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GameStop: Move, Kinect Driving Holiday 'Momentum'

Although console retail has been struggling recently, retailer GameStop believes that Move and Kinect are "bringing in a new consumer" this holiday season, SVP Bob McKenzie tells Gamasutra.
Although console retail has been struggling recently, retailer GameStop believes that Move and Kinect are "bringing in a new consumer" this holiday season. The company hosted launch events for Call of Duty: Black Ops at 98 percent of its U.S. stores, but merchandising senior VP Bob McKenzie tells Gamasutra that it's played host to a big midnight launch once a week for the last eight weeks. Big titles with increasingly strong multiplayer components are helping drive sales, but the bigger trend this holiday season is the launch of new motion control devices Move and Kinect ."We're seeing great activity," says McKenzie. "Both of those motion-based gaming forms are bringing in a new consumer." It's something of a revival and return of the kind of enthusiasm the retailer first saw around the Wii, he suggests. Just like with Nintendo's breakthrough console, McKenzie is able to see his 8 year-old daughter and 11 year-old son share the same console with Kinect, when usually the girl keeps to her portable games. "It's much like we've seen for years with Nintendo," he says. Of course, that might mean it takes some time before next-gen motion controls meet the needs of the core consumer. McKenzie expects to see more gamer-focused titles for Kinect and Move launching "next year," but for now: "A lot of what they're getting out there now, the platformers or sports titles -- that's what's really engaging for the family, and that's making them much more aware of gaming." With new tech and major blockbusters still ahead for the holiday, McKenzie and GameStop aren't sharing the same kind of anxiety about console retail sales that investors in game publishers have begun to evidence. "With the Move and Kinect, and then with the lineup of major new releases that we have going into this holiday we're definitely excited about the opportunity ahead of us." The GameStop EVP concludes: "Obviously I think we're a little bit positioned differently, since we are the specialty retailer... but a year ago we saw a lot of momentum going into holiday... this year it's really the momentum we feel from these motion devices."

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