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Discovering new XBLA/PSN games as hard as on App Store

Gamestop wants to cross-promote titles with smaller developers

GameStop believes that discovering new games and digital content on the home consoles is just as hard as finding entertainment on Apple's notoriously difficult to navigate App Store.

Speaking at the London Games Conference last night, Chris Petrovic, head of the retailers digital business, said that GameStop wants to help market and sell digital games by smaller developers just as much as it does triple-A console and PC games.

"One of the key points that can't be underestimated is the increasing challenge of discovery," he said. "If you start off with presumptions on the percentage of consoles that are connected, are they as high as everybody would want them to be? No. The percentage of people that have purchased for their console games downloadable content for XBLA or PSN games is very low. It's barely above ten per cent.

"Discovery, much like in the Apple App Store, is as bad - if not worse - in the console environment because you've got such a limited form factor to work with.

"Somebody like us, where we have users coming in wanting to buy the disc, we can scan that disc and tell them the five or ten pieces of add-on content available. Or even better, we can work with publishers who are producing PSN or XBLA games and have a section in our store to highlight those - that's a win for everybody.

"It's helps discovery, it helps with monetisation at the point of purchase and consumers are getting what they want when they want it. The proliferation of digital will just lead to challenges in the marketing side," he added.

GameStop has more influence with consumers, said Petrovic, and more marketing opportunities than developers, who struggle to advertise their product in a crowded market.

"We've had the anecdotes up and down from XBLA and PSN developers who get that sacred shelf space of promotion, that front button, and their revenue goes through the roof for one or two weeks that they're in rotation, but as soon as they get off that it plummets.

"They don't have the wherewithal because they're really small shops, to be able to put marketing dollars towards many other channels.

"That's opened our eyes to think about creative ways to be that marketing partner apart from just marketing triple-A titles. To be able to serve well that long tail of game developers that have just as good quality games but don't have $50 million to spend on marketing. And coming up with creative ways to leverage our relationship with the consumer and our physical space to be able to give prominence to those games,"said Petrovic.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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