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Game Chain Babbage's Tests DVD Sales

15 May, 2001 By: David Ward

Taking advantage of the movie-playing capabilities of the Sony PlayStation 2, video game specialty chain Babbage’s Etc. has begun testing sales of DVDs at some locations.

“We’re testing DVD movies, primarily with anime because anime really fits in with our audience,” says Babbage’s president Dan DeMatteo. “But we’re also carrying select front line releases.”

The test will determine if the chain can compete against mass merchants and movie-specific stores with a limited DVD assortment, he says. “I can price competitively. I’m trying to stay away from the big, big hits. I’m looking for the more edgy titles.”

Babbage’s, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, is in the process of a name change, bringing its various stores in the chain, including Babbage’s, Funco and Software Etc., to the GameStop brand umbrella.

A spokesman offered little detail on the DVD movie test, except to say that it is taking place at both its mall-and strip mall-based stores.

Gamer retailers are hoping the PlayStation 2’s DVD movie playback feature and the upcoming Microsoft Xbox will enable additional revenue opportunities as game consumers pick up a movie as well.

While not commenting specifically on the Babbage’s test, video game retail consultant Richard Silverman, c.e.o. of Los Angeles-based Mother Lode Games, says video stores are probably better positioned to capture that additional sale than game stores.

“They get a lot of mothers going in with kids in tow,” he says. “A kid going into a game store oftentimes is going in with just enough money to buy a game. He’s not going to have a lot of extra money or a credit card that he can charge movies to.”

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