OPINION: The hits keep on coming... eventually

Michael French
OPINION: The hits keep on coming... eventually

In the middle of a summer slump, MCV hasn’t made pleasant reading. The weekly games retail market value is teetering worryingly close to an all time low.

You’ve seen the headlines – after all, we’ve printed them; we are all doomed.

But things aren’t over yet. Not by a long shot.We got retailers to put their money where their mouth is and predict what shape the Top 20 games of the year will take. It’s formulated with significant input from expert buyers on our Retail Advisory Board.

The lesson has been loud and clear for ages: the big is getting bigger. The Top 20 games are expected to account for half the games market, and 17 of them aren’t even out yet.

This is the fat end of the wedge of wonga that retailers are hungry for. These games will generate the cash to counterbalance 2011’s otherwise miserly trading figures. For individual titles there is room for movement, of course. Driver or Rage could sneak in somewhere, for instance. But this should give you a good idea of the products that will lead the way, and create a market where the ‘No.21s’ of the world – Professor Layton, Dead Island, Sonic Generations, Deus Ex, Cars 2, Disney Universe, Forza 4 and so on – get to thrive.

Is it a make or break Christmas? Of course it is. But the blockbusters are in place to ensure retailers do ‘make’ it. They have every chance. 

RETAIL MUST KEEP FIGHTING ITS CORNER

Of course chances decrease when the High Street has a reputation battle amongst the world’s opinion formers.I was sat front row for a conference keynote from one publisher’s top developer. In a technical presentation, however, were some telling statements.

“People are no longer going into GameStop or GAME en masse and paying for content in a quantity,” they said. “We have seen the Blockbusters and the HMVs change before our eyes. The corporate graveyard is littered with companies that resisted where the consumer wanted to go.”

Not a specific attack, but a warning – two live-and-kicking big games outlets even discussed in the past tense. So there’s two pressures on games retail. Commercial expectations for Q4, plus a public perception battle. It’s a little chicken and egg: one will help the other. In time, these incorrect viewpoints will be course corrected. But if I worked at one of those retailers, I’d be offering a polite reminder to suppliers that the High Street is still – for now – handling the bulk of games sold globally.

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Tags: Retail , uk , video games , predictions

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