7-Eleven Rocks Gamers

DALLAS -- After offering video game titles and prepaid gaming cards on a small scale for the past several years, 7-Eleven Inc. will blast into video game retailing with a line-up of seven of the top video game titles and a comprehensive selection of prepaid gift cards for Massively Multi-player Online Games (MMOG).

The core video game players are also the core customers of 7-Eleven—males between the ages of 18 and 34. In the past, the convenience chain has targeted this group with Slurpee beverage promotions with top-selling game franchises like Microsoft’s Halo and EA Sport’s Madden.

"Video games aren’t just for kids anymore, and they’re not just sold at big box and game stores either," Michael Jester, 7-Eleven category manager for gaming and electronics, said in a statement. "We can compete with the major players and offer consumers a more convenient place to purchase games and accessories. They can pay a deposit and reserve their copies ahead of time and pick them up starting midnight on the release date at locations closer to their homes."

7-Eleven will stock seven "AAA" games—known in the gaming industry as those titles that are the top-selling, most anticipated and appeal to serious and casual gamers alike—with suggested retail prices of $59.99 for Xbox 360 and PS3 games; $49.99 for Nintendo Wii games; and $39.99 for PS2 titles, according to the company.

The games are: Guitar Hero: World Tour-Band Kit (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii); Fallout 3 (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3, personal computer); World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (MMOG on PC only); 007: Quantum of Solace (Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2); Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360); WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and PS 2); and Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360, PS3).

"This is not just a holiday promotion for us, but a brand new product line-up that will be available year-round," Jester said. "We may not be a total entertainment destination yet, but we’re hoping to expand our selection beyond the high-dollar, hot-selling games to include options for all budgets, such as value-priced video games as well as DVD movies. For consumers wanting convenient one-stop shopping for at-home entertainment along with groceries and gas or who just want to avoid big-store shopping inconveniences, their local 7-Eleven store is open and ready."

In addition, 7-Eleven will continue to stock a broad selection of online game gift cards to make virtual purchases in MMOG or pay for monthly subscriptions, the company stated. These online games feature virtual worlds and enable players from around the world to communicate, cooperate and compete together.

"MMOG got their start in Asia, but have gained a worldwide audience of millions," Brian Haynes, 7-Eleven category manager for services, said in a statement. "In November of 2007, 7-Eleven was the first convenience retailer in the U.S. to introduce the Nexon gift card, its first foray into the world of MMOG."

The number of prepaid game cards available at participating 7-Eleven stores has expanded to approximately 20 different cards in varying denominations this year, and the retailer will place a major focus on the growing segment next year, the company stated. The 7-Eleven prepaid game card selection includes Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live, as well as the games Nexon, Habbo, Gaia, Guild Wars, gPotato, Runescape, Aeria, City of Heroes, Exteel, ijji, IMVU, Neopets and Sims2. In addition, 7-Eleven and Slurpee appear in some games where players can receive a free Slurpee Machine to place in their virtual room, according to the company.

"We think video games will be a great year-round seller for us," Jester said. "Whenever a big-name game is released, it creates instant demand, and we plan on being there to meet it."
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