Dateline 13th March 2012


With the fragile future of GAME hanging in the balance, it seemed only appropriate to say a few words in passing whilst with each day that goes by we wonder if the retail giant is heading towards it’s own Game Over….


This week could spell the end for GAME and Gamestation


Being a gamer it is almost impossible to ignore the continual slide and slow demise of the Game group over the last few months. I have thought long and hard about writing this article, but with news over the weekend that there is likely to be no rescue package and that the company will be left to wither away, I felt it was time to chuck in my two cents and say what I really think about it all.


Sadly the way we now do our shopping has changed so much since the rise of the internet. Online buying and selling has become the norm, which has played a huge part in the demise of Game. All of a sudden, a whole world of competition that was not there back in 1992 is rife in 2012. Consumers simply have more choice, more options and if they so wish they can do all this from the comfort of their armchairs, beds, gardens and even on the move in buses, cars or trains.


Mobile phones and shopping now go hand in hand - it was only a few years ago we were discovering the delights of shopping via computer


There will be some who will not be sad to see Game go. Years of bizarre pricing strategies have seen consumers head elsewhere, something that HMV has also seen. You can now even buy games in your local supermarket and usually at a much cheaper price. Huge amounts of second hand stock held by Game is now being shipped out and sold off really cheaply to raise cash and reduce their liabilities. If this company, which insists on having 2 or 3 shops from the same group mere yards from each other in some places, would only have looked at the costs involved in doing so they may have wondered if they had actually been doing themselves any favours over the years.


It was only 25 years ago your local newsagent would be stocking C64 and Spectrum games, meaning you wouldn’t have far to go to get your gaming fixes. Big names like WHSmith, Woolworths and Boots would be your usual port of call for big supplies of games, and the odd local independent retailer would also be battling for your cash. Up near me I can think of three local independents I used to go to, with one of those still going strongly today. Nowadays your local newsagent is likely to be a Tesco Express. WHSmith and Boots no longer stock games and Woolworths no longer exists.


The innocence of the corner shop from days gone by are no more and we shall never see it's like again - 25 years ago shops like this would be a good source of computer games


Game have not helped themselves by trying to deflect the blame anywhere but at it’s own doorstep. Yes we know competition is beyond fierce and that online trading is the way things are going but, by their reasoning, with no new consoles coming out, consumers don’t want the products on the market. That simply isn’t true. Yes the 360 and Wii are showing their age but we have seen the 3DS, PS Vita, Kinect and Playstation Move all come to market in the last 18 months. There is new tech out there, it is not the consumer’s fault that some of it simply isn’t appealing. Times are tough and we cannot all afford to shell out up to £200 unless it is justified. Consumers are being far shrewder with their cash at the moment, and a high end expensive market like the video games market is always going to suffer, despite a successful second hand sector.


It is extremely unlikely that Game, the company which purchased Electronics Boutique and Gamestation turning their closest rivals into their own brand, will be saved. This will therefore leave us with three basic scenarios : administration bringing a new buyer and owner to take over, the opportunity for a new retailer to rise from the ashes or simply that buying games will become an online and supermarket phenomenon. The last option worries me greatly but at this moment in time seems the most likely outcome.