Game Hurt By Worsening Consumer Outlook But Digital Sales Growing

The market for boxed video games is turning down in a troubling consumer economy, according to one retailer’s experience.

Reporting UK and Ireland year-to-date sales down 10.6 percent, leading UK retailer Game Group says:

“Major software titles are launching in line with first-week expectations, but are then seeing a quicker tail-off than historically experienced. Customer footfall and basket sizes are down reflecting wider consumer uncertainty.”

So Game is slimming its 2011 forecast from at most three percent less revenue to “no better than -7%“.

Even purchases of Game’s trademark pre-owned titles, which make up 28 percent of sales, are down.

The group has been trying to increase physical sales from its website and to sell digital content in-store, having also launched its digital game purchase system GAMEwallet in October.

It says digital sales have grown 40 percent so far this year, while: “Online margin has doubled since the launch of a new web platform, and online share has remained at 19%.”

CEO Ian Shepherd: “The overall video games market remains very challenging, despite strong title launches, and our guidance today reflects the extraordinary economic times in which we are operating …

“We remain well placed to benefit in the medium term both from the next console cycle and the growth in digital and social gaming.”