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Retail still significant despite transition to digital releases - analyst

But games-on-demand services will eat into second hand console market, says Screen Digest

Despite publishers shifting to the digital release of videogames, traditional High Street retailers will still have a significant role to play in selling product to consumers.

That's according to Screen Digest's head of games Piers Harding-Rolls, who told that bricks-and-mortar retailers will still be crucial for marketing and sales.

"Retailers will continue to have a strong role to play in selling games to consumers even with a more determined transition to digital distribution of games," he said.

"There will be a negative impact of course, but retailers still have an important role to play in marketing and exposing product to customers, selling hardware, educating the customer, providing gifts to consumers and actually selling packaged versions of game downloads and pre-paid cards for online content."

However, services such as Microsoft's Games On Demand for Xbox Live - which will offer older Xbox 360 titles to download - will begin to eat into second hand sales, said Harding-Rolls, allowing publishers to claw back some revenue lost to the lucrative pre-owned market.

"The primary reason for the strategy is to give publishers and Microsoft incremental revenue from older games - ones that would not necessarily be stocked by retailers due to their age.

"My belief is that a lot of these sales will be incremental to sales of pre-owned games but that there will inevitably be some erosion of that market due to the convenience of accessing the content from your living room.

"If these downloads eat into some of the pre-owned market and deliver some of that revenue back to the content owners instead of only to retailers then this is a positive for publishers," he added.

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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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