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HMV: Videogames "are the new rock 'n' roll"

Tim Ellis underlines the company's ambition to compete, and explains the pre-owned plans

HMV's head of games, Tim Ellis, has told GamesIndustry.biz that videogames have entered a "golden period" for the retailer, and "are the new rock 'n' roll" when it comes to popularity for consumers.

"Anyone who has been following the development of our games offer really shouldn't be that surprised by this level of growth," he said, after the company revealed that the technology and games division now makes up 21 per cent of the overall revenues, up from 14 per cent a year ago.

"We'll always love music - it's in our DNA after all, but, if it's not too much of a cliché to say it, the truth is that games really are the new rock 'n' roll."

And he went on to underline the company's ambition to become the leading player in the specialist videogames market.

"We've been telling the world for some time that we are very serious about our commitment to the games market. We've been investing substantial resources into the format so that we can become a serious and credible force as a leading games specialist.

"There is significantly more trading space in-store and increased numbers of staff dedicated to it. Our level of marketing and promotion has also gone up considerably - much of it in our 'get closer' brand style, which aims to get players closer to the games they love; while we've also consistently offered some great deals on bundles, pricing and points rewards - both in-store and online at hmv.com.

"Obviously it also helps that the last twelve to eighteen months have represented a bit of a golden period for games in terms of next-generation console launches and fantastic software releases, but we had to put ourselves in a position to make the most of this opportunity, and I think we're doing that."

He also shed some light on the company's plans to launch a pre-owned videogame sale service, a practice which has proven popular for customers in other specialist outlets, but which is disliked by publishers.

"We've regularly monitored pre-owned activity in the games market, and have periodically reviewed our own stance in this area, as any business would," he said.

"We recognise that pre-owned is important for some consumers, though not necessarily the most dominant factor for them, while it's clearly also a key element to the business model of some games specialists.

"With this in mind we think it's worth trialling pre-owned to gauge what our customers expect from us and also to assess the impact not just on HMV's own games offer, but on our wider trading operation.

"Any decisions we make will have the best interests of our customers in mind, and if we can, we will look to achieve this through positive dialogue with our suppliers."

The full interview with Tim Ellis is available now.

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