Game reports digital revenues up by 40% in the first half of its financial year
Game today reported a 40% rise in its digital revenues in the first six months of its financial year. But while digital sales rose sharply as the company increased its market share of the digital gaming content market in both the UK and Spain, overall sales and profits declined slightly as its Spanish sales weakened.
Game reported group revenue of £582.1m in the 26 weeks to January 24
, down by 0.7% compared to the same time last year. UK revenue of £447.7m was 2.4% up on last time, but Spanish revenue of £134.4m was 10% down. The company says it now has more than 60% of the digital content market in the two countries. Pre-tax profits of £33.2m were also down – by 1.8% on last year. But the company announced dividends totalling 22.05p per share, including a £25m special dividend worth 14.7p per share, which is said reflected its "strong cash position and confidence in the group's long-term strategy and future prospects."
The company said it was investing across its stores, website, mobile site and app "to improve the customer journey and increase convenience." So far its UK stores have been fitted with interactive areas to support new console launches and in future the company will add digital screens to boost engagement and conversion. On mobile, the company added a Scan It function to its app in September 2014 that uses augmented reality to combine image recognition with a customer's Reward account, enabling personalised product pricing and an interactive approach to content.
Chief executive Martyn Gibbs said: "In the first half of the year we continued to make good progress on our strategic priorities. We achieved strong revenue and market share growth in digital sales, added a significant number of new Reward customers and users of Game Wallet and delivered a number of improvements to our omni-channel offer. We have taken important steps in our strategy to broaden our offer beyond purely retail, to the places and ways in which our customers play games, with great support from our supplier partners."
Game said it added 500,000 new Reward customers during the first half, while more than 450,000 people have registered with the Game Wallet epayment plaform. Meanwhile, it now has more than a million registered users of its app, and has begun to trial a mobile games store in beta. Improvements to its omnichannel business inlcuded the February launch of the Game Marketplace which, it said, "has added a large and growing number of specialist gaming-related products to our range."
The company said its omnichannel platform meant it was "well-positioned to take a leading share of sales for the high quality line-up of new games which are due to be released into the continually expanding installed base of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles."
Looking ahead, Gibbs said the March 2 acquisition of specialist gaming company Multiplay, which runs gaming festivals and provides online gaming services, would be "am important step forward in our startegic development" since it enabled future community engagement.
"Our focus for the second half is to deliver on our trading targets and to continue to push forward our strategic initiatives, including further developing our digital strategy and broadening our engagement with gaming communities through technology, events and eSports following our acquisition of Multiplay," he said.
Following that acquisition, Game has now restructured itself into three new operating divisions: Game Retail, Game eSports and Events, and Game Digital Solutions.
Gibbs added: "In the coming weeks and months we can look forward to a solid line up of new physical and digital games launches. Our pre-order rates on the major titles are encouraging and we have secured exclusive editions on many of the key titles."