The Svyaznoy retailer has created a Game Changer sub-brand for the sale of gaming goods, software and services. The company plans to gain a foothold in the growing gaming market through tournaments and collaborations with game publishers and developers. But experts doubt that Svyaznoy will succeed in a new niche: other large retailers and telecom operators are already engaged in gaming.

“Svyaznoy” wants to enter the market of gaming and goods for computer games, the company told Kommersant, for this a sub-brand Game Changer was created and a portal of the same name for gamers was launched. It will sell gaming gadgets, peripherals, software and subscriptions to gaming services. There will also be a loyalty program and tournaments on the site. Svyaznoy plans to develop content direction at Game Changer, attract streamers and do collaborations with game gadget manufacturers, game publishers and developers. In March, the company opened three stores for gamers in the Moscow region, but there are no other plans for the development of gaming retail yet, the Svyaznoy said.

Other large retailers are also interested in the gaming direction. A separate section for gamers “M.Game” was launched by “M.Video” back in 2016. The retailer is developing a gaming community on VKontakte, according to its own estimates, it numbers more than 100 thousand people. In addition, for several years now, M.Video stores have special zones where you can test gaming gadgets, the company added.

Telecom operators are also interested in the segment. MegaFon and MTS retail also have special thematic zones for those who are interested in gaming devices. MTS has also created a cloud gaming service (allows you to play video games on computers with weak hardware or smartphones), a streaming platform, and an e-sports team. Tele2 in October 2020 opened a cloud gaming zone in one of the salons in Moscow. The company will soon launch cloud gaming, Tele2 promises. VimpelCom did not respond to the request.

The market of equipment and accessories for gamers in 2020 grew by 50% compared to 2019 and exceeded the mark of 12 billion rubles in volume, according to analysts from the distributor Merlion. According to My.Games (owned by Group), the volume of the Russian video game market in 2020 grew by 35% year-on-year and amounted to RUB 163.4 billion.

The past year has become a landmark for the gaming industry, the pandemic has significantly increased the interest of buyers in all categories of gaming products, they say in “AliExpress Russia”. The trend continued in 2021, they add: in the spring, the demand for accessories for gaming on the marketplace grew by almost 60% year-on-year, and for parts for gaming devices – by 70%.

Sales of gaming laptops, PCs, armchairs and peripherals in 2020 grew by almost 60% year-on-year, now the pace has dropped to 25%, says Anton Fomin, an analyst at Marvel Distribution. The variety of peripherals and accessories for the convenience of the game has always surpassed the range of the game consoles themselves, says independent expert Arkady Markaryan: compared to the sales of the main components ”.

The experts interviewed by Kommersant believe that it will be difficult for Svyaznoy to gain a foothold in a new niche for him. The market for gaming products has already been divided between M.Video-Eldorado and DNS, says TelecomDaily CEO Denis Kuskov: “To attract buyers, Svyaznoy will have to dump.” For a full-fledged entry into the niche of gaming products, you need to create a certain set of proposals, and now the electronics deficit continues, recalls Mobile Research Group analyst Eldar Murtazin. In addition, you need an ecosystem of goods and services – not only gadgets, but the games themselves, he notes. Anton Fomin adds that “significant investments in marketing will also be required.”

Anastasia Gavrilyuk