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OPINION: Tables turn at HMV as games suppliers fear retreat

Michael French
OPINION: Tables turn at HMV as games suppliers fear retreat

The words look the same, but they are in a different order.

Last year, we wrote about HMV meeting publishing top brass to beg them for support at a time when HMV’s relevance (and its bank balance) was in question.

Now, games execs are having to remind HMV and its new owner Hilco why they shouldn’t cut them out of the chain’s range.

This long and painful process to save these retailers that represent so much but currently sell so little has been mired in mixed emotions for games.

It was Bad News when the big chains imploded, but cruelly also Good News in a credit insurance sense: with the protection of administrators, new stock was safer than it had been for some time.

Similarly, HMV being ‘saved’ by Hilco, with jobs in place and many stores still left open, is top-line Good News.

But with a brighter future ahead, the Bad News is that HMV’s scrupulous owners want loyalty – and previous reluctance by the UK games industry might come back to haunt it.

"Bad News is that HMV’s scrupulous owners
want loyalty – and previous reluctance by the
UK games industry might come
back to haunt it."


When Hilco stepped in last week, it said HMV would double down on music and video. That was likely not designed to suggest majorly diminished games activity, but instead pay lip service to HMV’s friends.

Remember, when HMV was effectively begging for support to ease credit woes, the music and movie firms went all-in. There, supplier heads co-signed letters to The Times to pledge support.

Games only went so far, however.

And while that’s likely due to less bargaining power, less interest in boxed or less flexibility, HMV may still have to play favourites.

HMV won’t stop selling games.

But do you remember when the firm was so resolutely declaring itself as a games specialist off the back of the Wii boom just a few years ago? There’s a good chance the firm won’t be making claims like that again.

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Tags: Retail , Opinion , HMV , video games , support

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