MCV Retail Survey 2008: Part Two

What title will be the 2008 Christmas No.1?
Call of Duty 56%
FIFA 09 13%
Need For Speed 8%
Professor Layton 7%
Gears of War 2 5%
Wii Fit 4%

Well over half the retailers surveyed backed Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: World at War as the game likely to grab the title of 2008’s Christmas number one. One retailer told MCV:

By sheer unit sales, it looks like Call of Duty: World at War is going to run away with it this year. The demand has been really high and we are selling an awful lot of copies – it is definitely the one we’ve had most people coming in for, so that’s our choice for Christmas No. 1.”

Of course it would be foolish to write off consistent sellers FIFA ‘09 and Need For Speed: Undercover, which continue to fly high in the GFK ChartTrack Top 40. And 13 per cent of those surveyed thinks FIFA could just jump above Activison Blizzard’s WWII epic.

However, a handful of retailers have suggested that Professor Layton and the Curious Village could be a surprise winner – despite many outlets currently being sold out of Nintendo’s latest DS release.

Do you feel confident about your business in 2009?
Yes 86%
No 4%
Not sure 10%

Do you see your Christmas takings to be…
Greater than last year? 58%
Same as last year? 21%
Lower than last year? 16%
Don’t know? 4%

Despite growing concerns for the economy, games retailers remain optimistic that Christmas 2008 can top the sales achieved in 2007.

Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed were confident of a better performance, with just 16 per cent expecting lower results from the quarter.

Retailers were confident the games industry can continue to buck the economic trend, citing the huge amount of big Q4 releases as the reason why.

If you use a variety of distributors which would you commend for outstanding service?
Centresoft 43%
Gem 12%
Keyne 12%
Ideal 6%
Koch 6%

With pretty much every big publisher going through Centresoft these days (including recent signing Capcom), it comes as no real surprise to see the distributor come out top in the 2008 MCV retail survey.

In fact, many were so delighted by the service offered by the Birmingham-based company, that they voted it amongst the ‘best overall companies for 2008′ as well.

The team at Gem weren’t forgotten either, who also put in an impressive performance during 2008. Yet they were matched this year by newly-formed distributor Keyne – who has become a firm favourite amongst the indies.

However, some stores weren’t so pleased, with many refusing to nominate an actual distributor and opting for the supermarkets instead.

Which third party peripheral or brand has provided you with the best sales and profit opportunity?
A4T 18%
Madcatz 18%
PDP 9%
Logic 3 6%
Venom 6%
Exspect 4.5%

Setting aside GAME own brand (which many GAME store managers voted for), A4T and MadCatz proved to be the most popular peripherals brands, taking 18 per cent of the votes from the stores surveyed each.

However, it was a close race with many of the retailers surveyed saying that they were impressed by the quality of this year’s accessory line-up. Although one spoilsport insisted that ‘none of them’ were any good.

Honourable mentions:
Nyko, Competition Pro, Nintendo, Blue Ocean, Datel, VGA

Who would you consider to be the best overall company of the year?
Nintendo 38%
Microsoft 32%
GAME 10%
Centresoft 4%
Sony 4%
Gamestation 4%
Activision 3%
EA 1%

In the battle for overall company of the year, Nintendo scraped it with 38 per cent of the vote to Microsoft’s respectable 32 per cent.

Nintendo’s consistent sellers and hardware popularity was the driving force behind their victory here – especially after the launch of Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit.

Microsoft was praised for their overall quality and aggressive pricing. One retailer commented: Microsoft has really done a good job this year by helping people afford Xbox 360 consoles thanks to their price cuts. It is obviously a tough time at the moment and a lot of people are worried about the economy, so their prices have helped keep things going for us.”

However, It wasn’t all publishers and platform holders, with retailers GAME and Gamestation making the list following a successful year for the High Street chains. Centresoft also grabbed four per cent of the vote, following a series of competitions, impressive deals and great customer service. Activision Blizzard and EA also make the list.

If you could have anyone else’s job in the industry, whose would it be?
Miyamoto 20%
Bill Gates 15%
None of em – I’m happy where I am 10%
Cliff Bleszinski 8%
A games tester 6%
Lisa Morgan 5%
David Yarnton 5%
My area manager 4%
Peter Molyneux 2%

The retirement of last year’s winner – Microsoft boss Bill Gates – has meant that industry legend and inventor of Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, has come out top with 20 per cent of the retail vote.

Miyamoto might not churn out as many titles as he used to, but his popularity, general genius and worldwide success has seen him emerge triumphant in 2008.

Just behind the Nintend designer, Bill and ‘none of them’, was Epic Games’ design director Clifford Bleszinski. The man behind Gears of War took eight per cent of the vote following the huge critical and commercial success of Gears of War 2 (also voted highlight of the year).

Lionhead boss and the face behind Fable II, Peter Molyneux, was the only other games designer on the list, whilst others were tempted by the life of a video games tester and GAME CEO Lisa Morgan.

Of course there was plenty vying for a promotion, with store managers nominating their area manager as the job they’d most like to have. And a surprising ten per cent insisted they were perfectly happy where they are.

Honourable mentions:
Ray Maguire, GAME manager, buying department of Gamestation, Satoru Iwata, someone at Blizzard, someone at Capcom, Bethesda boss Robert A Altman, head of EA marketing, head of eBay so I can stop the selling of dodgy items”, head of Sony, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.

Stores questioned by MCV included:

Blockbuster (Bridgewater), Blockbuster (Ely), Blockbuster (Fareham), Blockbuster (Maida Vale), Blockbuster (Wilmslow), Blockbuster (Woking), Bolts Electrical (Shetland Island), CHIPS (Arnold), CHIPS (Chorlton), CHIPS (Hartlepool), CHIPS (Lytham), CHIPS (Stockton), CKS Entertainment (Online), Close Encounters (Bedford), GAME (Braintree), GAME (Brighton), GAME (Bristol), GAME (Cheltenham), GAME (Chesterfield), GAME (Clacton On Sea), GAME (Coventry), GAME (Cumbria), GAME (Didcot), GAME (Islington), GAME (London (Camden), GAME (London (City), GAME (Maidstone), GAME (Maidstone (chequers)), GAME (Manchester (Trafford Centre)), GAME (Mansfield), GAME (Margate), GAME (Peterborough), GAME (Reading), GAME (Slough), GAME (Southampton), GAME (Stevenage), GAME (Trowbridge), GAME (Welwyn Garden City), Game ON (Essex), Gameseek (Online), Gamestation (Cambridge), Gamestation

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