I’ll always have a soft spot for WH Smith’s video game stands. It was 1992 and I’d saved up my birthday money to buy Mortal Kombat for the SEGA Master System. I’d searched everywhere for it without joy. Everywhere had sold out… except the secondary WH Smith store in my town. 10-year-old held the empty cartridge box aloft like the World Cup.
So, news that video games will be returning to WH Smith stores in the UK thanks to a partnership with GAME warms the cockles.
Pop-up GAME locations will be, well, popping up in various Smiths stores around the UK to complement its 300 high street stores.
In a statement published by Gameindustry.biz a GAME spokesperson said: "GAME Retail is rolling out a small number of concessions as part of an ongoing trial across WHSmith stores in 2016.
“Alongside our 300 high street stores it means easier access to top video games, accessories and merchandise for our community of gamers nationwide."
The announcement comes following a period of rough publicity for GAME.
The firm had been roundly criticised for its decision to charge customers who wished to try the Sony PlayStation VR headset.
The pay-to-play demos are running would-be buyers £5 for 10 minutes and £15 for half an hour.
In response, GAME said the fee was to pay for the specially trained staff and not to line the corporate coffers.
The firm said: “Our pay-to-play PlayStation VR experience is a GAME-led initiative,” the statement reads. “The cost to use the in-store PS4 pod is entirely refundable for customers that go on to buy either the headset or a PS4 console.
“The payment allows us to ensure that we have dedicated staff manning the PlayStation VR pods who have been fully trained to adhere to best practice demo guidelines.
“The demos are intended to give our customers access to one of the most exciting new gaming technologies in 2016 and provide them with the opportunity to get a feel for VR before they commit to buy.”
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