How to Play a blinder

Ben Parfitt
How to Play a blinder

The firm set about chomping away at the market share of the High Street when it was established in 1998, setting out its stall on eye-poppingly attractive CD and DVD deals.

Back then, interactive entertainment ran a close third in the retailer’s marketing – something which has changed pretty dramatically since the turn of the millennium.

Just ask Play’s head of games Gian Luzio, who picked up his second award in a row for best online retailer at the recent MCV Industry Excellence Awards 2007.

“The games business at Play has seen phenomenal growth in the past six years and this is credit to all the staff at Play pushing the boundaries,” he explains.

“Play offers a convenient shopping experience with reliable delivery and customer service agents on the end of the phone. We also offer great content and pricing.”

Play has made a popular name for itself in the gaming community for its bargain pricing policy on new releases and back catalogue software – which often front its headline-grabbing ‘Deal Of The Week’ offers.

In the last year, the company has worked hard to bring consoles into this super-competitive pricing strategy – and seen hardware sales go through the roof as a result.
“The Play games team has achieved so much in the last 12 months that it’s hard to name a highlight,” adds Luzio.

“Winning the MCV award twice is right up there but I have to say the push into the console market is probably our single biggest achievement.”

“Customers have been happy buying games from us for the past six years but didn’t want to wait three days for a console to be delivered. We’ve addressed this and improved our console offering to have the best bundle deals of any retailer. It’s really showing now with our console sales up 1,000 per cent over the last year.”

Luzio’s team – which includes games marketing manager Richard Chapple, games analyst Jenni Smith and buyers Steve Moore, Nick Simpkins and Keith Sharpe – is confident that it can top its startling 2006/2007 performance over the coming year, including its record Christmas.

“The games publishers have been very supportive in the last few years as the online retail channel has expanded, with Play leading the market,” explains Luzio.

“We have many plans for the future and have been developing a few neat ideas over the past couple of years that will dramatically enhance the shopping experience on Play for UK gamers.”

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