Toying with gaming retail

All about the games shop.
Games The Shop

Mario! It is the first name that comes to your mind when you think of video games, but that was decades ago. With the advancement of technology, Internet and mobile phones, the craze for gaming that took birth in the mid 70’s, has developed from Solitaire a PC game to consoles like Nintendo, X-box and Play stations. 

Gaming retail
Gaming can be availed through gaming portals, online sites, e-commerce sites and retail shops. Gaming retail shops sell CDs and DVDs and also have both arcade and console gaming for the consumer to come and play at a reasonable amount. Having everything under one roof is what makes the retail, the best source of opportunity in the gaming industry. “The Indian consumer is bending more towards gaming as an entertainment option, making it at par with cinema. Consoles are not just for gaming but also for net surfing, photograph storage, seeing videos, chatting online and many more. Gaming is major part of consoles, but the added feature convinces a family to buy it making gaming retail an upcoming business opportunity”, says Manish Gupta, Director, Origin Games, Mumbai. 

Retail as an opportunity in India has not yet reached its full potential but new players are entering the market on a regular basis. There are many players like Blur at Satyam Cineplex, Chennai; The Living Room at Bangalore; Zapak has 90 new gameplexes with its reach in 50 cities pan-India; the new addition to these are BluO at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, which has a bowling alley and an Xbox lounge; Origin Games has three stores in Mumbai and Games The Shop has just entered, making Indian gaming retail a proposition for humongous opportunities.  

Statistical analysis
According to a Nasscom research, the global animation and gaming industry has shown approximately 37 per cent growth from USD 55 billion in 2005 to USD 75 billion in 2009, out of which, India is worth USD 950 million, which has grown 35 per cent from what it was in 2005, a mere USD 250 million.  

In a research by Entertainment Software Association, hardware sales of console devices, such as Sony's Play station, Microsoft's X-box and Nintendo was worth about Rs 265 crore in 2008 and Rs 405 crore in 2009, growing at more than 50 per cent annually. These numbers show how gaming is one of the most sought after opportunities in India. Anand Khemani, Company Head, Games The Shop says “Generally growth in trends is noticed on a year-to-year basis, but gaming is the only industry in which trends should be caught on month-to-month basis. This shows how fast the industry is going.”  
So what are the technicalities to get into the gaming retail business? At a retail store, just for displaying the products you need to have 175-200 sq.ft of space with an investment of Rs 15 lakh. For a game café or a playing arena you need a minimum of 1000-1500 sq. ft of space with an investment of Rs 30-50 lakh. Gaming zones can be successful in residential areas, both in and outside shopping malls and also in restaurants where people want to have good food and great time. 

If you do not have the capital to invest, you can also go for franchise options in which you just need to have the space and rest is taken care by the franchisor. All this and a right mix of products, proper display and good infrastructure should be considered while investing in a game store.  

The predictable target group (TG) for gaming zones is thought to be youngsters from age group 10-25 years, but Deepak Gupta, Marketing Head at Origin Games, Mumbai, has a different point of view, “These type of centres not only attract the young generation but are also drawing a lot of attention of retired people as well.” 

Entertainment, a potential market
Gaming is a standalone entertainment package, which not only provides an entertainment value, it also eases out stress, sharpens your capability to compete and teaches you patience. High graphic, adventurous music, animation and developer of games are things which create more interest for consumers. Umesh Chauhan, Director, Zap India says “3D gaming in India is a kind of retail business which is persuading its customers in discovering entertainment activity as per their own choice.” Virtual gaming by Nintendo also attracts consumer a lot, not only the youngsters but the parents as well. It helps them with physical activities which kids now-a-days do not do. All these factors make ‘gaming’ not just a normal industry but an industry which has great potential in the near future.  

Future projections
A future game zone owner should also know that now-a-days people do not go for anything but best. Today, the stores should have the potential to attract more and more consumers. “A gaming store is not a normal retail outlet rather it is a specialised store. People who work here are, as important as what is on display. Indian consumers know very less about gaming, so a knowledgeable staff is what adds to the stores’ success. They are able to tell you what game is best for you according to your age and temperament, which makes playing a whole new experience,” says Khemani. 

Now you know the nitty-gritty of retail opportunities in the gaming industry, if you have everything that is required, jump into the pool and make it big! 

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