GAME, the UK retailer and parent company of Multiplay, has announced plans to open another 20 Belong in-store gaming arenas this year.
The news comes as the retailer publishes its financial results for the half-year ending January 28th 2017.
Its sales in ‘events, esports and digital’ rose 120% during the period to reach £8.6 million. However, because of investments made and other outgoings, it made an overall loss of £5.6 million in this area.
But despite the overall loss, GAME’s CEO Martyn Gibbs says the retailer is looking at the long-term and is going to continue to focus on the esports side of its business.
“We are going to continue to invest in those areas,” he told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview.
“They were never a one-year wonder for us. The payback from the likes of Belong is very strong, and Multiplay has multiple different assets that the group is using.
“We don’t want to run so fast that we trip up. We are really pleased with the progress that we are making across Insomnia. The Multiplay digital division has seen significant growth based on the portfolio of titles that we are hosting. We feel we are making really good progress in those areas.”
“We are accelerating our investment and implementation of our Belong initiative. We are also really pleased with the progress that we are making across Insomnia.”
Martyn also said GAME will up the level of marketing activity for its Belong stores – of which it currently has nine – and that they are helping the retailer reach a new type of customer.
“21% of the people that are engaging with us in a Belong arena are people we haven’t seen before,” he said.
In the results announcement, Martyn added: “We made significant progress developing our live in-store gaming proposition under our new Belong brand, with encouraging results from the first seven arenas, and as a result we are accelerating our investment and implementation of this initiative.”
Overall, GAME made £16.5 million in pre-tax profit during the past half a year, down 26.5% year-on-year.
GAME recently announced the teams and ‘Tribes’ for its first esports tournament.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.