Downloadable content becomes a major push for videogame retailers.
If you've ventured into your local GameStop recently, you've probably noticed the sizable section of the store now devoted to virtual goods. The paid DLC shelves look just like any other, with faux retail boxes that you can take to the counter and purchase. Of course, when you swipe your credit card, you're given a code rather than a game case, but that doesn't seem to matter to many customers, as the retailer now boasts DLC attach rates of up to 50%.
If this revelation strikes you as particularly odd, it's totally understandable. After all, downloadable content - by definition - was designed to be purchased online, without any interaction with a brick-and-mortar store. However, in speaking with GamesBeat, GameStop's director of retail digital distribution, Brad Schliesser, claims that as publishers push day-one DLC more and more, it becomes easier and easier to sell it in stores.
"When we first started [selling DLC] in 2010, we had less than a 2 percent attach rate for DLC to a physical game. That started changing in holiday 2011, and what changed is publishers decided to start marketing digital content to customers when the game released rather than waiting three, six, or 12 months afterward," he notes.
Schliesser goes on to reveal that Mass Effect 3 DLC was a particularly hot seller, with half of the customers who purchased the game in-store also picking up the $10 DLC voucher in the same transaction. Schliesser attributes some of the growing attach rate of in-store DLC purchases to knowledgeable employees promoting the add-on content that some gamers may not know exists.
"The most important thing that we found is the associates in the store drive the business. They understand what content is. It's easy for them to sell content to a customer when that customer is buying a copy of the game," Schliesser explains. "DLC for us attaches better to a physical game than any other accessory or add-on that we have in our company - whether it's a headset, a controller, or strategy guide - because it's so easy for the consumer to understand what it is they're getting. From very early on, we understood that we had to do a good job of not only educating the consumer but also educating the person behind the counter."