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HMV to open specialist PC gaming centre

High Street retailer HMV is teaming with Gamerbase.com to open a dedicated PC gaming centre in the heart of London.

High Street retailer HMV is teaming with Gamerbase.com to open a dedicated PC gaming centre in the heart of London.

Located at the Trocadero centre in Piccadilly Circus, the store will boast 80 multiplayer PCs allowing users to try games ahead of release, as well as take part in tournaments and promotional events.

"This represents a tremendous opportunity for HMV to further develop its specialist credentials as a destination store for games and for gaming," offered Tim Ellis, head of games for HMV.

"I'm optimistic the Gamerbase gaming centre will meet with a very positive response, which would then allow us to consider extending the concept to other stores in the chain in the not-too-distant future."

The Gamerbase gaming centre will operate on a concession basis within HMV's Trocadero store, which occupies 2300 square foot of trading space.

One of the founders of Gamerbase, former ELSPA boss Roger Bennett, says that publishers are already keen on the set up, which will allow them to trial games and gain real consumer feedback ahead of a titles release.

"This is the first centre to combine the entertainment aspect of a consumer gaming experience with a retail solution where customers can try gaming titles before they buy," he said.

"Games publishers are keen to work with us to allow HMV customers to play the newest games before anyone else, and then pre-order the titles at the HMV games retail store just a few feet away from the gaming centre.

"Never before have we been able to track gaming directly with purchases. Now we will be able to see what gamers play, how long for, and how this influences their purchasing habits," he added.

Gamerbase marketing director and professional gamer Sujoy Roy reckons the centre could also act as a talent spotting operation to find some of the UK's best games players, who could then go on to enter professional events.

"This is the first time that a PC gaming centre has been built in conjunction with a major High Street retailer, and we look forward to providing a true consumer experience that will hopefully find the UKâs next top gamers to represent our country at Worldwide competitive events," he said.

Last week HMV opened a dedicated console gaming environment in its Edinburgh store, with Microsoft supplying over 25 Xbox 360 consoles and Samsung hi-def TV screens.

Access to the Trocadero centre will be via a membership scheme, with doors due to open next month.

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Matt Martin

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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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