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Retail focus on pre-owned and blockbuster sales is "misguided"

High Street has ignored new business opportunities, says Slitherine's McNeil

Bricks and mortar retailers have driven away new business by ignoring smaller publishers and niche products in favour of selling blockbuster hits and second hand games.

That's the view of Slitherine's JD McNeil, who said the company, which has just announced a merger with Matrix Games, would still work with traditional retailers, but digital formats now provide many more opportunities to market.

"The challenges at retail in bringing niche products to the market have become increasingly difficult," said McNeil in an interview published today. "Our titles can be slow burners that go on for years. The back catalogue for both companies is extremely important in this respect, but itís not a model that works well at retail.

"The focus there - in our view misguided - is to combine Triple-A with pre-owned. Giving over the pre-owned space to smaller publishers would freshen and grow the market. Recycling second hand product has been and is a self-fulfilling prophecy which is driving smaller publishers away from retail and is just a further nail in their coffin."

The two companies specialise in the strategy and war games market catering to a niche but dedicated audience, and McNeil believes that digital formats will provide better opportunities to reach new consumers compared to selling on the High Street.

"The beauty of doing business in the digital world on these platforms, is that we donít have to fight for shelf space and limited buy-in's at retail. In that world we get scant exposure and unless you get pretty lucky retail sales will reflect this," he said.

"The other big strategy decision here is that in the main we only list our own releases and we do not sell these through aggregators. You can only get our products from us. Our audiences are increasingly aware of this and they know where to come for the type of games we have in our portfolio. Sure, we have more work to do to spread the word, but we are up for that challenge."

The full interview with JD McNeil, where he details the merger process with Matrix Games, can be read here.

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Latest comments (1)

Matthew O'Donnell Designer / 3D modeller 6 years ago
I would like to note that i have been recently contacting publishers (big and small) about stock and possiblities of selling products including indie. Only one out of nearly 60 has responded.
So if view of this artical it truely isnt the retailers ignoring opportunities but moreso the larger publishers blinding independant retailers from seeking such partnerships.
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