OPINION: Cut-price rescue

After the glitz and the glamour of E3, the UK games trade came crashing back down to earth when it returned to work last week.

E3 offered plenty of reasons to believe in a successful future. Kinect was proven more than a fad, Vita literally shows life in PlayStation portables, and Wii U has set tongues wagging.

But in the here and now, almost six months into the year, and retailers have sold around 3m fewer games than they did during the same period in 2010. There’s a hole in the market to the tune of 50m. And as for that summer release slate… well, what summer release slate?

These figures and the current software line-up saw GAME issue a profit warning. The retailer said although it had faith in 2012 and beyond, it didn’t believe the games it saw at E3 will ‘improve the market materially in the short term’.

Not the positive verdict our industry would have hoped for from an E3 packed with blockbusters.

So perhaps Europe’s E3 – Gamescom – will offer a few solutions.

Sony has set out to steal the show again. Gamescom is its event. Vita and all its European launch plans will be revealed. Most importantly, it is the place Sony will probably announce a new price for PS3.

If it does, and the cut has the desired affect on that platform, expect Microsoft to respond. 360 wants to be the top dog in Europe in the next six months.

Specifically, it needs to address weaknesses in territories like Spain, Italy and France. It can’t do that with Sony eating away at its market share.

Whether more affordable hardware can draw back in those lapsed PS2 and Wii gamers is to be seen. But it’ll at least help keep games retail going until the next wave of hardware arrives.

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