Daniel DeMatteo, vice chairman and COO of GameStop, tells the New York Times that non-hardcore gamers are "playing a more important role" in the current video game buying demographic and that the company is "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." It's unclear if DeMatteo finished the term "customer service" in relation to Gamestop with a straight face, but he does expect big sales of the Wii and the PlayStation 2 this holiday season, referring to the latter as the "one real value video game machine out there now."More potentially distressing to the hordes of gamers who hope to keep casual cooties away from their Square-Enix RPGs and first-person shooters might be DeMatteo's revelation that the retailer will be pushing music games in a major way. It's setting up dedicated portions of the store to games like Rock Band and SingStar in addition to heavily promoting licensed kids fare.
Good news for the hardcore, however, is buried within. The Gamestop COO says that despite Microsoft's spotty hardware reliability, enthusiasm for the Xbox 360 is still high. That may have something to do with one of the company's expected big sellers, Halo 3, still generating tons of buzz.
Can't wait to see the dedicated Wii Fit kiosks. Place is gonna stink like a high school locker room.
Casual Fans Are Driving Growth of Video Games [New York Times]