OPINION: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Our three leading stories in this week’s edition of MCV magazine paint a pretty clear picture of the flux gaming currently finds itself.The traditional retail market continues to shrink. It’s been long predicted, but that makes it no less pleasant to live through. Nothing is filling the 50m year-on-year shortfall. Not even Zumba.

Meanwhile, another publisher is ramping up its plan to offer free-to-play games, supported by online ads and microtransactions. No part for retail to play there.To cap it all off, some of the most respected entertainment firms warn the next generation of gamers won’t be ‘gamers’ at all.Hopeless, right?

Certainly, retail faces some serious challenges.

The road to recovery requires us to pin our hopes on a Q3/Q4 comeback. We’ve got to assume that the games coming don’t just deliver, but add to the market. Battlefield must widen the genre, not cannibalise Modern Warfare; Assassin’s Creed must grow again; the dance genre bubble must balloon, not burst.

But these hopes are the same as we have at this point in every cycle – be that generational or a yearly trading one.What isn’t the same is that the market is in the midst of some huge changes. And most of them are irreversible.

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