I know what you're thinking – ‘What is this old fashioned nonsense on the frontpage MCV?'
It's true that European retailers grumbling about UK pricing and imports is nothing new. As one UK publishing bod told us this week: How many people there actually moan about this versus those who really do anything about it?”
Yet in the dying embers of this current generation, I see the latest developments as a portent of the future, not an echo from the past.
Boxed product will survive in some way for new consoles, at least in the medium-term. But publishers are going to be more stringent than ever when it comes to where they put their stock – especially if customers prove as hard to win as they have in the last 18 months.
The jury is out on whether a more wary approach to stock levels in different territories will ease the decline of retail, or accelerate it.
If anything, price quibbles are the result of the transition gap. When new consoles arrive, RRPs will go up for a while, and the cycle starts again.
We'll take another step closer to that when we finally get a glimpse of the Xbox 360 successor on Tuesday next week.
Word from retail says Microsoft this week briefed them on ‘changes to the model'. The trade wants real next-gen innovations, but no one's asked for a baby/bathwater scenario.
BROKEN MARKET? BROKEN RECORD
[Borderline sarcastic opening about ‘challenging' state of boxed game trading.]
[Polite sentence that carefully points out market has yet again fallen to its lowest ever level – with just 300,000 games sold in the UK last week and 6m in revenue.]
[Empathic sentiment that this comes as part of next-gen transition, customer fatigue, apps, and lack of new releases.]
[Frustrated remark that digital still isn't compensating for the slump.]
Yep, I'm really repeating myself when it comes to talking about what is happening in the UK market.
Does anyone have a plan to counter this market slump while we wait for new consoles to spice things up? [Etc]
Image source: Mitchelaneous