‘Lazy retailing’ brings £1 PC games

Woolworths’ ‘Entertainment Crash’ promotion has seen a range of £1 PC titles from publisher Greenstreet storm the ChartTrack Top 40, and even four year-old EA title The Sims reached number six in the charts, thanks to a super low £4.99 price tag.

“We felt we needed something that generated a bit of excitement in-store that offered the customer great value,” Woolworths’ games product manager Wayne Wilson told MCV. “The promotion has been fantastic. These deals bring new people into the market and don’t affect existing gamers.”

After courting much controversy with a similar promotion at the beginning of the year, Tesco’s Dan Cook told MCV: “I’m not aware of any current plans to run any discount PC software promotions at Tesco. We will be running a special on educational back-to-school software, but not gaming.”

More worryingly, it is believed that at least two other retailers are planning similar promotions, further adding to worries of software devaluation. Mastertronic’s business development director Garry Williams blasted: “This is lazy retailing, adding to the basket spend of stores but adding nothing to the longevity of PC gaming. It detracts from the structured pricing mechanism in PC retail that has saved us from the jumble sale mentality of pre-owned software that dominates the console sector.”

The fact that heavy discounting at a single retailer can elevate a handful of titles into the Top 40 demonstrates both the fragility of the summer market and the power of budget software.

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