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Yes, says CEO Simon Fox, but there will be sacrifices. Christopher Dring visits HMV’s offices to find out how its attitude towards gaming has changed

further develop Initially it will be about multichannel – so click and collect, which we plan to offer from June. And we will look at ways to make our apps more interesting. We want to add trailers to our Re/Play app. There’s a lot of content richness that can bring to our sites and apps.

What about digital downloads? We see a role for us in digital. We’d like to sell extra characters and in- store subscriptions, we have looked at a whole range of options and I’d like to see us bringing some of them to fruition in the next year.

What do you think is needed to lift the games market? The breakthrough innovation has happened outside of the games industry, so iPhone and tablets. That’s what’s exciting customers. We haven’t had that product in games. Hopefully Vita and Wii U will be those products.We’re dependant on the innovation of the games companies. We need more Adeles and Harry Potters, we need great titles that capture people’s imaginations.


Simon Fox stops short of outright criticising the games industry. He knows that

HMV CEO Simon Fox insists that combining games with technology gives the category a higher profile

serious in gaming headsets – it is inexcusable that we haven’t been. Digital cards are also important as we are undershooting in that market.

With music and film offering more support, is there a risk of games losing its voice in HMV? I think bringing games and tech together gives the category a much higher profile. It is also an area, because we’ve underperformed, that to just regain our natural market share is a huge sales opportunity.

We will reclaim space from games, but we intend to do it so that publishers and customers won’t materially notice.

Simon Fox, HMV

What’s happening with Gamerbase? We won’t open any more paid-to- play Gamerbase outlets this year. They are doing well but it is more important, given how constrained space is, that we keep rolling out the Gamerbase four-man pods rather than the big play centres.

Are there any other areas you can move into in games?

Our priorities are to be selling digital cards, to grow accessories, and to support new platforms. We want to

publishers can’t just give it stock like the movie and music suppliers can. Video games are expensive. But underneath the empathy

there’s disappointment. HMV did not get the special edition sets or exclusive content that its rivals did. So it lost market share. HMV has to take some blame for that. But the reality is the firm now has a better relationship than ever with music and movies. Games is fast becoming that disappointing younger sibling HMV hasn’t given up on games, it believes it can claw back its market share. But it needs help. And considering the state of some of its rivals, the industry could well come to rely on HMV more and more as time goes on.

February 10th 2012 15

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