Retail needed to push PC games

The rise in digital distribution won’t bring an end to PC games retail – it will just change its function, according to NCsoft.

The MMO publisher – whose titles include City of Heroes, Aion, Lineage and the upcoming Guild Wars 2 – claims bricks-and-mortar stores will always serve a purpose when releasing games on PC, even if it isn’t necessarily to drive the bulk of a game’s sales.

Midnight openings are a prime example that show how stores can raise awareness of a title’s launch in a way that no digital retailer could, the firm says.

Retail remains hugely important to us,” NCsoft Europe managing director Veronique Lallier told MCV.

Many retailers have a dim view of the PC sector but they know the one genre that continues to thrive there is the MMO. The High Street offers a great opportunity and focal point for both trade and consumers alike, particularly at release. You need only look at the continued popularity of midnight openings to know this.”

NCsoft warns that doombringers who are quick to write off boxed PC sales are oblivious to how long the format will still be relevant at retail.

There is a risk in always looking at the worst case scenario of a particular trend,” said Lallier. In reality, genuine change takes place at a slower pace.

PC games will undoubtedly drift online as delivery speeds improve and resistance to digital sales falls away, but we’re a way off from seeing PC disappear from retail.”

Lallier says High Street retailers can help publishers reach a wide audience.

There are always more avenues to be explored when it comes to driving retail sales,” she said.

Whether this is promoting a game, time card or an exclusive item, we see it as an important ongoing process that can only be bettered by closer collaboration with all of our retail partners.”

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