Boris Johnson, England’s Prime Minister, has just ordered a lockdown across entire England resulting in the closedown of all physical shops until December. This is huge news in the region which will likely have a negative impact on the video game industry, specifically the release of the next-gen consoles – the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
The lockdown is scheduled to start on November 5 and will continue until December 3. This provides shoppers a small window to buy things for the holidays, including only 22 days for the Yuletide season. This also means that the lockdown will be in full effect during the scheduled releases of the next-gen consoles, adding more fire to this year’s console wars.
Physical stores including GAME and Smyths catered to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 preorders last month. Most fans took advantage of the opportunity to preorder and participate in the next generation of gaming, but this lockdown might change things a bit.
We will get through this – but we must act now to contain the spread of coronavirus.
It is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together. pic.twitter.com/81yGUSYcB7
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 2, 2020
Sellers will need to come up with a plan on how to distribute the new consoles and games instead of canceling the preorders, and it might be that they become Click-and-Collect distributors. Click-and-Collect areas allow people to make purchases online then pick them up through a curbside-pickup kind of scenario.
During the lockdown, all non-essential shops will be closed such as pubs, restaurants, and more. Obviously, physical video game shops fall under this category. The fact that a national lockdown has been implemented certainly means that the situation has become really serious, but online sellers such as Amazon may be best fitted for times like this.
More gamers are now buying games digitally more than ever as physical stores are shut down, and more individuals are now moving towards having an online library. However, physical shops are still a bit different since it’s absolutely possible to purchase a console on the internet, but not as simple as purchasing and downloading a game.
Many are still wondering if the coronavirus pandemic would be the reason for the closure of GameStop and other physical gaming stores. The status of the United Kingdom is proof that the pandemic is hurting this element of the gaming industry.
Sellers will certainly adapt, as the Click-and-Collect setup is similar to restaurants finding other ways to deliver their services to customers. However, even if challenges are overcome, they can also easily halt forward progress.
Sales of physical games and the next-gen consoles will probably not be quite as successful during the lockdown in the United Kingdom, especially if sellers aren’t able to figure out efficient methods to get their products to customers.