APPLETON, Wis.— A spring stunted by Safer at Home has turned into a pretty good year for Press Start Games in Appleton.
That’s despite more than two months of abnormal business — including six weeks where the used video game store was closed.
“In fact, we were much busier during the summer than we were even last holiday season,” said owner Zac VanGompel. “We were able to recover the losses we sustained while closed for six weeks and then doing curbside for another three. We’ve had a great year.”
That’s the case with much of the video game industry.
A quarterly report released this week by The NPD Group — says consumers spent 11.2 billion dollars on video games from July through September. That’s up 24 percent from the same time last year.
That good fortune extends to the used market and VanGompel.
“Video games, for a lot of people, are an escape. Especially at a time when everything is uncertain and people want to have a sense of normalcy,” he said. “Video games … can take you somewhere that isn’t full disease and fear and masks.”
It’s an exciting time for gamers with the releases of the latest iterations of the Xbox and PlayStation this week. Both are high-demand items that some buyers are having a hard time finding.
“We’ve had close to 100 phone calls from people asking if we sell it all the way from as far south as Milwaukee,” VanGompel said. “People are looking all over the state for them.”
Both he and The NPD Group expect the video game market to remain strong through at least early 2021.