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Wal-Mart Talks Next-Gen Console Onslaught 66

Posted by Zonk
from the next-gen-meets-middle-america dept.
simoniker writes "Wal-Mart game buyer Steve Perry discusses the U.S retail giant's approach to stocking both current-gen and next-gen consoles, including pricing, launch supply flow, and the availability of demo units for Wii and PlayStation 3. Perry also updates on what's been hot in Wal-Mart stores this summer: 'We've been really successful with Madden, that's been really good. NCAA has been great. Guitar Hero's been on fire. The new DS Lite, the colors came out a few weeks ago, those have done really well.'"
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Wal-Mart Talks Next-Gen Console Onslaught

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  • to buy games for Wal Mart?

    who'da thunk!

    (Yes, I know, same name, different people, I just found it amusing).
    • by hords (619030)
      If this is the guy who decides not to stock Okami, all of the Katamari Damacy games, etc at my local Wal-mart, I would like to tell him off right now. It took a few months after release to see any of the Katamary Damacy games. I kept checking and checking, eventually had to drive to the next town and go to Software, Etc to buy the games. Same thing with Okami, except I only gave them a week or so to get it in stock before I gave up. If stores don't release titles on launch day, or at least a day or two afte
      • You've heard of online shopping right?

        I mean come on - you waited a few months for those games and never thought... Amazon?
        • by hords (619030)
          I didn't really feel like paying extra for shipping and I kept thinking the game would eventually show it's face a my local stores, but nope. The moment I ordered online it would have been in the store and then I would have to wait for it to be shipped. Murphy's law and all.
          • Touche.

            I've been there before - like each time I buy new sunglasses, the old ones turn up under the sofa...
  • Agghh (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:40PM (#16324505) Homepage
    This Q&A felt like a Wal-Mart commerical for some reason.

    - No real information about the PS3 launch, basically just "I think we'll have it this fall"
    - Plenty of plugging for The Apprentice, but why? Who cares? I sure don't.
    - Basically just said everything everyone already knows about the console wars.
    - Stop the press!! This just in: Wal-Mart is a business. Amazingly, they'll stock products if those products will sell.

    I read all three pages and was left with a sense that I just wasted a piece of my life. Sometimes I wonder how these stories get through the submission process (ok, a lot of times).

    Meh, maybe someone got something useful out of it.. somewhere...

    TLF
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hennell (1005107)
      Yeah, I felt almost every question was answered with "We don't know" "We'll see what happens" "We're currently doing what we always do". The whole article could easily be summed up with "I don't want to commit myself to anything specific yet thats not already well known."

      The only thing of any use in there was pretty much "Wal-Mart will stock game consoles this Christmas". Which if you didn't already know, you don't deserve to be here.
      • Well, he had good reasons for that. He did get somewhat specific about E3 on the second page:

        GS: I'm sure by now you've heard of the downsizing of E3 from the Los Angeles Convention Center to hotel conference rooms. Overall, how has Wal-Mart felt about the downsizing of this event in previewing potential new games for its stores?

        SP: For us it's not an issue at all. We typically meet with suppliers on a frequent basis, and actually get most of our information from the suppliers, so it's not an issue at all.

        G

  • by Mayhem178 (920970) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:43PM (#16324551)
    Dude, I thought we said no more Journey psyche-outs!
  • How much money will you save buying them at Wal-Mart? I'll admit, I buy shave cream and razors there but I prefer almost any other store to Wal-Mart.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Rude Turnip (49495)
      Come on...you can get an Xbox 360 (regular, not core) at Walmart for $399.92, that's a whole ***8 CENTS*** off of the price you'd pay anywhere else! Sure, I have to pay more in taxes to cover the welfare costs of the employees there....b,b,but...8 CENTS!!!!! USA! USA!, NASCAR!, USA! Go W!!!
    • by Churla (936633)
      Even worse, my wife works for a division of the Wal-Mart beast as a technical writer, so we have a 10% discount card. Makes it hard to make a lot of reasons to deliberatly avoid buying things there when the budget is a concern.
    • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#16325929)
      I buy all my new electronics hardware at Wal-Mart and for very good reason: return policy. I personally prefer Target but even their return policy leaves something to be desired when compared to Wal-Mart. PSP has a dead pixel? Not a problem. Just not happy with that new console? Not a problem. $1000 TV acting funny on you and don't want to deal with the warranty process? Not a problem. Full refund. I'm not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart but they really stick up for you when it comes to big ticket items being returned for refund/exchange. I would actually pay a little bit more to buy most electronics hardware from Wal-Mart (except for computers and laptops which I buy from Costco or Sams Club who each have massive 6 month return policies on those items).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by porcupine8 (816071)
        Heck, as flexible as Wal-Mart's return policy is, you don't really need to buy it there to return it when you have a problem. You might not get back the exact amount you spent, but I doubt the difference would be more than a dollar or two.

        For Christmas last year, an aunt bought me a DVD set that I already had. Unfortunately, the wrapping on it was torn, so most places wouldn't take it as a return because it had been "opened." My family all told me Wal-Mart would take it - and sure enough, they did. No rec

      • Walmart:

        On vacation out of state my wife got a "camera chip" (SD) for my CF using camera. She opened the package and got the SD chip to rattle around in the CF slot. The blister-pack packaging was torn to shreds. I returned to the same wal-mart with the receipt, the SD card, and the remains of the packaging and asked to get a credit for the value of the SD card put towards the price of a CF card of higher capacity(and higher price!)

        End result, wasted time in line at customer service, more time wasted at CS
        • by hal2814 (725639)
          "Decision made to NOT accept an exchange or return on the product as it was "FILM" for digital cameras and had been opened and "used" (again, my camera uses CF and can't write to SD.)"

          That surprises me because I've returned actual opened camcorder tapes before (wrong type but wife didn't know that until she tried to pop in a tape) and they've accepted them. They did try to refuse refund at first but after I asked them to point out where it said I couldn't return opened film on the big board of return polic
    • How much money will you save buying them at Wal-Mart? I'll admit, I buy shave cream and razors there but I prefer almost any other store to Wal-Mart.

      About as much as you would save if you bought it at CostCo, a blue state company which pays employees more and has a real health care plan.

      See, there are choices.
    • I also prefer buying at Wal-Mart for the return policy. The price on video game electronics is pretty standard across retail stores, but how many will accept returns as hassle free as Wal-Mart does? I've returned things because "It wasn't what I really wanted after all" and they were like "No problem, here's your money back".
      • How is Walmart any different than Kmart, or Sears before it?
        The sears catalog ended retail as we know it?

        Walmart return policy is no questions asked.
        Excuse me, "you want the cash, or credit to the card?"

        BS on above comment regarding difficulty at same.
        Complete BS.
        . I went through 3 dvd recorders in three years, returned the first two after 88
        days, (and the majority of the Pats season recorded) both made too many coasters.
        Price went from 299 to 99, the crappy little ilo 99$ unit just records. Not hackable,
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:51PM (#16324629) Homepage

    Regarding the PS3 price drop, the Wal-Mart buyer says "We'd certainly like to see parity on pricing, but we have not had that conversation with them yet."

    That should be read as "Sony will drop the price to Wal-Mart, or else."

    Bear in mind that this is one of the very few people whose position on price really matters. The PS3 is crucial to Sony. Wal-Mart doesn't really need to carry it at all, let alone give it much shelf space. In fact, the PS3 is a rather high-priced product for Wal-Mart. They can move PS2s at $129 (and that's the new slim-line PS2) in volume. The PS3 will be a niche product to Wal-Mart until the price comes down.

    That slim-line PS2 is worth watching. That's a mid-life kicker for the PS2, and the first time that's really happened in the videogame console market. That could be the killer product for this holiday season. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 get all the press attention, but the downsized PS2 will generate the profits this season.

    • by jbrader (697703)
      Do you mean that the smaller ps2 is the first time a smaller version of a console has been released? That's actually a very common thing, I believe there was even a smaller version of the NES released around the time SNES came out. Or do you just mean it's the first time a slimmed down version has made much of an impact?
      • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:06PM (#16324841) Journal
        I think he means he has only been following the video game market for the last 7 or 8 years, but he feels qualified to make statements about the entire history of the 'videogame console market'. Personally, I'm just glad people like this play the stock market.
        • If he'd been following the game market for the last 7 or 8 years, he would have noticed the slim version of the original playstation. I think you give him too much credit.
      • by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > Do you mean that the smaller ps2 is the first time a smaller version of a console has been released?

        Not sure, but I think he means this is the first time a shrink/cheaper console is going to be seen as a mid-life instead of end-of-life. Don't totally agree if that is true but a case can be made for it. PS2 is still a useful console, especially at a low enough pricepoint and most especially compared to a PS3 that is going to be priced out of reach for most users this X-Mas (not to mention short supply)
        • if it tanks they will probably be forced from the console game and retreat to gameboys and selling franchise titles on other console ala Sega.

          I think Sony is a lot closer to being pushed out of the console game than Nintendo. Sony is bleeding money right now, and severely needs the PS3 to help it out. Meanwhile, Nintendo has basically been printing money with the Gameboy line for over a decade, and their consoles have been making them a tidy profit as well. In short, Nintendo has a fuck-ton of money. Even i
          • IpalindromeI said "I think Sony is a lot closer to being pushed out of the console game than Nintendo."

            Yup. Nintendo is looking very strong to me this season.
            Especially,to parents of the little kids.

            Nin I was 99 bux with a game. A great game.
            Po' peeple could get wit it, just like the the rich kids. Great.

            360 slow sales is price resistance, no killer app yet.
            Halo Incoming will change that. Price cut will double it, I get off the fence that day.

            But...PS2 sold 100 million units, one Billion games. That is a da
    • by fo0bar (261207) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:01PM (#16324769)
      That slim-line PS2 is worth watching. That's a mid-life kicker for the PS2, and the first time that's really happened in the videogame console market.

      PSone? Back in 2000, while the PS2 was struggling with launch stock, the PSones were flying off the shelves.

      (There were similar, but not as successful slim redesigns of the NES and SNES toward the end of their runs.)
      • (There were similar, but not as successful slim redesigns of the NES and SNES toward the end of their runs.)

        Not to mention the Nokia NGage, Sega Genesis/Megadrive and Master System, Atari Lynx and 2600, Gameboy Pocket and GBA Micro, and probably several others I'm forgetting.

        In fact, over the course of the industry's history it seems more common than not that when a company releases a new model, they repackage their previous one to be positioned as a budget model. I'm actually kind of surprised that Micros
        • MS owned like zero IP in the original XBox. That's why they wanted to replace it, because there was no way to bring the costs down on the console over time. In 2-3 years, the costs for the PS3 will be down enough that they can slim it down and make a profit on the slimmed down version. For instance, the Cell will go to 65nm from about 80nm, and that'll cut cooling and stuff, and I assume the GPU will be the same story (as it goes from upper-mid-range to easy to make)
    • by ProppaT (557551)
      Exactly. Everyone's original PS2 is dead or dying at this point and the PS3 is too rediculously priced to buy to play your old PS2 games on (seeing that, what, there's maybe one or two interesting PS3 games coming out this year, and we don't even know if they're any good yet).

      And for everyone else, the Wii.
    • GBA:SP Backlit screen, new form factor, still in stores today? Massively successful upgraded successor.

      DS:Lite Brighter screen, new form factor, still in stores today? Massively successful upgraded successor.

      Where you may say "That's a mid-life kicker for the PS2, and the first time that's really happened in the videogame console market" it certainly isn't the last. I'm not sure which came first, GBA:SP or PS2 slimline, so let us not argue that point, unless someone wants to go look that up?
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      That should be read as "Sony will drop the price to Wal-Mart, or else."

      Bear in mind that this is one of the very few [corporations] whose position on price really matters.


      Do you honestly think that Wal-Mart can play this card? 400,000 units is not a lot, and I'm pretty sure other stores could sell those just fine.
      • Sony probably wants to sell more than just the initial launch shipment, and I'm guessing the largest retailer in the U.S. can help them do that. Just guessing, though.
        • by ClamIAm (926466)
          Yeah, it totally wouldn't be a PR disaster when the hot new game console isn't available at your store because you had to try and be a big tough guy on pricing.

          Oh wait, yeah it would.
          • It wouldn't be a PR disaster for Wal-Mart. No one outside the gaming community would even care.

            Wal-Mart's revenues for last year were $316 billion, and their profits were $75 billion. Do you really think a large enough portion of that comes from Sony products that they wouldn't consider putting some pressure on Sony if they thought it would help their bottom line? What is Sony going to do, pull all their stock? Get real, Sony needs Wal-Mart, not the other way around.
            • by ClamIAm (926466)
              Wal-Mart's revenues for last year were $316 billion, and their profits were $75 billion. Do you really think a large enough portion of that comes from Sony products that they wouldn't consider putting some pressure on Sony if they thought it would help their bottom line?

              I don't have figures for all "Sony products", however I do have some figures that you probably should've looked for before making such a huge assumption.

              In 2001, Wal-Mart accounted for 25 percent [wired.com] of computer and video game sales in the US.
              • Did you read the rest of that Wired article you linked? The entire article is talking about how Wal-Mart can do whatever it wants because it's so big. The statistic you quote only makes your argument weaker:

                In 2001, Wal-Mart accounted for 25 percent of computer and video game sales in the US.

                This is why Sony needs Wal-Mart. They're not going to cut themselves out of 25% of their target audience, it would be utterly stupid.

                Yeah, if everybody just stopped selling to Wal-Mart, then they'd all go out of busines
                • by ClamIAm (926466)
                  I honestly cannot fathom the thought processes that bring you to such a ridiculous, one-sided conclusion. Further, you fail to see the errors in your logic even when I point out the logical conclusion of them. Consider your previous statement:

                  Get real, Sony needs Wal-Mart, not the other way around.

                  Perhaps we should logically expand the implicit part of your statement:

                  Sony needs Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart doesn't need Sony.

                  Now let's look take your statement and expand it to a general case. You are claiming that
                  • Rather than continue tilting at windmills, let me go back to the beginning and lay out my point explicitly.

                    This thread began with Animats [slashdot.org] claiming that Wal-Mart could put pressure on Sony to lower their price for the PS3, at least to Wal-Mart. You disagreed, stating that Sony could easily sell the 400,000 launch units without Wal-Mart, so Wal-Mart could not reasonably play the pressure game.

                    I agree that Sony could sell the launch units without Wal-Mart. However, they want to sell more than just the launch u
    • by Shadowlore (10860)
      Bear in mind that this is one of the very few people whose position on price really matters.

      Wal-Mart is NOT a person. Bear that in mind.
  • by antifood (898331)
    Did the interview come off extremly steril? Wal-Mart has the best supply chain in the business, and they are obviously taking that route with their game devision. I just have a feeling that this putting into focus everything that is going wrong with the gaming industry. Less focus on passion, more on lean manufacturing.
  • Wal-Mart v. E3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Veetox (931340)
    When Steve Perry was asked about E3, he said: "Well, for us it was a big event, it was crowded, it was noisy, and you really couldn't accomplish anything. It was just more of a show in terms of accomplishing anything other than seeing the new game systems." ...And I say, "Hm, just like your stores during Christmas..."
  • Madden? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I was just at a game store the other day, and their used bin was about half Madden. What a racket.
  • In the beginning of this year, analysts were saying that this year would be a slump. It seems the total opposite has been happening so far. Games are in fact doing pretty well. Major titles and consoles seem to be flying off the shelves.
  • Ahm... Wal-Mart isn't getting Wii interactives anytime soon. GameStop and EB Games will be getting them exclusively until after fourth quarter. This is due in part to the totally free-standing nature of the controller. No tether. No cord. The only thing stopping you from walking out of the store with the controller (aside from, you know, the law) is that the stores will likely require you to submit a photo ID, credit card, or your shoes as ransom while you are trying out the system. A huge pain in the
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rydia (556444)
      They have a "tethered" version, after a fashion... there's a version with a power cord that people have been using at events which link the remote to the Wii/TV.
    • by hal2814 (725639)
      "This is due in part to the totally free-standing nature of the controller."

      Or you could just slap a security tag on there like they do with every other small item they have that can be stolen. Or even have a security cable like places used to do with TV remote controls. What Wal-Mart wants, Wal-Mart gets. If they're not getting the interactive kiosks in, I'd wager the #1 reason is that they don't want them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by revlayle (964221)
      Also, even more of an issue of tetherig, is how Wal-Mart (at least around here.... and I live near the birth place of Wal-Mart) arrang their controllers and screen. Generally, the controllers are "tethered" to a divider between two glass door section where they keep the games and consoles. The monitor/tv-screen are above you at the top of the isle. One woul dhave to step back and point the controll at whereever the sensor bar was located (which is another issue) and hope people don't wack passerbys upsid
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by protektor (63514)
      If you think Wal-Mart is going to get left out of the console launchs this fall and not demo any of the new systems at all this fall you are sadly mistaken. Wal-Mart is all about making money and they know that for new consoles, demo systems help sell new console launches. I don't know where you heard this but I suspect someone has led you astray. I know people who work at Wal-Mart who have been talking about the Wii and PS3 launches.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IpalindromeI (515070) *
      Even if they don't get Wii demo units, I'll let you in on how you can demo one. Buy one. Wal-Mart has got to have the most customer friendly return policy ever. They'll take anything back, even without receipts usually. So if you end up not liking it, just return it the next day. Plus, you get to try it out in your own home, without a hundred other people trying to squeeze past you in the aisle, or bugging you to let them try.

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