But the next twist in this unfortunate tale – like all great gunslingers, set to a backdrop of tense economic decline – was unprecedented.
Argos, that obstinate burlesque tease of ‘one week only’ offers, reached breaking point. Less than seven days after a major publisher was pilloried for trying to eke more money out of consumers, a retailer had done the same.
All of a sudden, just like the publishing community in last week’s issue, the High Street looks stressed, vulnerable – and not a little desperate.
Even companies that aren’t hugely hurt by the effect of exchange rates on trading – stand up GAME, HMV and the rest – face a dip in consumer spending and super-tight margins.
Argos’ shock decision was symptomatic. All games retailers, it seems, now have less leeway to slash prices.
So what could be the outcome of this new wariness at retail? Doom and gloom? Erm…
Fewer price battles between warring retailers. Fewer new games being sold at silly prices. Fewer High Street stalwarts going the way of Woolworths and Zavvi this Q4.
Overall, ‘fewer’ incidents of both sides grimacing at MCV’s letters page from now until next year.
Okay. So it’s tough out there – for Christ sakes, it took a recession to get us to this point. But could this turn out to be the perfect platform for a new dawn in retail/publisher understanding? Possibly.
Until someone mentions, pre-owned, of course.