Best Buy Beefs Up Its Gaming Division

Best Buy Beefs Up Its Gaming Division

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Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy wants to be the big dog of videogame retail, and it wants to hire dedicated gaming employees to do just that.

For those not familiar with North American retailer Best Buy (though I hear they have a few shops in China, Turkey and the UK), it sells a ton of electronics. MP3 players, digital cameras, computer stuff - and yes, videogames. But the games have always seemed like an afterthought; just something you put next to the DVDs and CDs to make the store seem well-rounded.

That's going to change. According to Gamasutra, Best Buy plans on adding dedicated in-store checkout desks and sales clerks devoted solely to the videogame section in a bid to overtake GameStop and Walmart as North America's leading game retailer. Best Buy is currently in third place.

Best Buy plans on hiring "dedicated, informed, and engaged employees focused only on gaming," senior VP Chris Homeister said in a presentation. Like at GameStop, the Best Buy employees will encourage the purchase of preordered games and later DLC. Also like at GameStop, Best Buy plans to drive sales of new products by offering trade-in credits for preowned games that people don't want anymore.

However, to help separate itself from the inevitable criticism that Best Buy simply plans to open miniature GameStops in its stores nationwide, Homeister said that game trade-in credit could be used "for any category of products" in the store. Considering how much stuff is at your average Best Buy, that may not be all that awful a deal, thinking about it. Still, it's a bit disappointing since I was just about to make that joke, too.

Best Buy's increased emphasis on gaming will be at the expense of its music department, which will be given less space on the store floor to make up for all of those new copies of Call of Duty.

(Gamasutra, via G4TV)

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Hiring clerks solely devoted to gaming? What a coincidence, Best Buy it just so happens I'm looking for work!

Not surprising really. I used to work for Best Buy some years ago, and depending on the store's location (the one that comes to mind was in a ritzy suburb), they had a service desk in the middle of their video game section to not only assist potential customers, but also help keep an eye on potential thieves.

As you can see with Best Buy's 'Geek Squad' though, they are trying to focus more on a 'services' and 'assistance' methodology over the mantra places like Wal-Mart have such as "Stack 'em high and let them fly!". I also used to work for GameStop (Funcoland, actually) and while it was a far more intimate feeling the Best Buy's big box warehouse style feel, I did enjoy talking to other gamers about some of the lost classics that were overlooked by the mass media. I'm going to date myself here, but I can't remember how many times I suggested "Parasite Eve" to someone and gotten many a 'Thank You' some weeks after purchase.

However, the question begs, is it too late? With Internet Access at the touch of a touch-screen or smart phone, there's far more reliable reviews of games then simple word of mouth from like 15 years ago.

I wouldn't really call games at Best Buy an afterthought. Usually when I enter Best Buy, there is a huge shelf right at the entrance that has the latest released games. Not only that, but the majority of the left-hand wall is all games, demos (usually they have 4-5 set up), and game accessories. When they opened the Best Buy here (about a year and a half ago), I was actually really surprised how much space they devoted to gaming.

Still, I guess more focus on gaming can't be a bad thing. I usually get my games at Best Buy (even if they don't have the widest selection) just for the ease of finding what you want and the knowledge of the employees (they seem to make sure that people in the games department have a general idea of what's new in the world of gaming), so this is good news for me.

They want to be number one? To start with, they need to open more stores. My town has a Wal-Mart and a Gamestop, but no Best Buy. They don't even place, here. Same in a number of other places.

P.S. Thanks

John Funk:
Best Buy plans on hiring "dedicated, informed, and engaged employees focused only on gaming," senior VP Chris Homeister said in a presentation.

I hope I'm not the only one who consistently reads that as "Homestar".

John Funk:

Best Buy plans on hiring "dedicated, informed, and engaged employees focused only on gaming," senior VP Chris Homeister said in a presentation. Like at GameStop, the Best Buy employees will encourage the purchase of preordered games and later DLC. Also like at GameStop, Best Buy plans to drive sales of new products by offering trade-in credits for preowned games that people don't want anymore.

Great.
It sounds like Best Buy is going to be as annoying to shop at as Gamestop... If that's possible.
Last time I tried buying a game at best buy, they were already incompetent. Mind you, this was the new store by Mets stadium but I've heard there hasn't been much improvement there.

Funny, yesterday, a Best buy worker was trying to convince me about pre-ordering Portal 2.

Well... I found my summer job. ;P

eBay and Half.com have been serving my gaming needs for the past 2 years. Most games aren't worth the $60 price tag.

yey more games
"Best Buy's increased emphasis on gaming will be at the expense of its music department"
...wait what

SAT4NSLILHELPER:
Hiring clerks solely devoted to gaming? What a coincidence, Best Buy it just so happens I'm looking for work!

Same, actually. Shame it probably won't roll out in time for me to get a job there.

I can't understand why these big stores even HAVE a "music department" anymore.

With plastic discs and everything!

Valve is still my only game store employee, he knows me well and we sometimes go out and drink together.

I can see them beating out Wal-Mart for video game sales. Gamestop...not so much. I could be wrong, I just don't see it happening any time soon.

!

*runs to bestbuy with resume in hand*

I've been to Future Shop (owned by Best Buy) recently and the restructured stores have a clerk right at the games section. Their PC game section is actually substantially larger than Gamestop/EB and they have very competitive pricing across the board. If you want a lesser known game, you can probably find it if it's brand new, though they falter at stocking older games that aren't big name titles like Call of Duty or Mario. However, I know the staff at EB and enjoy the general "games everywhere" atmosphere in the stores, even if it means 50% of the time I have to buy a gutted game. Even if Walmart is a competitor to both, it is easily the least likely place I will go to buy games because I hate having that glass case between me and the games, and the fact that Walmart is awful for the most obscure releases I spring for.

What I really hate is that Future Shop sells next to no music anymore. I know that CDs are becoming old media, but I wanted the Tron soundtrack real bad and I had to trek to HMV to go get it. Now I've supplanted both Future Shop and HMV with Book Off for their dirt cheap CDs even if they're all used. At least they stock variety. And game soundtracks.

(I love Book Off)

Jumping on a train that's low on fuel.

 

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