American McGee: There Soon ‘Won’t Be Much Need’ For Physical Game Stores
American McGee, creator of the
boring really boring American McGee’s Alice series (see my review of Madness Returns) has been based in Shanghai for most of the last decade. When he isn’t running Spicy Horse, he’s out and about soaking in what he insists is the ‘here already’ future, namely the way Chinese consumer habits differ from the west. In a revealing interview with Industry Gamers, he suggests that brick and mortar game shops will soon go the way of cassette tape and Americans with high paying jobs:
In the (not so?) distant future there wouldn’t be much need for a bricks-and-mortar retailer. Why waste resources on a physical location and unreliable employees when the entire experience can be made sharper, cleaner and more entertaining in the virtual representation? China provides a working model of the store-less retail model — millions of people purchase real-world items online (taobao.com) each day – making Western electronic stores like Best Buy nothing more than places to fondle physical goods you’re going to buy online anyway (Best Buy went out of business in China in less than 2 years, by the way).
He’s probably right, up to a point. Physical music stores have mostly turned into anachronisms, and thanks to e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, book shops are probably soon to follow. The only hitch I can see is that the music shops that do still make money – like California’s Amoeba Music chain – do so in large part because customers can also sell and purchase used records, an experience that so far hasn’t really been duplicated online. And it’s worth noting that GameStop’s entire business hinges on used game sales. I can’t speak for Chinese gamers, but I am fairly confident that American gamers aren’t likely to decide that paying less for used games is lame.
The full interview is worth a read, even if it doesn’t change the fact that American McGee makes crummy games.
Via Game Politics.