It's "Game on" at Target as the retailing giant has opened a new concept store called "The Game Room", which is located in San Francisco on the site of its Target Open House location. Previously targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) and set up as a display room for connected home gadgets, the space is now geared toward the the apparently extremely bright future of digital gaming. The Game Room is all about the future of gaming, from phones hooked up to Google's cloud gaming service Stadia to a corner that explains Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass to multiple VR/AR areas. You can buy some, but not all, of the items on display, but the key here is to let customers experience all that gaming encompasses today.
As Target explains, the purpose of The Game Room is to do more than just introduce consumers to cool, new gadgets -- it wants to immerse customers in them. "We aren't just showing you tomorrow's gaming. We hand you a controller and invite you to take it for a spin," the company says on its website.
Customers can access Google's Stadia or Apple Arcade via smartphones and tablets on display while exploring other virtual and augmented reality possibilities. There are areas to play the latest online games as well as to participate in tournaments. What Target is hoping is that the store will help them understand not only what gamers want to play, but how they interact with the technology, information they can transfer to their traditional retail store formats.
The IoT displays in the Target Open House location began as a way to introduce customers to what, when it first opened five years ago, was still a new concept, but the smart speakers and other connected devices eventually made their way onto Target store shelves as consumers gained a better understanding of the smart home concept.
With an estimated $61 billion spent on digital gaming downloads, there's a good chance what consumers see in The Game Room will also eventually be found in one of Target's large format locations.
Gamers spent some $61 billion on digital downloads for PCs and game consoles globally in 2019, according to Newzoo estimates, but only $16.1 billion on physical games. Furthermore, 46% of the global gaming revenue in 2019 was for mobile games. As a brick-and-mortar retailer, Target sees next to none of that money, thus the opening of this gaming concept store.