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.


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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