The following is the opinion of the author and not the opinion of Ten Ton Hammer and its assorted properties:
When I was a kid, there was an assignment in my Spanish class to record your voice on a micro-cassette tape speaking various Spanish words. The year: 1999. The location: Radioshack. There was one place that you could trust to buy a piece of equipment that you'd never use again, for either work or school, and that was Radioshack.
In the 80s and 90s, it wasn't the $1,500 cellphones that drove RadioShack near me or the hobby section containing various parts to build any Maker's ultimate dream project, but the peripherals, cables, and other components you couldn't get elsewhere. Needed a serial cable for your Okidata printer? Radioshack. Needed a ribbon for it? Your major office supply store probably had a better deal.
Now, with Radioshack filing bankruptcy and shuttering a large portion of its stores, it could collapse into the same space video game stores went, the eternal abyss of stories your grandparents share with you, with a long line of other retail stores being listed by the media as up next. My big thing that I want to ask is if PC gaming could have saved RadioShack & other B&M stores. Well, it probably couldn't, but hey it's fun to think about: what if the PC gaming aisle didn't die?
No, ponder for a moment, just a moment alright, that you needed a new Razer mouse. Not just any mouse, but the Razer Naga. You could if you wanted, get it online and delivered within a few days, but you could also just not play your game - not happening.
PC and Console gaming is all about the right now. It's materialism at its finest. Want, want, want, want and more want. I mean, think about the Diablo III hackers who just can't deal with actually playing the game and want a bot to play it for them because they're impatient. Think about how this entire PC gaming industry OR EVEN MOBILE is funded purely off of people wanting something NOW. What do you think drives that huge chunk of the big box store that is constantly growing? My local retailer has three aisles for games, two for display cases for the games themselves, and then one dedicated to consoles. People want their consoles now, they want their Skylander figurine now, they want it today and not tomorrow, even if most/some of the games and accessories available there is half the price online.
People want stuff NOW so much they preorder it before playing it or throw money at Kickstarter because now now now now now GIVE IT TO ME NOW. So, what if a store like Radioshack, actually you know stocked things for PC gamers that they could get now?
Right now if I want new RAM? The Internet. New keyboard? I can get a limited (VERY LIMITED like one) selection of gaming keyboards at Walmart, otherwise, the Internet. New gaming mouse? The hex or naga might be in the big box store, but for selection? INTERNET. Oh and buying a PC game? INTERNETTTT.
GameStop doesn't even carry anything other than the latest titles, often hidden behind the back counter. The ones here in Georgia, in the malls, don't even have the token Blizzard shelf with the WoW pack on it and D3. Nah, mention the PC and all you get is that awkward never ending conversation about console vs. PC and which one is better (hint: like most things in life, the one that you think is better is).
I think it would have been neat to see Razer, Steelseries, Alienware, Origin, Coolermaster, etc. Imagine if you could type across the various mechanical keyboards, hold the various Razer mice in your hand, and what if you could for real live see how an Alienware REALLY played? What if, like in the 1980s/1990s they had setup actual for real demo of some hardcore gaming rigs?
You know what that would have provided? A: Access to high-end gaming peripherals to gamers who aren't into PC building and have no clue about any of the parts. B: Physical outlets to test various products that you can't test online. C: A reason to go to RadioShack for everyone who would have a reason.
I personally feel that selling mobile phones to people walking in off the street to buy a coaxial cable because Target doesn't sell those isn't a winning strategy, but targeting say the Maker community and PC gaming community, the people who grew up with the brand, would have been really cool.
Maybe it wouldn't be, I'm not some super industry analyst of retail space, but I'm a gamer and I know that I'd pay $10 or $20 more for a mouse TODAY than to pay for it tomorrow, considering that I spend that much on overnight when a mouse goes down because I need it then. There is a game going on tonight, I need the parts tonight, and I'd pay a premium to get them and no one sells anything PC related.
I mean think about if they sold indie games? I don't think anyone gets the fact that everyone I know that isn't a super video gamer person pretty much buys everything at a big box store and thinks eBay is the same as a 1390s market ran by the local warlord. Serious!
This is of course assuming that brick and mortar stores can continue to stay open past drone same day delivery or compete with say day delivery to lockers and that I'm not overlooking the elephant in the room being that no one wants to buy stuff IRL anymore or the fact that if PC gaming peripherals were viable, someone would be doing it by now. Then again, stores like this could get ahead of the curve and offer a big selection in a small outlet, just order online and pickup that same day, no hassle. Most stores that offer that only do so for products on the showfloor with "free up to a week or more" shipping if you choose direct to store.
Oh, quick proof of concept, tech focused stores show high promises [abc news] for the retail brand. I wonder again, if focusing on PC tech plays a role?
Anyway, not a business professional here, these opinions are my own, but what do you think? Would you pay $10 more for a mouse if you could have it THAT day and demo it in the store? Would it be easier to buy a video card if they had a demo station running Crysis?
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Outward Game Page.