For when a new release title comes out there are mostly midnight launches and none are more important than the AAA titles, the eagerness for getting the game before general sale in the morning and getting a head start on other gamers. For me personally, I have attended many of these midnight launches for games and also for the next generation consoles, and at times it is bedlam, especially in supermarkets.
It would seem now that the tides have changed, upon running our midnight launch on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on both the Sunday and Monday night it was extremely quiet, in total, 25 customers attended both nights, which is very shocking. I say this not because supermarkets offer the cheapest deals on the AAA launch titles, such as £40 for FIFA, Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, but because quite often it is convenience with getting other shopping and using vouchers in store that makes purchasing games much cheaper. It is a shame, especially for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, as the game has had some good feedback and is a million times better than Ghosts, of which had a massive queue for it last year.
A midnight London crowd awaits the launch of GTA V
So what are the factors of customers choosing not to come in at midnight?
Personally, I am in the opinion that customers are shopping around for the best deal as early as possible, much like how supermarkets are struggling to keep customers with their brand, gamers are more savvy than ever before. The biggest shift is gamers buying more online, why spend £50 for a game in store and get it for £40 online in a one week deal or to have promotion codes that save you further money on top of that.
Customers also might wish to use a catalogue service that helps spread the cost of the game to make it easier for their budgets. I predict more gamers will shop online for the cost saving measure, even though some specialist stores may offer better service but at a fraction (or sometimes a lot more) of the price.
The other factor is that gamers and customers wish not to come in at midnight and pick up throughout the day and have extra sleep, knowing they are pretty much guaranteed to get a copy by coming in 7 hours later. It is a very tough market and the lack of customers coming in at midnight might not be down to just these factors. Promotion is critical in helping shops boost sales, and some are better than others. Just one Point of Sale poster could be the equivalent of 30 extra sales, it may only be 30 copies but that is £1,200. I have seen little promotion for Advanced Warfare on television, and while Twitter and Facebook are popular, not all people use it. The basics are often missed; it does not look good for sales in stores for future titles.
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GTA V launch photo c/o Mirror.co.uk