With teenagers up and down the country frantically reminding their parents how good they’ve been this year, this today’s launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, and the release of Sony’s PlayStation 4 in a week’s time, provide a golden opportunity for UK supermarkets.

The death of Blockbuster, alongside store closures at struggling high-street retailers such as HMV and Game, have made the supermarkets the unlikely destination of choice for gamers over recent years.

Xbox One console

The Xbox One launches today, one week before the PlayStation 4

This has largely been driven by price, with the average cost of a game in a supermarket totalling £25.50 in 2012, compared with £27.82 at a specialist retailer [Entertainment Retailers Association]. Supermarkets have also managed to offer intelligent cross-promotions, with deals such as Sainsbury’s recent offer of FIFA 14 for £30 if shoppers purchased groceries totalling the same amount, now commonplace.

Enormous sales of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V helped Tesco’s share of the entertainment (music, video and games) market rocket to 17.1% for the 12 weeks to 30 September (an increase of 5.2 percentage points from the same period in 2012). While it is perhaps difficult to imagine Philip Clarke free-wheeling around Los Santos on an Xbox gamepad, Tesco’s growth in gaming is such that it has even changed its signage at 10 stores ahead of the launch of the Xbox One – and it’s opening at midnight tonight to cope with demand.

Last year, 2,542 UK supermarkets sold video games, up from 2,402 in 2011, while 262 game specialists dropped out of UK retail altogether, leaving just 614 behind [ERA]. If the big four can continue to keep the prices low and the promotions innovative, it’s hard to imagine this dominance ending any time soon.

Revenge of the plumber?

While experts left, right and centre are predicting record sales for the £430 Xbox One and £349 PlayStation 4 this winter, Nintendo’s Wii U could prove to be the unlikely champ.

Having been out for over a year, you can now pick up Nintendo’s latest console for just £200, and with the upcoming release of the excellent Super Mario World 3D, the portly Italian plumber could help the Wii U to appeal more to cash-strapped gamers this Christmas.