The UK games market must learn from its American cousins if it wants to build a sizeable merchandise market.
Former Ubisoft licensing head Rob Stevenson, who has just launched his Huge Crate merchandise business, says the UK is falling behind the US due to publishers and retailers not viewing video games as entertainment brands.
The UK merchandise market is a nascent and growing market,” Stevenson commented. Generally it's up but it has its moments when it seems to not perform as well as it should. It's still trying to find out where the right price point is, where are the best products, what do people want, and it's still very much a learning curve for everybody, retailers, suppliers or manufacturers.”
He added: An education job has to be done by the industry to explain the value of gaming. There's still an old school perception of what a game actually is, they don't see it as a brand, they just see it as a game. Whereas Star Wars they would see as a brand. Specialist retailers are very much learning about the opportunity of merchandise.”
Stevenson added that the US is far ahead regarding the merchandise market, with GameStop being a good example.
With the acquisition by GameStop of ThinkGeek and the growth of their stores across the world and things like Zing, they're learning to diversify and become a multi-channel and a multi-format retailer.”