We ask the PCR Retail Advisory Panel about their PC gaming offerings and if the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 machines will be a burden or a boon to their businesses.
“The next-generation consoles are a crucial injection of life into our market. A console was never and ultimately never will be a direct competitor to our own range of pre-built, performance gaming PCs. The advent of this new era in console gaming will see improvements in technology and software development accelerate, and PC gaming will benefit. A console complements a PC gamer’s arsenal of hardware.
"Of course we will be stocking the new consoles. Xbox One and PS4 look great and have the performance to match. Whilst our core business revolves around PC hardware, we are aware that a lot of our customers want to be able to add their hardware to one basket. We are excited to see which console comes out on top; since launch our pre-orders have been 50/50 split.”
Steve Ling, Overclockers UK
“GHI maintains its core focus as being a PC specialist. Some years ago we did look into whether we should expand into the console market but decided it wasn’t for us, as we believed the market was already saturated and would involve a sizeable investment to break into and sustain a loyal customer base. The industry no longer requires a ‘specialist retailer’ of console games; this is evident in how the PC games market has evolved over the years into an almost entirely digital download arena.
"However, the new PS4 and Xbox One will find their way onto our shelves this Christmas as the demand will be there. But they will ultimately be Christmas-only lines as we seek to capitalise on picking up sales from other retailers who are out of stock. Parents will pay whatever they can to make their kids happy this Christmas.”
Gavin Holder, GHI Computers
“Gaming is at the heart of Utopia. Our store has everything a gamer would need from headsets to mouse mats and we even stock Gunnar Optiks gaming glasses. We’ve also been heavily involved in the launch of Exist2Game, the new gaming event in the UK. This event will be a great way to remind our customers that we’re the place to come for PC gaming.
"As for the new consoles, they will definitely help our business. There is always a buzz in the air when new consoles are released and people get excited for gaming and even on a different platform; that can only be a good thing, right? I’m not worried that this will somehow detract from our gaming desktop and laptop sales.”
Craig Hume, Utopia Computers
“We don’t see the Xbox One or PS4 competing much at all with the PC gaming market to be honest. The opportunity to make margin on all the accessories and equipment is without doubt a bigger opportunity than selling the games themselves. With the exit of a few gaming/entertainment multiples from the High Street and the emergence of so many specialist game accessory vendors, the growth in this sector for our independent retailers is really strong. We’ve launched our own gaming brand www.exist2game.co.uk which will host events across the UK.”
Phylip Morgan, Network Group
“Brigantia has been focusing on the SMB sector over the last 12 months but we still have a good core of our membership that remains active in the consumer gaming market, with many offering console repairs alongside laptop, tablet and smartphone ones. There is also a good trade in reconditioned consoles, and accessories generally attract higher margins.
"Brigantia welcomes all new hardware refresh opportunities from vendors – I am certain that Brigantia members will benefit from what is coming in time for Christmas. I can see new consoles impacting the lower end of the consumer PC market more, similarly to how it’s been affected by the growth of tablets and smartphones."
Iain Shaw, Brigantia