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GAME announces that it must close 60 stores in the UK by 2013

by Alistair Lowe on 8 March 2012, 09:43

Tags: GAME

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It's a worrying time for the gaming industry when the UK's largest dedicated games retailer, The Game Group PLC, lands on hard times, requiring support from shareholders and lenders simply to avoid bankruptcy; support provided on the condition that the firm closes at least 60 of its stores in the UK by 2013, in an effort to operate its business "within lower limits".

The firm has already taken steps of announcing closure of 35 of its UK stores and has amalgamated the www.gameplay.co.uk website into www.gamestation.co.uk in an effort to reduce overheads and strengthen the brand. Likewise, the firm recently laid-off 46 employees at its Basingstoke central support centre.

These cuts may seem dramatic, however the group consists of 1,275 stores worldwide, having already sold off over 92 stores in the past two years. The firm's decline had recently been accelerated by its lack of capital, leading to issues in obtaining stock for many EA and Nintendo games, with it looking likely that GAME will not be able to obtain enough stock to fulfil all of the firm's pre-orders for the upcoming release of Mass Effect 3.

Does this spell bad news for the gaming industry? Is GAME perhaps a victim of increased growth in the on-line segment? Or has it toppled under its own weight and a tradition of inefficient operations? Let us know what you think.



HEXUS Forums :: 43 Comments

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and so it begins.

For me, it's the refusal to move with the times. They should have launched a “cheaper then the highstreet” digital download service a LONG time ago and sold vouchers in-store. I think they would have kept sales a lot higher then they are currently.

Still, tesco and asda are normally my choices if I do buy a physical box……mainly due to prices and launch-night availability……but I think the last box I bought was Black Ops…..that was over a year ago……since then online prices have gotten too low for me to consider the high-street.
Does this spell bad news for the gaming industry? Is GAME perhaps a victim of increased growth in the on-line segment? Or has it toppled under its own weight and a tradition of inefficient operations?
I suspect that it's a hell-sent combination of supermarkets and Amazon that's largely responsible for GAME's problems. In the past I've seen our local Tescos, Sainsbury's and Asda all doing “the latest thing” cheaper than GAME did. In fact, they also seem to be adept at matching GAME's previous advantage - namely the “exclusive content”.

Then of course there's Amazon - it's just too darned easy to click n' buy. :( The price of the incidentals - e.g. XBL points cards - is usually cheaper in the supermarkets and Amazon - which isn't helpful for GAME I guess. I also can't help wondering if the current persecution of the second hand market by the game publishers (by using one-time-only DLC) isn't also to blame somewhat.

My local GAME store went last year, and the trade pushed to one in the next town. Luckily some of the staff from the closed branch later turned up in our local Gamestation. :D Personally, I hope the group manages to pull through, because I think it'd be a sad day if they went under - I for one would miss the advice and help I've received from my local GAME and now local Gamestation store - “service+” that I definitely wouldn't get from the local supermarkets, HMV or Amazon.
There are three reasons they are in trouble:
1) One or 2 GAME stores plus a Gamestation store in every minor city/town (Salisbury, Southampton and Maidstone to name the ones I know). Why have three when one would have done
2) Online/Supermarket - GAME just ignore the competition - even their online presence is expensive compared to others
3) Ignoring gamers like me who aren't interested in trade ins and just want to pick up some half decent offers.
It's a tough market. Steam, EA and some others got it right. Electronic copy is a way to go. No second hands, no free stuff. Want to play - buy. Unless you have a crawling Internet connection that is.. Don't know much of PS3 and XBox 360 games. Chances are Game was trying to make too much from second hand sales. Pity the staff though. Hopefully they will find “home” somewhere else.
cheesemp
There are three reasons they are in trouble:
1) One or 2 GAME stores plus a Gamestation store in every minor city/town (Salisbury, Southampton and Maidstone to name the ones I know). Why have three when one would have done
2) Online/Supermarket - GAME just ignore the competition - even their online presence is expensive compared to others
3) Ignoring gamers like me who aren't interested in trade ins and just want to pick up some half decent offers.
1) I got told (by someone in GAME) that Gamestation was their “budget” brand - more focussed on pre-owned. Certainly seems to be true to an extent from what I've seen - GAME seem to get the prime locations. That said more than one of each per town seems excessive.
3) That's exactly what I liked about my (now-closed) GAME - because I was a “regular” they'd often suggest a cheaper option, (e.g. a barely used “pre-owned” copy at a tenner less). Good to see that - with the transfer of staff - that the local Gamestation is continuing that tradition. ;)