Overclockers are attempting to bring PC gaming back to the ‘mainstream’ – read ‘Bricks & Mortar Retail’
Overclockers is one of the UK’s leading retailers of PC gaming hardware and is currently trying to push into the UK High Street via GAME. But with an internet-savvy audience it begs the question, why bother? The physical market for PC games has long since sailed and you’d have to be foolish to think that PC gamers are about to start wandering back into GAME to not only pay their ludicrous prices, but be greeted with a robotic, pre-scripted response when dealing with any PC related queries.
However, in an interview with trade website MCV about the difficulties of having staff full equipped to deal with any PC gaming related questions etc, marketing and partnership manager Mark Purdy for Overclockers had this to say:
“We’re rolling out a training programme with GAME. This is one reason GAME is working with us closely and recognise there is a big training requirement. Store staff will be educated through GAME’s eLearning program.”
I used to work for GAME many years ago and their ‘eLearning program’ is not only laughable, but to attempt to educate non-PC gaming GAME staff on the more complex side of PC gaming, (as well as thoroughly and correctly answering the many questions that customers looking to move to the format will bombard said staff with), via ’emails’ sent from GAME’s head office is utterly ludicrous. Sure there will be some members of staff who are knowledgeable in the area, but generally GAME don’t employ gamers, they employ till monkeys, young adults looking for a bit of weekend beer money. Christ, I’ve yet to walk into a branch of GAME where the staff actually know a great deal about the consoles beyond the tiresome sales spiel that’s hammered into them on a daily basis by GAME’s top brass.
Contrary to common belief GAME are not really a ‘specialist’, they’re a retailer that buys & sells video games and video game related guff and nothing more. ‘Specialist’ is a term used way to liberally when talking about certain retailers. For example, when considering a new TV or sound system from a specialist I think Seven Oaks Sound & Vision, not Currys/PC World. In that respect when it comes to video gaming I certainly don’t think of GAME as a ‘specialist’. The way in which GAME handle business is bog standard retail and for all their talk they could be selling anything from carpets to fried chicken.
Can you imagine the first time some snotty nosed GAME employ is asked “What’s the main difference and features between an AMD R9 380X and a Nvidia 980ti and what can I expect performance wise?” or “What advantages and or risks, if any, are there to overclocking my rig?” or “What’s the benefits of a Scalable Link Interface and how does it work?”
At this point you can expect said staff member to politely ask the customer to wait as they found out what a “rig” is.
Now you might be thinking this is some PC Master Race rant, but it is not. This is a rant based on my experience of working as a manager at GAME – a company that does not care if you’re a gamer or no, it only cares if you have retail experience and can work weekends and Bank Holidays.
Best of luck to Overclockers, but as much as they try this isn’t going to work – certainly not when anyone looking to venture into PC gaming can not only find out anything they want via the interwebs, but where they can get a much more detailed, intelligent and thorough response.