What do you think about the Wii and its prospects?
BM: As I mentioned earlier, I give Nintendo a lot of credit. They set out a goal to expand the consumer base, and I give them credit, they did a great job of it. I have one in my house. As I mentioned, I have a 7 year old boy, and a 5 year old daughter, and we all sit around the TV. They like playing some of those mini-games, whether it's fishing, or some of the easier games.
Even though they're mini-games, there is a lot of good entertainment value in those, and they've done a good job of marketing that. And releasing them, not only at the launch, but also having them bundled in, to give the consumer a taste of the gameplay, then having the subsequent launches of more acts and mini-games.
Mario Party 8, which some were concerned about for the Wii, came right back, charged in, and did phenomenally.
GM: Yeah. It's good, it's fun. They are truly bringing in a new consumer, that we feel has never walked through the doors of a GameStop before. It's bringing us an opportunity, not only for the Wii, but also on the handhelds. A significant number of our new releases between now and the end of the year, a little over 20% are going to be on the handheld platforms. And the majority of those are on the DS. Nintendo's done a good job of marketing both, and there is an opportunity for both to be out there.
So you are satisfied with the DS right now?
BM: Oh definitely. Very satisfied with the DS, and there is a good slate of merchandise coming for the holiday. They've done a great job of bringing in an extended gamer base. We have over 100 titles currently that are in the kids category. All the way from Cars to Hannah Montana, Ratatouille to Cooking Mama, we have these targeted games.
We have actually set up a dedicated merchandising section within our stores for kids entertainment, as well as for the music genre. Both are going to continue, with Guitar Hero 3 coming, and Rock Band, as well as a SingStar update, and all the DDR products. It is a unique opportunity. I just today saw Ubisoft's Jam Sessions for DS. A very unique product.
The spread of rhythm games feels like the Tony Hawk boom of the late '90s and early 2000s. It feels like the same sort of rush.
BM: Yeah. Targeting the casual gamer, definitely. Like I was saying, the majority of our kids entertainment products are on the handheld systems.
The PSP has got a different profile with the new, slimmed-down version. What do you think about that moving forward?
BM: I think that the PSP has had a good run since they've taken a markdown since early in the year. The consumer obviously was waiting for that. These new bundles are a great opportunity for the transition from the current system, which is the bigger system, to the new system. They have slimmed it down, they are going for these new configurations.
The opportunity with these bundles, they have their new system in there, and have a game -- Daxter is the first one, we began selling that last week. They have another bundle coming in October, with one of the Star Wars titles packed in. After that, I think the transition will be complete. We'll be in a position where we don't have much of that existing, current product on the shelves. It will be a very good transition into the new, slimmed down Core PSP model. Again, we have got a lot of new releases: a lot of vendors have support on the PSP platform.
Sony pushed God of War back to next year. Does that affect your stance or opinion on the PSP?
BM: I think it's definitely still strong. We see a great lineup of product coming. It is unfortunate any time a big title slips -- whether it be that on PSP, or Grand Theft Auto on PS3 and on Xbox 360. That was a tough one to work around as well. But again, there will be a lot of great product to have, and really have the opportunity. Assassin's Creed will be one of the titles that will currently benefit, especially on the 360 format, as well as Mass Effect, now that GTA 4 has moved into March.
This sometimes gets glossed over by some people, but the PC is one of your big sellers as well. What do you think of the PC gaming platform right now?
BM: I think it's great. PC is really near and dear to my heart. The PC category is really what I started out with, and it evolved from the Atari and Amiga software that I started buying back in 1988. Then the PC entertainment buyer left, and I began to buy PC entertainment. We had a lot of vendors calling on us with 5.25" floppy media.
So it's always been a great platform, and there are always good games. EA's got a great line-up. They've got Crysis, and sports, Spore won't be coming this year... Microsoft has done a great job of recognizing and realizing that they need to put money back into Games for Windows.