Geekay Games reveals expansion plans
Kishan Palija, MD of Geekay Games talks to us about his rapid retail expansion plans and his new e-store.
Geekay Games, the largest dedicated games retailer in the UAE has been on a roll of late. They’ve recently launched a store at Mirdif City Centre in Dubai and are in the process of opening a new store at Muscat City Centre in Oman. Kishan Palija, the 25-year-old owner of Geekay Games is filled with enthusiasm as he talks to us about his company and he has good reason to – with nearly 15 stores spanning the UAE, Oman and Bahrain, Geekay games has firmly established it’s presence in the region. We talk to him about his rapid expansion plans and his ambitions to take the retail business online.
MEGamers.com: Tell us how Geekay Games got started.
Kishan Palija: The business was started by my late father in 1990 with our first shop in Al Ghurair where we sold Atari consoles. It was clear to us early on that there was potential in the gaming market. By 1996, we had our first store at Deira City Centre where we sold toys and video games. Once the government started enforcing stricter piracy laws, we started focusing more on video games than toys. Now, we have ten stores in the UAE, one in Oman and two in Bahrain.
MEGamers.com: Are you a gamer yourself?
Kishan Palija: I’m a games enthusiast and have every console. I actually play most of the games that we sell at our stores. FPS and Sports games are my personal favorite but when I’m with my family, we play the Wii.
MEGamers.com: What’s next on your expansion plans?
Kishan Palija: We’re opening another store at Muscat City Centre in July. Next year, we want to expand to Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We’re also planning on opening an online store.
MEGamers.com: What hurdles do you face when expanding to different countries?
Kishan Palija: The main concern is piracy. The UAE has strict piracy laws but other countries like Oman and Bahrain, there’s an open piracy market. You could walk into a supermarket and buy a pirated game. This makes it a bigger challenge to sell games as we have to explain to the customer that we’re selling original products and hence it comes with a higher cost.
MEGamers.com: Thankfully, there’s no piracy on the PS3.
Kishan Palija: Yes, that’s a huge advantage for the PS3. Even though more Xbox 360 consoles are sold than PlayStation 3 units, we sell more PS3 games than we do Xbox 360 games.
MEGamers.com: Has the recession had a major impact on your business? Has 2010 been better than 2009.
Kishan Palija: With local gamers, there has not been any change in buying patterns. However, the expat population in Dubai has decreased and we’ve had a drop in sales to expats. The number of tourists buying games from this region has dipped as well.
As for 2010, yes, it certainly has been a better year than 2009. However, 2008 sales were phenomenal and we’re not yet back to that mark.