The CEO of troubled retail chain GameStop George Sherman has said that the lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus brought a wave of new consumers into the games market.
Speaking to investors for its Q1 earnings report – as transcribed by Seeking Alpha – the exec said that it had seen a spike in people buying hardware which it reckons are new gamers rather than existing customers buying second machines.
"We saw a lot of hardware purchasing late in the console cycle," Sherman said.
"And we know that our core customer has long since bought second devices and is looking ahead toward the next generation consoles in November. So we're certain that we saw new gamers come in. We don't have any reason to believe that it is a return to gaming, we think that it's net new gaming predominantly. And that shows up for us in terms of loyalty as net new e-mail addresses and net interest.
"Anytime that the overall pie gets bigger, we benefit from that, given our market share. This is something that we can parlay into conversations with our partners as we look down the road."
Sherman's remarks echo those of Microsoft, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer saying that the social distancing rules have resulted in more people playing games.
For the three months ending May 2nd, 2020, revenue from physical game sales dropped by 17 per cent due to the lockdown closing most shops, but online revenue rose by 519 per cent year-on-year and by more than 1,000 per cent over the six weeks that stores were closed.
Overall net sales dropped by 34 per cent year-on-year with GameStop making $1bn for the 13 weeks ending May 2nd, 2020.