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Activision: 'Retail is crucial for games industry'

Activision: 'Retail is crucial for games industry'

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has underlined the importance of high-street retailers for games.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has underlined the importance of high-street retailers to the games industry, labelling them as 'critical' to the future of the business.

Speaking in a TV interview to CNBC over the course of the E3 2011 show, Kotick said that he didn't think that retailers would be going away anytime soon.

'When you see people lined up at store before a launch, that in itself creates the popular cultural awareness,' he explained.

I don’t think the theatre experience you have in a store is going away anytime.'

It's a view which contrasts with that of HMV boss Simon Fox, however, who told The Sun today that restrictions need to be placed on the growth of supermarkets.

'We have to be very careful about the expansion of the supermarkets or the high streets will carry on getting emptier and emptier,' said Fox.

'The shop vacancy rate is already averaging 15 per cent nationwide but it's up to 20 to 25 per cent in some towns. They're still aggressively growing and shoppers aren't spending any more money so the high street does need protection.'

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

You can check out other news from the show via our E3 2011 News hub.

22 Comments

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NethLyn 9th June 2011, 13:13 Quote
Tough luck on HMV, I only ever looked at their games section in big seasonal sales or when someone else gave me a gift card. The rest of the time, they were overpriced and the Trocadero gaming cafés weren't going to get anyone back buying games without constructive pricing throughout the group and online.

Whining about supermarkets? Diddums, should've learned a thing or two when relaunching the purehmv loyalty card, like not making people spend a ton before they could get anything decent.
Ph4ZeD 9th June 2011, 13:20 Quote
Maybe Mr Fox needs to read up on capitalism. Adapt or die, and HMV is going to die.
oMonarca 9th June 2011, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph4ZeD
Maybe Mr Fox needs to read up on capitalism. Adapt or die, and HMV is going to die.

Yeap. Adapt indeed. To once be a proud business-owner and now to become a cog in a very big machine to make sure food's on the table.

Go, go cold, heartless capitalism. Megacorp FTW
HyBry 9th June 2011, 15:06 Quote
Doono if anything has changed but last I remember you still needed a DVD to play the good games on consoles. So no wonder a game developer thinks retail is important.
Phalanx 9th June 2011, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
“I don’t think the theatre experience you have in a store is going away anytime.'

By theatre experience, do you mean, "Hi, can I help you? No? Have you seen our latest preorders? Are you looking to buy a new console? We can give you an extended warranty!"?

Yeah, I'll pass on that, thanks.
SMIFFYDUDE 9th June 2011, 15:11 Quote
It's been a while now since I went inside a video game shop and longer since i bought from one. Game and Gamestation's PC shelf is just that.. a shelf.
DragunovHUN 9th June 2011, 15:16 Quote
No, high street needs no protection. If they can't deal with the competition's prices they can **** off. That's how business works.
NethLyn 9th June 2011, 16:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
It's been a while now since I went inside a video game shop and longer since i bought from one. Game and Gamestation's PC shelf is just that.. a shelf.

To be fair, I went to Game for my 360 and extra pad, but just used their online shop, and have also used their Ebay wholesale for rare games like Yager, and Crysis 2 came from Gameplay.

They know what's coming and are well prepared for when it's time to nuke the shop chain, unlike HMV.
Pete J 9th June 2011, 16:12 Quote
Pert of me feels bad about retailers taking the hit. I remember when I was ickle perusing titles in Electronics Boutique.

But Steam is just so damn convenient!
Bauul 9th June 2011, 16:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
It's been a while now since I went inside a video game shop and longer since i bought from one. Game and Gamestation's PC shelf is just that.. a shelf.

I distinctly remember the days when the consoles were a couple of meteres of shelf space, and PC games made up the rest of the shop. Oh I miss those days.
Technobod 9th June 2011, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
No, high street needs no protection. If they can't deal with the competition's prices they can **** off. That's how business works.
Couldn't agree more.
And then you get the companies whinging 'But internet companies have smaller overheads'... Well get on the internet then or drop your prices.
Arkanrais 9th June 2011, 17:23 Quote
I think they only want the high street stores so they can charge me $120 NZ for a new release, instead of $50US on steam (which ends up being around $65NZ after exchange rates and currency conversion fees)
They'd like to keep their stranglehold on charging almost double the competition for a game that's barely going to entertain me for 15 or more hours.
Things like steam are the way of the future. I got STALKER CoP for $20US a week after it was released, and have over 110 hours played on it, L4D2 for $25 with over 1000, and L4D for $7.50 with over 700.
thil 9th June 2011, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph4lanx

By theatre experience, do you mean, "Hi, can I help you? No? Have you seen our latest preorders? Are you looking to buy a new console? We can give you an extended warranty!"?

"Would you like to save 5% by buying a used game? Would you like to buy an Ultra-Special-Super-Duper-Limited-Collectors-Edition Master Chief Pez dispenser? Would you like to buy an official Mad Catz Modern Warfare 2 headset? Would you like scratch insurance? Are you here to collect a pre-order? Wait, you want that game on...P...C? Am I saying that right? 'P-C'? Um, excuse me. Hey, Phil?"

"Yeah?"

"Is Starcraft II on...'PC' in?"

"'PS3'?"

"No, this guy here wants for 'PC'?"

"Is that like Kinect or something?"

"I'm not sure. It's not showing up in the Xbox inventory."

"Check Sony, then."

"Hmmm...nope."

"Nintendo?"

"No."

"Huh. Wait...PC - is it for iPhone or something?"

"I don't think so. I would've heard about it."

"Hmmm."

"Maybe it came in with that new shipment this morning?"

"Yeah. I think it's something to do with Microsoft - you sure it's not in the Xbox stock list?"

"Hang on, I'll check."

"Maybe check the used games, if we don't have any new ones in."

"Yeah..."

"Well?"

"Nothing."

"Huh. The guy's sure we'd sell something like that?"

"Seems pretty adamant, yeah."

"Well, I've never heard of this StarKart or whatever."

"Oh, wait, maybe it's for, like, computer?"

"Computers? My Macbook Air doesn't really play games, not the ones we sell. Doesn't sound right...but check to see if we have a 'computer' section. Maybe there's a different sort."

"Hmmm...oh! We do."

"Huh. All right. Is it in there?"

"Yeah."

"Do we have any copies?"

"No. We only did pre-orders for that one..."
SexyHyde 9th June 2011, 18:04 Quote
The only thing that needs changing is the premium rates of having a high street location. People don't shop in the high street because It's expensive and its expensive because they are charged extra for the location which is not as beneficial as it once was and this charge prevents them from competing with e-tailers and supermarkets.
Woodspoon 9th June 2011, 18:06 Quote
So what Kotick has essentially just said is "people lining up outside a shop is a great free advert".
If thats "critical to the future of the business" then the whole business is really boned.

High streets are the first place to put their prices up, the last place to bring them down and the first place to whine when they have competition.
Arkanrais 9th June 2011, 18:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
So what Kotick has essentially just said is "people lining up outside a shop is a great free advert".
If thats "critical to the future of the business" then the whole business is really boned.

High streets are the first place to put their prices up, the last place to bring them down and the first place to whine when they have competition.

Woodspoon wins. Flawless victory.
thil 9th June 2011, 19:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon

High streets are the first place to put their prices up, the last place to bring them down and the first place to whine when they have competition.

Now, to be fair, they only whine when the competition can't be undercut or bought out. If it *can* be undercut unfairly, or bought out, they'll be the first to say "Well, that's the free market for you. What are you, a communist?"
DbD 9th June 2011, 19:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyBry
Doono if anything has changed but last I remember you still needed a DVD to play the good games on consoles. So no wonder a game developer thinks retail is important.

xbox 360 has a reasonable selection of full (i.e. normally boxed with DVD) games for download, although not sure how popular it is being as it tends to not be the newest games, and hence you can normally buy it cheaper second hand off ebay.

Which incidentally is why I am very surprised Kotick is still keen on real copies as obviously you can buy/sell them second hand - you can't do that with downloads.
Pughy 9th June 2011, 21:45 Quote
I like HMV but its not at all shocking they could shut down/go bust. Seriously everything in the place is priced at the RRP. Even now Starcraft 2 is like £40/£45 when its £30 at amazon. They overcharge for everything there and people realised it so they stopped shopping there.
The_Beast 10th June 2011, 00:43 Quote
Shopping retail is meh for me. Ether you got to a place that is cheap and has terrible service or really good service and really high prices.


On the internet I can ask a 1000 people a question and get good answers without an intention to sell something to be, it's more honest and reliable IMO
Nikols 10th June 2011, 13:01 Quote
Nope hmv boss has a point, happening here too, in the last 5 years we have big shopping retail units with Tesco/ B&Q/ Harvey Normans opening outside of small towns where the local economy can't support a high street and these retail sectors together. Samall towns are left with loads of empty units on the main street. It's not an issue with these shops being there as where they are located. They are destroying the high street in towns that can't support them. A lot of pre existing retailers do t get a look in on these new retail parks that have a limited number of superstore sized units.
Defiant306 10th June 2011, 15:45 Quote
Sorry but the High street as a shopping location is a loss leader for the simple reason that people shop where they want to and thats that. Protecting this and that wont do anything for the high street or chains like HMV because people vote with their feet and its not in their direction.

Sorry but its a simple fact, if you work in a high street chain or shop I highly recommend looking into working for an online etailer or another sector asap. Cause this is only going in one direction as people focus on Price and convenence.
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