Retailers ready for longer cycle

The High Street has called for increased games hardware marketing from the industry if they are to really make the lengthier console generation work.

Entertainment chains, online specialists and supermarkets have all told MCV they agree with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s strategies to extend the current hardware cycle.

But they say its success hinges on closer collaboration amongst the trade.

Retailers were responding to comments the three format-holders made to MCV last week about the benefits of a longer hardware cycle.

HMV’s head of games Tim Ellis told MCV: A long console cycle – especially if sustained with great product, marketing investment across its life cycle and various upgrades – can, clearly, deliver benefits if such an approach means household penetration grows and helps to drive sales on a regular basis.

At least that’s the ideal scenario; the reality tends to be a little different.

Obviously it will be a challenge to sustain sales without next generation consoles, so the whole industry – publishers, distributors and retailers – will need to work together in an imaginative way to see how we can keep the market stimulated through great new titles and engaging marketing.”

The Hut’s commercial director Richard Chapple added: Hardware sales will always soften as technology gets older but advances in peripherals such as Natal and the PS3 Motion Controller are always positive for consumers and retail.

We need to work together as industry to make them as big as hardware format launches wherever possible.”

Increased support will help all the home consoles on the market consolidate their place in the mainstream, retailers added.

Sainsbury’s games manager Gurdeep Hunjan added: The marketing plans and launches for the accessories will re-invigorate the console sales and hopefully be well targeted to brand out to the more mass-market consumers.

There will be no need to re-educate consumers about new technology. Also, the quality of games should improve as publishers perfect their skills.”

It’s quite clear that dramatic advancements in hardware technology over recent years has slowed to the point that right now a new console is simply not needed,” added Gameseek boss Stephen Staley. There’s still a lot of life left in this current generation.”

ShopTo CEO Igor Cipolletta added that that if the industry can co-operate, it will achieve the kind of self-perpetuating cycle that has seen great PlayStation 2 titles being developed long after you would have expected the death knell to have sounded”.

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