Retail is in a pretty miserable state at the moment.
Putting aside the ‘challenging’ market for games, and looking at the broader High Street landscape is heart-wrenching.
A wander around my home town or the town that houses MCV Towers and you will see shop after shop empty. To Let and For Sale signs are punctuated only by Sale signs or Closing Down placards.
As our research has shown (to be published in our guide to buyers next week), the number of games specialists has decreased.
This isn’t endemic to us, but the broader pressure on the High Street in general. Things just aren’t selling like they used to.
For games specifically, the emphasis has shifted to tentpole titles and mass market crowd pleasers. There’s no middle ground. That explains why specialists are struggling when the supermarkets thrive.
If there is an upshot to this, it’s that change can inspire.
Publishers are having to try new things to maintain momentum both in the physical store space and the digital one.
Flagging online titles are turning into free games, hoping to draw customers in first, make money later. Smart digital services are hoping to turn seasonal FIFA and CoD shoppers into year-round subscribers.
We’ve just got to hope that there’s enough new business models in these concepts and other ones to compensate for the fact a lot of the old ones have stopped working.