JOBS IN GAMES: Games Buyer career profile

MCV’s month-long Jobs In Games special, in association with OPM, turns its attention to retail today in our latest career profile.

We speak to HMV’s Richard Thompson about the crucial role of Games Buyer, the people responsible for ensuring titles find their way to shelves at launch.

How would you summarise your roll?
I’m a new release and catalogue software buyer for the HMV games department. I look after the Xbox 360 format and specifically work with a number of accounts such as Activision, Microsoft, Take Two, THQ and Bethesda.

What are your main responsibilities?
I am responsible for focusing on the Xbox 360 format performance, which is across new release, catalogue software and hardware. This involves looking at new release launches but also range management across existing products on the format and hardware bundle offers.

How did you get your job?
I’ve worked for HMV for over 10 years. However before joining head office I worked in a number of HMV stores. I eventually left the position of Assistant Manager at store level about three years ago to join the games team at head office.

What special skills or qualifications do you need?
Obviously being able to work with numbers is key to my role due to the large amount of forecasting and sales rates and statistics you have to look at. I do feel one of the strongest skill sets I’ve brought to the role is my store experience as this has enabled me to look at what I do in a very commercial light.

Describe your average day?
Thankfully every day has its own new surprises but my daily routine broadly focuses around internal planning and working with suppliers on looking at new release opportunities and how to drive sales across HMV’s catalogue games business.

What is the best part of your job?
There are lots of things that give you cause for satisfaction, and it’s wonderful being able to work with such a great team here, but I’d say the best part of my job is getting a positive market share and sales result for a title that you have put a lot of work into. To work on a title for months prior to its release and then to see all your plans come together and have a positive impact is a great feeling.

What’s the worst part of your job?
One word….spreadsheets.

What tips would you give to anyone applying for a similar position?
Basically, make sure you know your market. It’s key to have your own opinions on what you would do to drive a business forward, but it’s also important for you to know information about the product area you are going to focus on. You always have to keep one eye on your own plans and one eye on the competition.

What are your long term plans?
Developing HMV’s games offering is my main objective. However I want to reach the highest possible position I can in the buying sector.

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