South African gaming retailers here to stay
Despite physical video game disc sales declining substantially over the past few years, South Africa’s video game retailers are confident their services will always have a place in the country’s gaming industry.
With digital sales and video game subscription services like Microsoft’s Game Pass becoming increasingly popular, MyBroadband asked South African gaming retailers what they believe the future holds.
“Console game sales appear to have followed the path of PC games with the introduction of Steam about two decades ago now, with a steady decline in physical game disc sales,” Raru director Neil Smith told MyBroadband.
“Microsoft’s Game Pass offering means there are hardly any Xbox physical game sales any longer.”
“With the all-new PlayStation Plus launching in June, I expect the same will apply for PlayStation soon,” Smith said.
Gamefinity CEO Mario Dos Santos said gaming retailers still offer valuable products and services. Gamefinity distributes PlayStation products in South Africa and operates the online retailer Koodoo.
According to Dos Santos, consumers tend to opt for digital stores and subscription services on launch day.
“There has indeed been a shift to subscription services and digital stores. However, it has primarily occurred on day one of software launches — over time, the overall mix trends back toward the physical product.”
Dos Santos added that although there has been a double-digit move to digital sales, a game’s physical sales depend on genre, age classification, and the price difference between physical and digital versions.
Although physical video game sales have declined, Dos Santos said gaming retailers have evolved.
This includes selling content-relevant gaming merchandise and exclusive physical content offers, like collector’s editions and figurines.
Retailers will also continue to have a future selling hardware like consoles and PC peripherals, and vouchers for online services, said Dos Santos.
While the PS5 stock shortage has been a thorn in gamers’ sides, retailers said at least they don’t struggle to sell units when they land in South Africa.
“The continued scarcity of especially PlayStation 5 consoles means for the foreseeable future at least most of the available stock will be eagerly snapped up as they become available on the market,” Smith said.
“Without exception, every console has been pre-sold,” Dos Santos added.
“Gaming retail, whilst undoubtedly having to evolve to meet changing content consumption patterns, will continue to have a place in the gaming eco-system,” he said.