Archive for May, 2009


How the other half live…

May 14, 2009

Just after my last post, about how you have to be big to survive and prosper selling video games, GAME release their figures for last year as if to underline my point. (OK – maybe they didn’t release these figures just to make me look good !!!)

Reading analysis of the news on the MCV website, they pulled out the fact that GAME for the first time reported their level of pre-owned sales.

Interesting – I wonder why they have done that now?

When you produce record results at the same time as many publishers have been having a tough time, I can imagine a few account managers raising eyebrows in their direction.

My eyebrows raised when I saw how low the figure was. For the record, Playtime’s mix was always around 45% pre-owned. As we grew, it dropped but in the early days it was over 50% – so to see GAME’s at below 20% shows just why they can go public with it. If you are a publisher berating specialist retailers for having their cake and eating it, the wind has been taken out of your sails somewhat.

I don’t know exactly what GAME’s market share is in the UK but I would guess around 30%. This means their 18% of pre-owned sales is approximately 5% of the UK market. Total pre-owned sales are probably going to be a bit more than that with all the Indies focusing on it but I would be surprised if it is 10% – after all, nobody else does it. The other 70% of retail is largely made up of supermarkets, and non-specialist toy and entertainment retailers – none of whom trade games (with the exception of HMV – who have just started).

So – pre-owned is less than 10% of the market. Not a lot, basically! Certainly not enough to drastically change the results for most hard pressed developers and publishers – if it were to stop.

NB – I have assumed that GAMESTATION’s market share is included in the figures that GAME announced.