Indie chain Game Player has closed its doors, and MD Gary Noakes says that the days of specialist retailers are all but over.
Pre-owned specialist Game Player decided to only stock used games following tighter and tighter margins on new releases. However, with increased pressure from the banks and growing second-hand competition from supermarkets, Noakes has decided to cease trading.
The state of the industry, combined with the recession, and finally the taxman, the landlord and the bank, pushed me into a situation where the business had no cash flow and would have become insolvent,” said Noakes.
The constant lack of support for independent retailers has meant many have moved away from new games and into pre-owned, but now even that is under threat from the likes of Argos, Tesco, Asda, HMV – just about everyone.
That, combined with high trade prices – where I can now buy stock cheaper from Asda than suppliers – means the business model is no longer viable.
The day of the specialist retailer is all but gone. The market is shrinking, and although Call of Duty will boost it this quarter, come 2011 we will be in a far worse position.”
Noakes also blasted publishers for attacking pre-owned, insisting they only have themselves to blame for the rising popularity of used games.
It annoys the hell out of me when publishers criticise pre-owned, because they are causing the growth in that market,” he said. It is a direct result of there being no margin on brand new video games.”
Game Player had four stores and a website.
Last week a number of distributors told MCV it is ‘fair’ for indies to buy stock from supermarkets.