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Opportunities for regional retailers in games expert says

First DCC GameStream11 discusses opportunities in video games retail

Opportunities for regional retailers in games expert says
Call of Duty: Black Ops has sold more than 200,000 copies in the Middle East.

Despite the rapid diversification of the video games markets, retailers in the region still have good opportunities to make money, according to an industry expert.

An audience of retailers and distributors heard a keynote from Stefan Lampinen, managing director of Games Advisor, and a veteran of EA, Sega, Nokia and Microsoft, at the GameStream11 track of this year's DCC EMEA event.

Lampinen said that the games sector was diversifying like never before, with the emergence of sectors such as online gaming, mobile gaming, social and casual gaming and the effect of digital distribution.

The diversification of the market has affected the normal cycle of a new games console every five years, he said.

"2010 should have seen the next generation of console, but so much else is happening - Facebook came from nowhere, Apple completely changed the game, and the business is growing like never before," he said.

The traditional model of boxed video game console game sales through physical retailers is going to change, Lampinen said, but the situation may not be as drastic as it seems.

New models of gaming, such as casual games on Facebook, are attracting huge amounts of attention, he said, pointing out that over 200 telecom operators are working with Facebook on developing games for mobile platforms, but that a very large proportion of ‘casual' gamers are new to gaming.

Other developments, such as online distribution of games content, were also likely to impact on retail sales, but retailers could still get in on the business through the sale of pre-paid cards and other adds for games. The boxed game segment still accounts for 85% of games business worldwide, with a revenue of $50bn.

In the Middle East, while boxed retail has traditionally lagged behind other parts of the world, growing interest in the region from international games publishers, and a lack of adoption of ecommerce, may mean that the traditional retail model will have greater longevity than in other parts of the world.

Retailers could also leverage sales of games hardware, accessories, batteries, and loyalty and points cards.

The event also saw the presentation of the first GamesStream Awards. Three trophies were presented for outstanding effort by retailers, with Emax taking the award for Most Improved Game Retailer; Virgin Mall of the Emirates winning Best Individual Game Retail Store; and Sharaf DG getting the Best Overall Game Retailer award.

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