TIGA: Retail's demise inevitable as mobile drives digital download revolution
Cutting out the middle man
UK trade association TIGA has claimed the role of the town centre retailer will continue to be eroded as consumers fully embrace a digital download revolution driven by mobile developers.
The body made the statement in response to news that two major UK entertainment retail chains – HMV and Blockbuster – have both gone into administration.
Both outfits had games retail at the heart of their business, with HMV even selling smartphones and tablets in recent years – the very devices TIGA believes hastened the chain's demise.
"Blockbuster and HMV's fall into administration is very sad, not least because of the probable job losses but their decline and fall has been driven by the decisions of consumers to embrace digital downloads," said chairman and CEO Jason Kingsley, who is also creative director at Rebellion.
"The DVD space is being eaten away by services such as Netflix and Lovefilm, CDs have largely been made irrelevant by iTunes, Steam has made the PC a buoyant gaming platform and mobile platforms have made consumers more at ease with buying for non-tangible products."
HMV in Manchester, still trading on Tuesday
While retail outlets will continue to take a hit in the near future, TIGA is adamant that this shift in consumer habits is actually to the benefit of developers, cutting out the 'middle man' role retail had made its own.
Who is next?
"The future of games development will increasingly lie in direct marketing to consumers and this will not only enable developers to communicate directly with their buyers but it will also allow them to be more creative," concluded Kingsley.
Indeed, TIGA board member and nDreams CEO Patrick O'Luanaigh added that there is "no doubt that entertainment retail is an increasingly tough sector with more and more gamers spending their money on digital downloads".
He added, "Like the music industry, I really do feel that this trend is unstoppable, and I hope that Blockbuster, HMV and other entertainment retailers are able to adapt their businesses to fit into the changing environment."
The demise of both HMV and Blockbuster comes a year after the UK's leading games retail outfit – GAME – also went into administration.
The chain was eventually saved when it was acquired by OpCapita, though commentators are currently nervy regarding its longterm future following the collapse of another OpCapita-owned company, electronics retailer Comet, just before Christmas.
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