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UK Retail: Looking Ahead

Key execs offer their thoughts on the rest of 2008

Following last week's opinion from some of the major figures in the UK retail industry on the industry's performance in 2007, it's now time to get those same people to look ahead at what 2008 might bring.

Already we've seen significant moves, with EA's offer for Take-Two, the rejuvenation of the Infogrames/Atari brand, and the expected completion of the Activision Blizzard deal - but it's really all about the gamesâ¦

What do you expect from the rest of 2008?

- Tricia Brennan, commercial director, GAME

"There's an exciting line-up of new software being released this year, which includes a combination of long-awaited AAA titles such as GTA IV and Wii Fit, and a wide variety of film franchises such as The Spiderwick Chronicles, Iron Man, Jumper, and WALL-E.

"This year there is going to be more on offer than ever before for the whole family and we'll be working hard to make sure all our customers get the games they want as soon as they're released."

- Patrick Kelly, head of games, Zavvi

"We expect the market to continue to grow based on increase availability of hardware, publishers spreading their release schedule across the year and product innovation."

- Gian Luzio, head games buyer, Play.com

"The expectation is that publishers will continue to push the capabilities of next generation hardware and weâll see some outstanding games during 2008."

- Marc Dean, home entertainment buyer, Morrisons

"We expect developers and publishers to continue broadening the market with more family and mass market products."

- Matt Holland, tgrav.com

"We expect a strong start to the year and are building up to Easter with some great promotions. GTA IV is eagerly anticipated as we do well with the Playseat brand."

- Tim Ellis, head of games, HMV

"More of the same - just bigger and better! There's some great product due this year that will raise the technical bar even further, hopefully the gameplay delivers as well.

GTA4 might well be the biggest thing on the horizon but the list of quality titles due this year is impressive. What is also certain is that family and social gaming will take a bigger slice of the pie - Wii Fit, Rock Band, SingStar and Guitar Hero will be massive sellers all year."


The PlayStation 3 is tipped to have a bright year ahead, but which console will have the most successful 2008?

- Patrick Kelly, head of games, Zavvi

"Ultimately the consumer will decide."

- Gian Luzio, head games buyer, Play.com

"The PlayStation 3 definitely closed the gap on the Xbox 360 and was one of our best selling products over Christmas.

"The release schedule for 2008 is looking strong for all three formats and pre-orders for cross platform titles such as GTA IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed suggest a very level playing field.

"It's unlikely that the console battle will be won or lost in the space of a year."

- Marc Dean, home entertainment buyer, Morrisons

"I would agree — the Blu-ray format is really taking off and there are some massive games releases this year for the PS3.

"The success of games such as SingStar and Guitar Hero shows they're leaning towards the family and female market too."

- Matt Holland, tgrav.com

"I really hope that PS3 comes through for us - it has not peaked as we expected.

"However, with more titles launching on the format and some fabulous peripherals I am hopeful that with Sony's support we can deliver some great numbers for them."

- Tim Ellis, head of games, HMV

"I'm sure Sony are delighted with recent announcements regarding Blu-ray versus HD DVD, but that is only one aspect of the console battle.

"Consumers are lucky to have three strong home console propositions with their own USPs and I'm sure we'll still be debating what's best in a year's time."


What are, for you, the most anticipated titles for this year?

- Tricia Brennan, commercial director, GAME

"These aren't in order because there are so many titles appealing to different customer groups now — so each will be number one for its customers.

"So we think it's got to be Grand Theft Auto IV, Wii Fit, and our buyers' favourite Lego Indiana Jones that are going to be the biggest news this year."

- Patrick Kelly, head of games, Zavvi

"Grand Theft Auto IV, Gran Turismo 5 and Rock Band."

- Gian Luzio, head games buyer, Play.com

"Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, Tomb Raider: Underworld."

- Marc Dean, home entertainment buyer, Morrisons

"Grand Theft Auto IV, Gran Turismo 5 and Wii Fit."

- Matt Holland, tgrav.com

"Grand Theft Auto IV, Haze (when it eventually launches) and Devil May Cry."

- Tim Ellis, head of games, HMV

"Grand Theft Auto IV, Rock Band, Wii Fit."


How do you intend to manage your in-store space or site design through this year with all the formats now having established themselves?

- Tricia Brennan, commercial director, GAME

"We will continue to offer customers an engaging in-store experience which allows them to easily find the products they want, receive specialist advice, and a wide range of products with attractive special offers.

"With such a wide range of customers shopping in our stores, we'll keep evaluating their needs to make sure there's always something for everyone."

- Patrick Kelly, head of games, Zavvi

"Watch this spaceâ¦"

- Gian Luzio, head games buyer, Play.com

"We'll continue to support all available formats each with their own dedicated areas on the site."

- Marc Dean, home entertainment buyer, Morrisons

"Space is at a premium in Morrisons stores, so the space we give each format is based strictly on volume of sales."

- Matt Holland, tgrav.com

"We theme our site to represent the year - Christmas, January sales, Easter, summer, etc. We brand certain areas for the games or what's really hot."

- Tim Ellis, head of games, HMV

"Space management is an ongoing process. We continually adapt to sales trends across all formats and will continue to do so."


GamesIndustry.biz would like to thank all of the retail representatives that took part in this feature, and Adam Hartley.

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