Just a few weeks ago it was reported that GAME, a videogame specialist retailer for the UK, had suffered a decline in sales in the run up to Christmas 2015, which it blamed on a lack of interest in last generation systems such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Moving into 2016 the company is obviously looking for new ways to increase profit. This may sadly mean the loss of jobs, but it also looks as if the company is placing its bets on the arrival of virtual reality (VR) technology to help restore is performance.
GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs said as much in a new trading statement this week: “Looking forward, we see a solid schedule of new games releases planned during the second half of our financial year,” he explained. “We also anticipate that new technology releases this year, in particular the launch of Virtual Reality devices, will lead to increased consumer interest which will benefit GAME as customers seek expert advice and specialist service. We believe that these factors, together with the continued move towards high margin new format mint and preowned software and accessories and a growing contribution from the Group’s newer categories and businesses, including GAMEtronics and Multiplay, will support margin growth in our second half and beyond.”
The company may be looking to VR to help revitalise its sales, then, but it’s not yet clear if head-mounted displays (HMDs), if any, will be available to purchase from the retailer this year. The Oculus Rift, which goes on sale in March 2016, will not be sold at UK retailers at first, instead only available from Oculus VR itself for the time being. Software for the kit will also not be distributed physically at first. Unless codes for such software could be sold, then, it doesn’t look as if the HMD will play much of a part of GAME for the foreseeable future.
It could well be that PlayStation VR, Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) HMD for the PlayStation 4, heads to retailers but, again, this is yet to be confirmed. For the latest on all of these HMDs, keep reading VRFocus.