Paul Whitfield from Excite Games in Guisborough discusses why he decided to hold back on selling merchandise – apart from Minecraft products – and why the Xbox One S won’t change anything for Microsoft.
How has business been lately?
Not too bad, the new releases have done very well. Doom did well and Uncharted 4 did very well. It’s been a constant seller since it came out. So basically we’re just waiting for some new stuff to arrive now - some things like LEGO Star Wars. The LEGO games are definite sellers, they always do very well.
What other games are you looking forward to?
Ghost Recon - that looks really good. That’s probably the main one to be honest. Then obviously the usual ones, like Call of Duty and FIFA - these are good sellers.
What challenges are you facing?
Probably just the usual - there’s a lot of things going on with digital now. When we make money it’s mostly on second hand items cause there’s actually good margins, as opposed to the new items. Things like Destiny come out with extras but they’re downloadable, so it means that when it’s traded in it’s basically just the original game again. It doesn’t keep its value as much.
What platform do you think will perform the best this year?
It’s been pretty close between Xbox One and PS4 - I’ll probably say that PS4 is slightly ahead.
Do you think the new Xbox One S will have an impact on how the console is performing?
I don’t think it will make a massive difference. The fact that there’s another one coming out will probably just annoy people who just bought one because of the price drop.
You also sell merchandise, right?
Not that much really. We did try it, but it wasn’t really something that did that well for us. We kind of held back a bit on it. We sold things like hats and T-shirts. We do try now and again with the figures - Skylanders figures for example. We tried Games Workshop items, too, and it’s not too bad but it’s not really our main thing. Our main thing is games. But anything Minecraft-related always does very well - T-shirts and figures for example.
Are you looking forward to VR?
Yeah, it’s definitely going to be interesting. I don’t know how it’s going to do but PSVR looks pretty cool. As long as it has backing from publishers and that there are enough games coming out for it, it should do well.