The Death of Tech Stores

Today I went downtown to check out some hardware / software. There are 3 big technology store chains downtown (Saturn, Media Markt, ProMarkt). I used to enjoy simply browsing through their stuff. Recently, I realized that they grow more and more redundant up to the point where I don’t see a reason to go there anymore.

I was interested in good deals on a TV Displays for CGL. I also wanted to see a 27″ Dell display in action. I accomplished neither. None of the stores had any kind of 27″ computer display. As for the TVs – yes there were many. But every time I typed a “special deal” model name in my iPhone, I found them considerably cheaper on-line. And I wasn’t even looking! They were even cheaper right there on Amazon!

It’s getting even worse with games. I still check out the shelves, going through the motions. But in the end, it’s completely irrational. I will hardly ever purchase any of the games. They are more expensive than on-line. They are often cut due to German regulations. But the worst is that most of them are translated into German. I recently popped in Mass Effect 2 to see how it looks. It is completely re-dubbed in German language and you can’t switch. Both delivery and translation are unbearable. Even the audio quality is bad with volume being poorly adjusted to sound effects. I was struggling to get trough the tutorial.

When I was in San Francisco I was surprised how there were no large tech stores downtown anymore. But I figure it is a logical evolution of the market.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “The Death of Tech Stores”

  1. GhostLyrics

    I also realized that visiting Media Markt is completetly redundant as I don’t feel any need to buy games localized to German anymore. Usually I get angry about the quality of the localization or just think that the original voice-overs just sound well… not “better” but definitely “more correct”. All that stuff with lip-sync and so on just fits better.
    The question is: How long will we even need those anymore? In the small town in Austria where I used to live there originally were a lot of shops that used to sell games. Nowadays it’s exactly one small store, one big Austrian chain and during the last few years a Media Markt popped up here too.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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