Earlier this year I was visiting my parents in England and popped into a ‘Game’ shop to see if I could get a few cheap games to take back to Jersey with me – they do some pretty good deals on PC and DS games.
While I was looking around a shop assistant asked me if I needed any help, this then turned to a conversation which eventually ended up in my telling him I live in Jersey – at which point, for some reason he asked me why I was buying games here if I lived in Jersey.
The point of his question was that “you’ve got Play in Jersey, thats about as cheap as it gets”, assuming that we have Play shops around the island (we don’t).
I used to work on the same industrial estate that Play.com was based, in fact I passed it every morning while walking to work and I’d order products from Play.com that would then get sent around the houses before eventually arriving on my desk – I couldn’t just pop in and pick it up.
There are a number of companies based in Jersey a bit like play – that make the most of the islands low tax status and the fact that its outside the EU (if you buy a product from outside the EU you don’t pay VAT when importing it if its under £18).
But these are all Play Lites – much smaller versions of the big one that really started it all and Play really is something a bit different. Of all the services Play is the one most likely to survive if the £18 loophole where to be closed and the most likely to stay opperating in the island.
Well now Play.com seems to be growing pretty quickly, according the The Times the company is forecasting a turnover of £340 by the end of 12 months on 31 January and saw a growth of 24% over the Christmas period on the same time last year.
This all while the high street is suffering pretty big slumps and forecasting losses for the year ahead.
In fact Play are growing and this is the one that is inspiring me the most.
Like Amazon and HMV before them they’re going to have a pop at iTunes by launching their own music download service called PlayDigital sometime in the next year.
The reason I think PlayDigital will do well compared the comparitive failure of the other two is that Play.com enjoys a bit of a cult status, something Amazon and HMV don’t – people see those two as places to buy stuff whereas Play is more part of the ‘culture’ that will cause people to talk about it.