Retailers unfazed by empty release schedule

UK game stores have played down concerns over a quiet start to 2014.

The first six weeks of 2014 is notable for a significant lack of titles, prompting worries that the good momentum from the end of last year could slow.

However, buyers at top UK stores have told MCV that with PS4 and Xbox One sales still strong, now is an opportunity to shift more launch games for the consoles.

Q4 was an incredibly exciting period for new releases magnified by the launch of two brand new formats, so it’s inevitable that early 2014 would appear slower,” said SimplyGames purchasing director Steve Moore.

ShopTo purchasing director James Rowson added: The constant deliveries of PS4 and Xbox One consoles mean more and more gamers are converting and therefore buying into the launch titles for these consoles.”

Rowson certainly seems correct, with seven of the Top Ten games in this week’s chart available on the new machines.

However, Games Centre MD Robert Lindsay feels publishers may have missed a trick in not taking advantage of a quieter schedule.

January and February are the perfect months for titles that may have been overlooked by consumers during the busier period. Unfortunately, most publishers don’t seem to spot this gap and take advantage,” he said.

Despite the soft start to the year, retailers are bullish about the rest of 2014, with big franchises, returning brands and blockbuster new IP set to arrive from March onwards.

GAME’s category director Charlotte Knight told MCV: This year there are some highly anticipated launches in the first half of 2014 that our gaming community are really excited about, including Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs and Titanfall.

We are working closely with publishers to ensure we will be bringing the excitement of these launches as soon as possible to our stores, website, social media channels and more.

Steve Moore added: With huge games like Thief and Titanfall due in the next couple of months, we’re already looking forward to very busy year.”

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