let’s have some women in there next year.