French publisher Focus Home Interactive has declared it ‘impossible' for smaller publishers to sell PC titles at UK retail.
The firm is best known for a number of niche PC hits, including the Cities XL series – a gaming franchise that has been forced to depend on digital distribution this year.
Focus opted against a retail release for Cities XL 2011 in the UK – despite the game performing well at stores across France and Germany. The company claims it was unable to acquire shelf space because of the harsh conditions of the market.
It was impossible for us to secure a strong place at retail because of difficulties with distributors and the extremely unfavourable conditions of the PC market,” said the firm's CEO Cdric Lagarrigue. It has become very difficult to sell a good PC title there.
If people can't find a product they want in stores, they will buy online. It is the same in the US, where PC does not have the place at retail that it had before. It was no surprise when NPD announced in September digital sales had exceeded that of boxed product for the first time.
If the same study were undertaken in England, I'm sure you would arrive at the same conclusions.
In territories like France or Germany, where PC games have a better place in stores, digital accounts for only 15 per cent of the total sales.”