Biz Idea: Video Game Shops with Tournaments

This idea almost seems too obvious. It has already been done here and there, but I wonder why it isn’t done more regularly.

If you are thinking about opening up a video game store – either as a franchisee or independent shop – why not harness the enthusiasm of the community to help you sell more games? This idea hit me while reading about the Play N Trade video game franchise in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Franchises are one way for operationally-minded entrepreneurs to start a business without having to come up with a business model themselves. It suits such business owners extremely well. I’ve played with the idea myself, though you need a fair bit of capital for some franchises. Plus, I like coming up with business models myself.

This idea is somewhat related to the Board Game Cafe idea in that it uses tournaments to create a loyal customer base. The presentation would differ, however.

In this video game store, tournaments would be held in a marked-off section of the store. Other shoppers would be able to see the gamers in action easily – both giving the gamers an audience (great for those with big egos) and customers a chance to see how much fun a particular game is (enthusiastic gamers can be great game promoters). Skill levels would be needed so beginners aren’t demoralized by experts, of course.

Registration could be free to encourage participants. Perhaps it could even include a discount on the game itself too. Small prizes could be offered as an incentive, such as a plaque on the wall or coupons. If there is a significant monetary prize, a registration fee could be imposed. Partnerships and sponsorships with game manufacturers could also be made, since this helps them as much as it helps the shop.

The goal is to draw crowds into the store with the hope that onlookers would be motivated to make some purchases. At the very least, those that register will definitely purchase the game so they can practice it at home.

A challenge would be convincing parents to allow their kids to participate in such seemingly time-wasting, homework-deterring, mind-numbing tournaments though. How do you change their minds? Hmmm…

  • If a game manufacturer will agree to sponsor the event, maybe a large monetary prize would change their minds. (“Look honey, little Bobby made $10,000 for us today!”)
  • Tournaments could be offered to parents as well, perhaps on gaming systems such as the Nintendo Wii (NTDOY.PK). (“Honey, I totally kicked butt on the Wii Fit today!”)
  • These tournaments could take place during the summer and offer meals and a safe place for kids to hang out all day.
  • The shop could participate in local community service activities to give back to their community and create goodwill.

Admittedly, this idea works better as a marketing tactic for an existing video game shop than a whole new one. But as a marketing tactic, if it can draw in more customers, perhaps it is worth trying. What do you think?

Photo by: nickstone333

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

4 thoughts on “Biz Idea: Video Game Shops with Tournaments”

  1. I have a friend who managed a GameStop in Savannah, GA a number of years ago, and hosted several in-store tournaments centered around whatever the current popular game was. As far as I know it was up to the individual store managers to take the initiative, but they always had a good turnout.

    Nice blog BTW, I’ve added you to my reader.

  2. @Mike, definitely- I know he hit a lot of bonuses and other targets during his time as a store manager, and the tournaments helped a lot with that.

    The stores end up being a community business in their own way, with a lot of kids spending a lot of time there. It sounded like the company did a good job maintaining that status as the place to go for all things video game related.

  3. @George, that’s great to know. Forming a community around your business (online or offline) is certainly a great way to gain repeat business. Thanks for sharing this info!

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