Answers needed to solve UK games crisis

Just what is going wrong amongst UK games retailers?

A number of senior trade execs have told MCV the market slump has left them perplexed – compounded by a seeming reluctance from some corners of retail to do anything about it.

In the last few week’s MCV has reported on ‘record-breaking’ all-time lows for the sale of boxed software. UK games retail saw 8.18m revenue for the week ending August 11th.

Given that the UK is often touted as ‘the second biggest market for games’, that’s troubling. And now Klemens Kundratitz, the German entrepreneur who founded Koch Media, has called for the trade to figure out what’s wrong.

We’re trying to understand the mindset of English retailers,” he told MCV in an interview at Gamescom. Everyone in Europe is looking to the UK, but scratching their heads and asking why are they not managing to make money?

The answers are there – not many games are being released and for specialists there is lots of competition from supermarkets. But look, that’s the story elsewhere in Europe. Both publishers and European companies look to England and think ‘You have the biggest market, and a heritage of excitement around video games – you have everything’. So why can you not make it work?”

I appreciate that the market is in a mega-trench, but the crux of the matter is, for many years, UK retail hasn’t managed as an entity to make video games work for them. Why is that?”

And don’t think the new world of online games has the answer. German firm Gameforge, told MCV that UK consumers have been more reluctant to switch from console to free-to-play titles.

The perception is changing but it is taking some time in the UK,” said CEO Carsten van Husen. We need to convince the UK players with quality.”

The British malaise is being discussed by many execs.

One senior European boss told MCV: I obviously discuss this often with my friends in the industry, and when we all look at what’s going on in the UK… well, we are confused. Retailers will say their business is great if you ask them – but we know that isn’t true.

There’s something wrong in the UK right now.”


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