Seemingly unfazed by the retail slump, Challenger Technologies has opened its new flagship store at Bugis Junction Basement 1, the former stomping grounds of Virtualand Bugis. While the area may no longer be home to the cacophonous ambiance of an arcade, the spirit of gaming still lives on, if only in a more subdued retail setting.
The 14,000 square feet space is neatly divided into 15 concept zones, all of which have been based on data analytics from Hachi.tech, Challenger’s online shopping portal. What they’ve discovered from this e-commerce stint is that shoppers were more likely to make a purchase when browsing products organized by lifestyle concepts rather than categories or brands, and the store is a reflection of those findings.
Don’t expect IKEA-levels of zoning, however, as the store still follows Challenger’s distinct approach to interior design. If anything, it’s an update to the format we had at their former flagship in Funan.
The 15 concept zones are: Print Domain, Biz Solutions, Intelligent Living (i.e. smart devices), Type & Click, Fitness Station, Storage Terminal, Software Boutique, Game On, PC Go, Musica, PLG (Priced Low 2 Go), Accessories Showroom, Action Cameras/Drones, Power Charging, and Home & Living (yes, home appliances).
No prizes for guessing what hogged our attention, though the rack-mounts over at Biz Solutions did hold our gaze for a bit.
If it’s “the latest consoles and gaming accessories” you’re after then Challenger has you covered. Standing within arms reach of one another are stations and displays for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and a selection of gaming laptops from various manufacturers. Deeper inside lie the peripherals, including the colorful light show that is Razerzone.
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as one-stop as it seems. Headsets have been grouped with the headphones in a separate area, whereas mice are on a display rack elsewhere. We can see why they handled it the way they did – one obvious reason being space constraints – though the experience does pale when compared to places such as Logitech’s gaming concept store in Marina Square. That being said, what you do get at Challenger is variety, with Bugis being a highly accessible central location.
We would love to see the zone carrying Nintendo products in the future, turning Game On into a more comprehensive space over its competitors.
Desktop-based virtual reality is still too expensive to carry ready stock so in comes Samsung to the rescue. Hot on the heels of the Galaxy S8 launch is the updated Gear VR system, sporting a new control system. With VR being the experiential system that it is, we encourage you to try the headset for yourself. The Galaxy Plus VRcade is located right by the entrance, with two large game booths screaming for attention.
And since you’re in that section of the store, you may as well pay a visit to the neighboring counters carrying DJI and Parrot drones. It’s the first of its kind in Singapore and Challenger are pretty proud about it; besides, consumer drones are fun.
What’s a store opening without discounts? For this Labor Day weekend on 29 and 30 April, Challenger has prepared a series of promotions exclusively for their 500,000 and counting ValueClub members. If you’re already a member then chances are you’ve seen the email newsletter; if not, head over to the Challenger website for a preview of those deals.
The Game On Everywhere promotion is still on-going.