Games Centre at 25: "Online sales are now a significant percentage of our business."

Scottish retailer Games Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary last month. We caught up with managing director Robert Lindsay (pictured right) to discuss its industry milestone.

What’s changed the most in games retail over the last 25 years?

The internet and digital have created the biggest changes in games retail. How we play games and how they are purchased has evolved from playing together on a shared console with a physically purchased copy of the game, to individuals around the world playing together online with a game that could have been purchased digitally or physically.

Have there been any surprise developments in the sector during that time?

You could point to any number of developments that have been a surprise at the time, but for me, one that stood out was the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which brought the mainstream audience to our sector for the first time. Looking back, it now seems like such a simple concept.

How has Games Centre as a company changed since it first started?

Sales for the first fifteen to twenty years were predominantly made up of games, consoles and accessories. Now our product range is far more diverse, partly in response to the changes within our industry and the decline in physical sales, but also because the gaming sector has evolved to cross over into other related products such as collectibles, trading cards and merchandise. And, of course, online sales weren’t a consideration initially and now generate a significant percentage of our business.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

We have had fantastic support from our key publishers and suppliers to help support our anniversary with spike promotions running over the coming weeks. A 25th birthday party at the end of the month will give our 40 plus team a chance to let their hair down and enjoy the milestone.

What do you make of the ongoing retro trend?

Retro holds a special place in everyone’s heart, whether it’s gaming, music or films. I’m surprised it has taken our industry so long to capitalise on the rich heritage it has created. The success of the Mini NES and SNES have highlighted this, and I’d be surprised if others don’t follow suit over the coming months and years. Mini PSX anyone?

Sales for the first fifteen to twenty years were predominantly made up of games, consoles and accessories. Now our product range is far more diverse.

What are the challenges facing games retail today and are these any different to when you first started out?

How we go about it may have changed markedly but in many ways, the challenges are exactly the same. Keep your customers happy, keep your staff happy, keep evolving and make a profit.

What’s next for Games Centre?

Planning the next 25 years.

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