Managing director Craig Johnson talks about the benefits of budget gaming

Interview: Focus to move in to mobile accessories

As a publisher, how would you position yourself? Do you baulk at term ‘budget games’?

We’re up there with the best publishers, although there are things we do which differentiate us, most notably our prominence in the budget market and how we achieve it. We’re proud to be known as the number one budget PC publisher. To me, budget means delivering outstanding quality software at impulse prices that not only satisfies consumers but actually drives further demand. So no, I don’t baulk at the term.

What types of shops do you excel in? Are you looking to penetrate into more traditional PC shops?

Independents can benefit substantially by adding high quality impulse price games to a sale, creating significant incremental business from every customer. We deal with different store types on a daily basis, regardless of their primary commodity. From specialists to supermarkets, our titles continue to perform, as they do in all the less traditional chains and outlets. Focus delivers complete ‘store on a stand’ software solutions, aiding retailers in their sales process and promoting repeat purchase activity.

What is going to be your biggest release of the year?

The Collector’s Edition is our new casual games range featuring hidden object mystery games, each of which includes extra gameplay and bonus content. We’re expecting big things from evergreen strategy gem The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom in June. Later this year there’s the highly anticipated Hidden Expedition 5, a must-have for hidden object and mystery fans. And, of course, there’s Assassin’s Creed II – one of the greatest action games in the history of gaming, and one which should be in every gamer’s collection.

In the games space you’ll obviously be competing with triple A titles with huge marketing warchests behind them – what tactics do you use to make sure your titles get noticed?

Focus is an entirely different proposition. Many people can’t or won’t buy their games at full price, but these consumers still want regular new PC entertainment. For example, casual game purchasers consume games frequently and repeatedly. We meet those needs, as well as the wider needs of general gift buying. Simply put, Focus delivers complete win-win software solutions for everyone.

Any plans for expanding your remit?

Yes, we’re working on a stylish and exciting new range of mobile device and smartphone accessories. We’ll have more details on this soon.

What’s the biggest issue facing PC games at the moment? Would you say it’s a market in decline or ascension?

There is always demand for good PC product. Historically, PC peaks and troughs with the introduction of new formats, with consumers returning to the PC as other platforms start to age. A properly supported PC budget offering generally withstands the decline faced by full price PC. We’ve seen strong growth in the older demographic and in female gamers. At Focus we’re still outperforming the market, and are 100 per cent behind PC as a format, not least because it continues to be the most versatile system which caters for everyone. We should remember that out of all the formats, PC has the highest household penetration in the UK, and therefore offers the greatest opportunity.

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