The world’s biggest games retailer last night offered a forewarning that the digital market must be embraced by the old guard of bricks and mortar outlets.
In a clear, unequivocal statement that ringed around a packed crowd at last night’s London Games Conference, the head of GameStop’s digital business said the firm “doesn’t consider [bricks and mortar] retail stores as the be-all-and-end-all”.
Chris Petrovic spoke clearly about GameStop’s continued push for bringing games to customers online. He was not, of course, claiming that the High Street had been failing them – but instead suggesting that the digital market is an unavoidable growth opportunity.
Publishers should think about advertising XBLA and PSN games in-store as it would be of benefit to everybody, he said.
Petrovic added that there were numerous opportunities for retailers to grow within the digital space.
"Somebody like us, where we have users coming in wanting to buy the disc, we can scan that disc and tell them the five or ten pieces of add-on content available,” he said.
“Or even better, we can work with publishers who are producing PSN or XBLA games and have a section in our store to highlight those - that's a win for everybody.”
Elsewhere at the event, Screen Digest chief analyst Ben Keen said the game industry faced “structural challenges”, with UK sales not expected to hit 2008 levels until 2015.