OPINION: GAME lives to fight another day

Michael French
OPINION: GAME lives to fight another day

Without question a challenging road lies ahead of GAME.

But at least for now its staff – whether those at the Basingstoke HQ or at its 600 stores across the UK – can breathe a sigh of relief.

The uncertainty, at least, is gone for now.

Of course there’s still changes and some pain to come. That international sell-off or divestment, for a start. Plus it is dropping a big chunk of head office staff, and is still maintaining that it will phase out another 50 stores by next year.

Yet all GAME and its partners were asking for lately was stability. Thanks to a new agreement with its lenders they have it.

Plus, there is emphatic support from suppliers. We talk a lot about market value in MCV, but the real value in this business is the relationships which make that market exist in the first place.

It’s bittersweet in some ways: publishers seem to respect a humbled GAME Group moreso than when it was the unshakable market leader holding all the cards.

But at least now it is clear GAME’s journey still has mileage. And not many people were saying that last week.

REALITY CHECK FOR THOSE WANTING GAME’S DEMISE


As for those naysayers – well, GAME’s blip last week was hopefully an education of sorts.

Clearly only a few people understand what kind of catastrophe a GAME, or HMV, collapse would signal.

If they go, they would take more than High Street brands with them.

Why else were some of the trade’s most senior figures up until all hours night after night last week hammering out arrangements to get stock into stores?

Anyone telling you that the grocers and online retailers can cushion the blow of an imploding specialist is talking utter nonsense.

No GAME means no specialist retail in the UK. That means a shrinking market. That means fewer games released. That means less publishing staff. That means reduced media spending to advertise games. That means magazines and websites become financially pressured.

Many in the games industry would feel the sharp pang of GAME dying. 

Here’s hoping we don’t have to learn that lesson the hard way.

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Comments

9 comments

They are only delaying inevitable. I doubt that Game will still be here at the end of 2012.

Jakub Janovsky

Jakub Janovsky ELITE GAMER
Feb 9th 2012 at 12:20PM

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If games where to go we would be one step closer to a digital distribution model, this would not help Indies like myself.

Simon Cunningham

Simon Cunningham INDUSTRY
Feb 9th 2012 at 3:10PM

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If GAME goes, the only way for the games industry to survive is for every customer to adapt. Joe Bloggs would probably not buy games if they're not in his high street. But, if there was a way to raise awareness and get the old-fashioned to convert to buying online from places like ShopTo then games could still sell.

I don't see grannies buying their 4 year old grand-daughter Wii games from ShopTo or GameStop though, but that is the mass market dream of online games retail.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy STUDENT
Feb 9th 2012 at 3:19PM

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While I agree there are those who want to see GAME's demise out of pure spite, with all due respect no one owes GAME a living. I think it's a bit much too ask consumers to pay more just to keep this company alive.

GAME's policies and approach toward consumers need to change, not how and where people spend their money.

As an example, and you may not like this, but my local ASDA stocks a wider range of new titles, (of which dates back much further than my local GAME branch), is cheaper across the board and is a five minute walk as opposed to the added cost of going into town to shop at the more expensive GAME.

As for pre-owned? Well, around the corner from GAME there is a CEX who offer both better trade-in values, (by quite some margin), will take retro software/hardware and are cheaper on the whole.

Do I want to see GAME's demise? No, people still like to use them, but I don't think it's quite the horror story you portray.

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown INDUSTRY
Feb 9th 2012 at 6:43PM

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Oh as for 'fewer games being released' should GAME disappear? Utter crap I'm afraid.

Just to iterate my point about ASDA; they stock a wider range of new titles and unlike GAME carry titles more than a couple of months old.

MCV's tales of doom and gloom should GAME disappear are unfounded.

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown INDUSTRY
Feb 9th 2012 at 6:49PM

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Hey Joseph, I see where you're coming from but you're really thinking about where gamers shop. But, the general public only know about games and buy games because of GAME. I know it sounds ridiculous but they aren't aware of the marketplace awaiting them online and in supermarkets, and even in other smaller specialist stores. ASDA etc. Need to advertise their games more and appeal to those that will just buy games for their kids every now and then. Without GAME, those people will stop buying games unless ShopTo/ASDA begin advertising video game deals on kids TV channels and during soap operas/reality tv shows and other mass market television shows.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy STUDENT
Feb 9th 2012 at 7:01PM

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In all fairness, I think the average consumer deserves more credit than you give them.

Why is the high street struggling? Because consumers are a savvy bunch and know they can get prodcucts cheaper else - ie, the supers and online.

I think this whole 'consumers will stop buying games if GAME disappear' really is grasping at straws.

Will people stop buying music & film and will music & film stop being produced if HMV vanish off the high street? No, of course not, these are just the pipe-dreams, (maybe the fervent prayers even?), of a desperate high street and its supporters; in fact places like MCV.

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown INDUSTRY
Feb 9th 2012 at 7:17PM

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At no point did I say that people will still buying games.

And when I say 'less games released' - I mean even less boxed games. I should really say 'less games than ever' because we're already on a downward trend of less games appearing on the market, in boxes at least.

(It's probably, digital market included, the case that there are more games released year on year, but less and less are heading into shops.)

I personally still find spite towards the High Street amongst a certain set in the games industry very curious - it's a deeply integrated part of the eco-system (for want of a better, less hateful phrase), and it vanishing *would* cause serious knock-on effects.

Michael French

Michael French MCV STAFF
Feb 10th 2012 at 10:00AM

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If you meant 'less boxed games' then perhaps that's what you should have posted, Mike.

And since when did having less boxed games become a problem? In truth it isn't.

And lets be honest here; of all the games released last year the most interesting, fresh and original weren't sat in boxes on shelves in shops, they were found on outlets such as Steam, XBLA and PSN.

This industry thrives on creativity, not the greedy pockets of men in suits, something that was brought sharply into focus with the crash in the 80's. Do we want a repeat of that just because a few puffed up suits in a boardroom fear change?

The industry is moving forward, the way people purchase and play their games is moving forward and if a few dinosaurs refuse to accept that then too bad, they'll get left behind.

I'm willing to bet a few big publishers are shitting themselves at the prospect of crowd funding projects like Double Fine Adventure.

No, GAME disappearing won't be the death blow this publication and a handful of interested parties think it will be. I guarantee the moment GAME's 'supporters' don't see a return on their investment they'll cast the retailer adrift and let them sink without a trace...

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown INDUSTRY
Feb 10th 2012 at 12:36PM

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