GameStop courts casual players

13 Sep 2007

One of the world’s biggest video game retail chains will be increasing its focus on the casual gamer market, it has emerged.

“There is a real breadth of properties now appealing to a much broader audience than we’ve seen before,” Daniel A. DeMatteo, vice chairman and COO of GameStop, recently told The New York Times.

“Honestly,” he continued, “we are having to retool the way we think of things in our stores in terms of merchandising, layout and also customer service because it is no longer only the hardcore gamer walking in who knows exactly what he wants.”

GameStop will be making room in their shops for two new kiosks. One will highlight music games, with Rock Band and Guitar Hero III taking centre stage.

Games that have been more successful with female consumers such as SingStar and High School Musical will also receive prominent placement.

The other new section will be dedicated to children’s and family games. “This is for the gift-giver who is not coming into our stores on a regular basis,” said Bob McKenzie, GameStop’s senior VP for merchandising.

“This section is anything from Mario Kart to Zoo Tycoon to Nintendogs.”

The market for casual gamers has seen game designers expand their focus to demographics beyond the traditional young male market. Games such as Buzz have sold well to both genders while the Wii has marketed itself as a console for all the family.

DeMatteo sees the Wii as leading the charge for casual gamers. “The audience is extremely broad these days. Don’t be surprised if your grandmother wants a Wii for herself.”

By Joe Griffin