Wednesday, 7 March 2012

UK Retail: GAME

Disclaimer: I am not a Retail analyst or a businessman, I do my best to quote facts rather than speculation in this piece, though it's worth mentioning that this is partially my opinion and if you take any offence or wish to question me, you are free to comment below. This post was made on the 7th of March 2012, using all the information available at the time.

Since the start of the year GAME have been having what you might describe as financial difficulties. They reported a huge loss at the end of the year but were fortunate enough to still retain the financial backing they needed to survive. They then spent the next month and a half speaking at length about their plans to innovate and pull things back, so that they could once again start making a profit.

It appeared as though their luck was changing when they secured the PlayStation Vita launch, but this was offset by their inability to stock any Ubisoft titles for the Vita until a full week after the Console had been released, including the excellent Rayman Origins. Also missing from shelves were Namco's latest Tekken Title and Mario Party 9, both anticipated releases.

And then the big news came; GAME would be unable to stock any EA title past SSX for an indefinite period of time, including the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3. This is a two-fold problem, firstly they're losing a lot of money due to these stocking issues, but the other comes in the form of outcry due to them dropping the pre-orders, leaving a league of angry gamers in their wake.

From there on things just seem to get worse and worse, Capcom announced their intentions to follow in EA's footsteps and Paradox spoke out calling GAME bullies, and stating that what's happening now is just karma as far as they're concerned.

This is causing a snowball effect as more and more publishers pull out, confidence in GAME drops even more and more publishers pull out as a result. Without a way to solve this problem, GAME have a slow descent into bankruptcy on their hand.

So that's that, normally at the end of these articles I like to talk about how their miserable fortunes could be turned around or how their competitors are doing. That would work, except their main competitor is HMV (in terms of bricks and mortar retail), who aren't faring much better in the long term, and I frankly have no idea how GAME could turn this around at this point.

This leads me to what has become the general consensus at the moment, the best outcome for this whole thing is that GAME goes into administration and Gamestop make a bid to take over their operations in Europe.

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