GAME over? UK retailer going up for sale

UK retailer GAME has had quite an eventful few months, but it would appear that things may be coming to an end, as a report from Bloomberg indicates that the retailer is on the market for £15 million.

GAME hasn't been able to stock high-profile titles during recent launches due to publishers losing faith in the company's ability to shift products and meet its payment obligations. GAME was unable to acquire stock for the releases of Street Fighter X Tekken, Asura's Wrath, Ubisoft's Vita launch titles and Mass Effect 3, the last of which alone lost Game an estimated £2 million ($3.2 million). Game's market value sits at roughly £15 million ($23 million), so by those statistics, Mass Effect 3, generated a loss of one-seventh of Game's entire worth.

It is unknown whether the sale means the rights for Gamestation (which GAME owns) are being sold because if so, surely renaming GAME to Gamestation would be a better move as people seem to prefer the branding and layout of the Gamestation outlets. 

What do you think of the situation? We’d like to hear how you’d change the company if you had £15 million to acquire it - have your say in the comments below.

 
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the loss of PC gaming would probably of hit them the most it killed so many shops off then there was the internet if we keep going down the line of buying everything on the internet there will be no such thing as retail. If i had the money i would not buy too risky

My wife worked in Game until the end of November last year, and she's not surpised.
I only feel sorry for the friends that I have made in her store that will get made redundant if the store closes. I don't care about Game as a company, they were essentially a sales company, pushing insurance (yep, GAME Care), bundles and deals on all unsuspecting customers that walked through the door.
I went into another branch to get a Pink DSi when they were first released, the manager refused to sell it to me unless I bought a bundle at nearly double the cost. He's was a knob then, and I know that he's still a knob now.

I only go into game to speak to my mate who is the assistant manager in there, he knows i will never buy anything but when my 360 broke down (overheating issue too lazt to fix) he told me his mate had just part-xd his which was a jasper and hardly used so i snapped it up!

I have never understood there pricing either how can it be cheaper to have the game delivered than downloading or going in to the shop? When i asked it they could match the price when i went into town they said "No, you might as well just order it, its free delivery." when i enquired about why they couldnt do this and why it was alot cheaper they could not explain. As said though alot of places are cheaper than them, and with people getting faster internet and with services like steam and origin people just cba to go into town when they cold download it in no time.

brent3000 said,
And so the end of real stores starts to take effect...

STEAM FTW!!!

That's good if you have the wallet to pay for overpriced games.

Lets face it, they are over priced for most games. Tesco has the same games cheaper. And you dont have to make a special trip into town just to buy a game. You just buy it with your shopping.

If I bought GAME, I'd diversify. Change from being a small-time game shop to being a full-on gamer-centric company:

- First and foremost: Set up a proper digital distribution platform to compete with Steam, including "buy it in-store and have a digital copy for free if you lose the disc" like Steam does with Valve games and Origin with EA games.
- A "leg-up" programme for indie game developers. Give them discount publishing and a small rack of shelf space solely for indie games. Set up a machine so that you can plug a USB stick, buy an indie game off the machine, and download it onto the USB stick to take it home. (I have been saying something like that for "MP3 machines" in HMV for years).
- Work with publishers for better exclusive collectors editions.
- Organise LAN tournaments and that kind of thing in the biggest stores.
- Have a "back room" with a massive area for LAN parties. Let people book into it to organize their own tournaments.
- Arcade machines in the bigger stores.

I find it completely ridiculous that computer games are more popular now than ever, and yet somehow Game is running out of cash. Its insane!


- First and foremost: Set up a proper digital distribution platform to compete with Steam, including "buy it in-store and have a digital copy for free if you lose the disc" like Steam does with Valve games and Origin with EA games.

The problem with this is Valve and EA are both publishers. They own the rights to the games they provide digital copies for. It takes a lot of hardwork and sometimes costly efforts (see EA vs steam battle) to have games join steam.
Game would just become another of the small time 'yet another digital content provider' and will try to bundle a DRM infestation of a launcher for the content as required by the publishers of said games.

Also, they do offer some digital downloads on their website, but seeing as the website is like a seperate part of the company, that might still continue anyway with the brick and mortor stores being sold off.


- A "leg-up" programme for indie game developers. Give them discount publishing and a small rack of shelf space solely for indie games. Set up a machine so that you can plug a USB stick, buy an indie game off the machine, and download it onto the USB stick to take it home. (I have been saying something like that for "MP3 machines" in HMV for years).

A indie company wouldn't be a indie company if it was published. The idea of an independant developer studio is that they are self publishing and independant.


- Work with publishers for better exclusive collectors editions.

NO. Please god no. We already have published removing far too much from games and making content 'exclusive'. We're not getting any exclusive collectors editions and haven't done for a few years. Infact, the last few years these types of editions have been content that should have been provided with the game.


- Organise LAN tournaments and that kind of thing in the biggest stores.

Due to DRM, and the publishers demands LAN gaming is very hard these days as the games usually an internet connection for multipleyer games and must go via their services to allow play. There are so few games that can be played on a LAN for the PC now its almost not worth even trying. And then they'd have to cope with people using the network for a meeting ground for pirating content, ensuring its virus free, health and safty and insurance costs add on top of that. Red tape everywhere.


- Have a "back room" with a massive area for LAN parties. Let people book into it to organize their own tournaments.

I'd personally love this, I used to goto shop that was just setup for LAN gaming. They had decent machines running the latest games. It was great at the time, but again as above.


- Arcade machines in the bigger stores.

Not going to happen unfortnatly, the coin op industry is mostly run by the brokers. They pay a very high premium. Gamers over the legal age can go into most entertainment arcades and find arcade machines to play on.


Although it feels like I've shot you down, I think your activing thinking is great and GAME need more people like you to actually make an effort and provide the gamers and customers a reason to want to visit the shop and use it. Right now game are in the hole they're in because they've been too busy ripping the customers AND the publishers off.

GAME has been a joke for as long as I can remember. Ridiculous prices, clueless staff and poor selection. When I was about 11 I started using a local independent company called Charlies Games. They ended up with 5 stores in and around Newcastle, and subsequently their prices rocketed. They opened more stores specialising in like one or two consoles per store, it seemed like an awful business decision to an 11/12 year old. Now it just seems plain ridiculous!

However, when that company started to really expand a little-known market stall opened in the Grainger Market in Newcastle City Centre known as Grainger Games. I remember first hearing about them on the radio advertising Metal Gear Solid for £30 on release day and I was all over that. Now, they're doing coke, crashing award ceremonies and pushing their prices higher and higher.

I went past a Grainger Games today and they're seemingly specializing in iPods/iPads/Smartphones and what not, now. Is this the start of them trying to take on CEX's marketshare of second-hand-tech.?

I never liked GameStation, even before GAME bought them out. I only ever used it for a little while when I bought a PS2 about 4 years ago and would pop in from time to time and look for some classics in their 4 for 20/3 for 20/whatever.

I might pop in to town on Wednesday and see if there's anything but bones left to pick from GAME. I remember when MusicZone went into administration, it was the day before I got paid, managed to pick-up BoomTown box-set for £5, went back the next day and that was it. Just a sign on their door explaining that administration was in full-effect and to contact such-and-such regarding refunds.

TogaForComfort said,
I guess this is what you get for paying kids a tiny amount for pre-owned games then selling them on at almost the same as a new game!

There's a lot of competition for that these days. Even my ASDA has had game trades in for quite large prices and you can get good deals for whole shops dedicated to game trades/2nd hand selling.

There is a huge market for iphones/android games which those stores haven't adapted to at all. I think that is their biggest mistake.

imachip said,

There's a lot of competition for that these days. Even my ASDA has had game trades in for quite large prices and you can get good deals for whole shops dedicated to game trades/2nd hand selling.

There is a huge market for iphones/android games which those stores haven't adapted to at all. I think that is their biggest mistake.

All companies wan't to make a profit, but it's doing it at the expense of the games companies who don't see a single penny from a used game sale, and that's one less person who'll buy that game new. The only way to stop that is to eliminate the used game trade entirely, something all the games companies would very much like to do. If the rumours of a new electronic storage medium (think SD Card type scenario) for the Xbox 720 are true, the companies might actually have a valid way to prevent re-sale by actually writing your console ID and Live ID to that SD card so it can't be played on another console unless you log onto that console with your GameTag (at a friends house for example)

TCLN Ryster said,

All companies wan't to make a profit, but it's doing it at the expense of the games companies who don't see a single penny from a used game sale, and that's one less person who'll buy that game new. The only way to stop that is to eliminate the used game trade entirely, something all the games companies would very much like to do. If the rumours of a new electronic storage medium (think SD Card type scenario) for the Xbox 720 are true, the companies might actually have a valid way to prevent re-sale by actually writing your console ID and Live ID to that SD card so it can't be played on another console unless you log onto that console with your GameTag (at a friends house for example)


*IF* that happens I will be buying even less games than I am just now. I've bought maybe 3 full priced games in the last few years. Most of the games I buy are second hand.

Was in GAME earlier for their "we're not closing down, honest" sale, picked up Darksiders (£4.99) and Wolfenstein (£4.99).

Aergan said,
Was in GAME earlier for their "we're not closing down, honest" sale, picked up Darksiders (£4.99) and Wolfenstein (£4.99).

I might have to buy Darksiders.

I have no sympathy for them at all really. This is what happens when you fail to adapt to the market, and it's the reason Woolworth's for example went under.

All it would have taken was for them to have a reserve and collect website feature and have the same prices right across the board and they'de have kept business going. As it stands people only tend to use it to sell their games - only for Game to resell those on for a price you could easily buy it for new online. Hell, I saw a used copy of Fifa '08 or '09 there a few months back for £29.99!

thealexweb said,
Someone should have told them your not actually supposed to use the RRP when setting your prices.

Indeed. Perhaps somebody should also tell the likes of Steam and Origin (EA) ;-) A game on Steam or Origin should not be selling for £10+ more on their digital platform than the big e-tailers sell it for. It's pure rip-off-ery. Anybody with half a brain can see that a digital platform with no warehouses, few staff and no packaging should actually cost LESS than a physical copy from amazon or play.com. But the mindless drones keep accepting it and buy the overpriced digital only copies anyway.

Take Batman Arkham City for example. Still £39.99 on Steam. £20.97 at Amazon.co.uk and a couple of pounds more at Play.com. That's almost double the price, which is ridiculous!!. Stop accepting it people... digital distribution should cost LESS not more.

</end of slightly off topic rant>

Back on topic, good riddance Game. You're an overpriced money whore, who actively screws publishers by trying to push used copies of games onto customers at the checkout when they hand over a new copy, and you take money for pre-orders way way before the game ever ships. Other companies do this too and it's wrong, you should take money when it ships and not before. Your anti-publisher and anti-consumer practises are now coming back to bite you in the ass, and you deserve it.

Edited by Ryster, Mar 13 2012, 12:53am :

TCLN Ryster said,

Indeed. Perhaps somebody should also tell the likes of Steam and Origin (EA) ;-) A game on Steam or Origin should not be selling for £10+ more on their digital platform than the big e-tailers sell it for. It's pure rip-off-ery. Anybody with half a brain can see that a digital platform with no warehouses, few staff and no packaging should actually cost LESS than a physical copy from amazon or play.com. But the mindless drones keep accepting it and buy the overpriced digital only copies anyway.

Take Batman Arkham City for example. Still £39.99 on Steam. £20.97 at Amazon.co.uk and a couple of pounds more at Play.com. That's almost double the price, which is ridiculous!!. Stop accepting it people... digital distribution should cost LESS not more.

I couldn't agree more - I wouldn't be surprised if computer games eventually became a rich persons luxury.

its funny you mention the branding thing, as I personally hated it the when the went from Electronics boutique, to Game. the Game branding was lame in my opinion, and agree re gamestation. i.e. i'd prefer to shop there, even though its one in the same.

Good, im glad they are going under, after working there a long time ago for a year it was one of the worst job's ive ever had, treated the staff poorly, pay was crap and the place itself was so oddly put together, the awful music they played the awful decor, Gamestation is what a game shop should be like and it would be better for them if they changed to Game station as that brand has a lot more going for it, it's far less corporate than game and thats how it should be

Fubar said,
Good, im glad they are going under, after working there a long time ago for a year it was one of the worst job's ive ever had, treated the staff poorly, pay was crap and the place itself was so oddly put together, the awful music they played the awful decor, Gamestation is what a game shop should be like and it would be better for them if they changed to Game station as that brand has a lot more going for it, it's far less corporate than game and thats how it should be

A jobs a job. Bad as it may be I hope they get bought out and not another hole left in the shopping mall. I'm sure you stayed there for a year with reason, not because it was your career choice but needed the money.

imachip said,

A jobs a job. Bad as it may be I hope they get bought out and not another hole left in the shopping mall. I'm sure you stayed there for a year with reason, not because it was your career choice but needed the money.

yes indeed a job is a job and i stayed there for a year working for the crappy place, still doesnt change the fact they treat their staff poorly and pay like crap

Fubar said,

yes indeed a job is a job and i stayed there for a year working for the crappy place, still doesnt change the fact they treat their staff poorly and pay like crap

How long is "a long time ago" ? Lots of places are paying poorly because of the recession...

Hardcore Til I Die said,

How long is "a long time ago" ? Lots of places are paying poorly because of the recession...

about 6 years ago....

Hardcore Til I Die said,

How long is "a long time ago" ? Lots of places are paying poorly because of the recession...


Fubar said,

about 24 years ago....

There you have it.

DiamondFootprint said,
What a damn shame /Sarcasm.

They're not helping themselfs.
I called in there last week to get a handful of games, they had a nice buy 2 get the 3rd free.
I called in again today to see if they had any offers on thinking they'd want to recoup a bit of cash to stop them closing...

It turns out, they've removed the special offers and but reduce the price on most titles... yet it actually works out more expensive now then before. I can't be the only one here that's thinking they're killing themselfs by ripping not only the customers that are keeping them afloat, but also the developers. Good riddens if thats the type of company they want to be.