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Game Service Industry.. how many?

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Both a friend and myself have taken upon a project over the summer in which we both intend to open a store, in a relatively entertainment driven section of Canada (yeah, we have a few of those, lol) where we are looking at providing Game Services with a few unique toys to please our customers. We have been working fairly hard over the last month the secure deals with a few hardware/software distributors, and even some financial assistance with local investors. Now we are in the process of finishing up our market research (which has done on for at least two months now) and fill in a few blanks. To make this information as useful as possible, we need to find credible sources of information, and the more we have to work with, well the idea is that it is for the better. Unfortunatly Statistics Canada is unable to publish certain information we are looking for due to privacy acts which block recent information from being released, such as the number of operating firms, total gross expenditure, operating revenue, and operating expenses. This is where hopefully others will be able to help. We are looking at setting up and running a store front which is designed specifically to attract gamers. Our goal is to hopefully create an enticing environment for gamers to come in, and play many games in a networked environment, with high-end equipment--and a few toys The information we are looking for relative to this are resources which may contain some or all of the following information: *Number of similar places running in North America/Canada *Any revenue based information in this industry *Growths or recession since 1997. We have scoured the internet and checked many resources, completeness and credibility of course being one of our main issues, any help that anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated by us, and anyone else who may stumble across this looking for similar information. Thanks.

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Business is definitely not my strong point, but I thought I''d answer the post because I have been looking for a way to sell my own computer games.

My experience with computer stores has not been good so far. The local stores in New Brunswick are all branches of a much larger chain, and they don''t buy games themselves. But from what I understand, most stores only buy games from established companies.

What is the nature of the store you are planning to open?
I assume you mean something like an arcade, but with PC terminals instead of those old-fashioned arcade units, where people could get together and play multiplayer games for a fee, just like they pay to see a movie. I''ve imagined places like these, and would be happy to see one where I live. I haven''t seen anything like it before. However, it is common to see stores that sell video games of various platforms (PC, Playstation, XBox), and they have a Playstation set up where one or two people can play at a time.

I am a moderately skilled programmer with a few simple puzzle games on my resume, plus several more complex games in the planning stages.

It is difficult to form a game development company and even more difficult to be taken seriously if you don''t have a company. It''s good to see somebody else who is just starting out and planning to open a store. The existing stores are too hard to contact.

I''m sure a lot of struggling programmers would appreciate it if you considered selling games from independant developers as part of your strategy. I, for one, would be happy to supply you with PC games that I have created, once your store opens. Maybe this information could help sway potential investers in your favor.

I have your member name written down, and would like to hear more from you in the future. Also, let me know if any other programmers have shown interest in your store.

Interesting fact: Canadians buy more computer games per capita than any other country in the world. (I read it in a book)

Corey Wurts

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There was such a store that opened on St-Hubert street in Montreal 5 years ago. It''s the only one I know that''s still profitable.

This store was studied by the McGill MBA program and it became a business case on how to determine a store''s location based on customer (and relatives) behaviour. At first the owners thought of establishing themselves in the ''entertainment'' area of Montreal (much like you plan to do), but the previous attempts all failed. By some random event, they found out that there was always a large male crowd in an electronic shop on St-Hubert street and that crowd was around the PS2s, XBoxes and other PCs playing whatever was being demonstrated, and so they started asking questions. It turns out they were _all_ waiting for their girlfriends to return.

You see, a large part of the street is a merchant area with tons of boutiques. It is the place where girls shop for their wedding dresses, shoes, hip clothing and jewels; guess where their boyfriends now are while their girls go shopping? That''s right; that little gaming parlor...

Something to think over while you write your business plan.


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Actually, though we have considered situating ourself in the entertainment core of the city, we opted out of it. Mainly because of absurdly high storefront values, and well a multitude of a thousand other reasons, the scenario you brought up was a very good point which we did take to considering, and is playing a large role in where we wish to establish ourselves.

To say that it is the only profitable establishment though seems kind of extreme. There are 82 establishments across Canada as registered with iGames.org, and hundreds upon hundreds in the US alone, many of which have been in business for a considerable period of time, which really raises a question of profitability. But this, of course, is part of the research, it is definatly not a simple process to determin if such an idea is actually sustainable.

Interestingly enough, I was in Montreal about a month ago, for a programming competition that was taking place at McGill University, while I was there, I took the time to wonder a small section of the metropolitan, Rue St-Cathrine (sp?) and surrounding area being my primary target. I came across two similar places, one of which I do not remember the name, and the other "Battle.net 24"--you can only guess what games they had to showcase . Both places were actually really busy. From Friday evening up to the wee hours of Monday morning when our flight left.

But I do thank you greatly for your input, it always helps to have the critical angles that may otherwise be looking brought back into perspective.

[edited by - kurifu on April 23, 2004 3:56:54 AM]

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Original post by kurifu
.....Both places were actually really busy. From Friday evening up to the wee hours of Monday morning when our flight left.
Here is an interesting point. Can your company make a profit based solely on those hours? Remember, "walk in" customers will likely be restricted to the week-end. If you want to keep busy during the week you need to be appealing to corporate/promotional customers who want to send their sales team on a team building/bonding day out. To get that sort of business you need a targeted, marketing plan.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

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> Battle.net 24

This is one of the recent ones (less than 2 years or so). Most of the small spots last 2 years and then close doors for lack of funding. Metaforia, which opened in 1999 with a big fanfare and C$50M of funding closed in 2002 even with a slew of venture cap investment rounds. Granted, that was before, during, and after the tech bubble but as Dan pointed out, once you grab the local market during the weekends you still need to fill in the weekdays. And for that you need to spend inordinate amounts of marketing dollars to promote internationally in order to get a few tourists going in during weekdays. That''s why downtown is usually the right place to have tourist attractions, but storefronts are not cheap as you mentionned.

> There are 82 establishments across Canada as
> registered with iGames.org {...}

You should monitor the list closely for turnover rate. Maybe this web site has historical data you can look at. Then you can talk to those who have survived in the long run and get more info on how they did it.

> But this, of course, is part of the research, it is
> definatly not a simple process to determin if such an
> idea is actually sustainable.

I''m glad to see you are following a cold-headed approach to entrepreneurship. We don''t see this around too much here... |8-}

Best of luck!


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