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back to article Game Group shares slide under a penny

High street retailer Game has put itself up for sale after shares plunged to a penny this morning amid concern over the company's future. Game Group PLC's gloomy Monday morning saw its stock open at 1.75 pence, down from 3.51 pence when the market closed on Friday. A few minutes later and it plummeted further, continuing the …

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Anonymous Coward

No sympathy here

Game (and Gamestation) are everything that is wrong with gaming.

I went in to buy a copy of GT5 and they tried to convince me to buy a used Xbox360 and a copy of Forza!!!

I'm guessing they were on some kind of Microsoft kickback scheme, I left the store without purchasing and never set foot in there again.

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Re: No sympathy here

Err, why would MS want you to buy a 2ndhand console? Think about it.

The fact is, they make more money off the 2ndhand crap because of the huge markup they put on it.

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Go

Re: No sympathy here

"why would MS want you to buy a 2ndhand console?" -- because they make a loss on "new" console sales, expecting to recoup it on game sales. Think about it.

Not that I believe there is/was an MS/Game conspiracy.

Actually, maybe I'm starting to ;-)

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Re: No sympathy here

It's probably not a kickback, rather it's a reflection of the fact that a used console doesn't incur VAT. They can stiff the person who sold it by offering a low price and stiff the person buying it with an inflated price (and perhaps a warranty). I wouldn't be surprised if they make more money off the sale than they do from selling a new one.

But Microsoft do indirectly make money from whatever games and subscription the new owner takes out on their console.

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@AC: 2nd hand sales

Most of the game publishers are mightily annoyed by Games 2nd hand sales and aggressive pushing of them. There's not the slightest chance of kickbags. Kicks in the nuts perhaps...

When Game claim *they* decided not to stock EA and Nintendo new releases, that's strictly accurate but deliberately misleading, in reality EA & N decided they didn't need to offer Game any special deals or marketing cooperation and Game had no real choice.

In the download age Game no longer has the power to blackmail the industry and the industry wants them dead.

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FAIL

Not Surprised ..

I tried to get some games from them a couple of weeks ago.

Tried 3 stores: not in stock.

Tried their site: battled through a nightmare ordering process that took umpteen attempts, only to have the order cancelled the next day. The cancellation e-mail didn't even tell me what the problem was, just gave a list of possibilities!

Went to Amazon and ebay and everything worked first time.

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Facepalm

Yea but

It was convenient how all 3 shops were almost next door to each other.

The group really should have put some thought into how many outlets they need in one place, especially after they bought Gamestation.

There's 3 in my local shopping centre.

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Re: Not Surprised ..

Well, we can't really base their stock availability on the past few weeks since EA dropped them and things cascaded from there. But I can agree with the web-based side of the company being an absoluter abomination: I've made several orders over the years, and every single one has been fraught with issues. In one case, they cancelled a pre-order the day it was due to ship because "it's too heavy to ship further than England" (yeah) and when I offered an address within their restrictions, they claimed that they didn't have enough stock to make a new order. Took an hour of arguing to get them to send it at all. And then they charged me three times for it. Not once has it been easy, and when they are cheaper than the likes of Amazon or E-bay, it's not by enough to compensate for the headache of dealing with the shoddy system and non-existent support.

That said, in store they're great - GameStation more than Game, I've found - as the employees are usually gamers themselves and have half a clue what they're on about, unlike the likes of PC World and such. So it is a shame to see the actual stores in trouble, but, indeed, we can't be shocked when they've been forever undermined by a lacklustre HQ.

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Re: Yea but

This is the root of the problem I reckon. Shows really bad cost controls. When they bought GS they should have closed off all the none profitable stores. They should also be a bit more selective about the shit they let people trade in.

Shame, bought every console I've ever had there and got just about enough game points for a mars bar.

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Inevitable

Unlike, say, clothes, there's no benefit from visiting a bricks & mortar store for this sort of product.

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Of course there is

a gaming store would be an excellent place to try games, get recommendations, maybe even form some type of social hub for people with shared interests.

Sadly Game is none of these things. They cover huge areas of expensive retail space, with identical empty game boxes and maybe have a demo unit in the corner. Can't think of any way they've ever attempted to use their physical location to offer the consumer something unique.

I'm pretty bewildered as to how they've made it this far.

Hopefully this might allow some of the independents to re-emerge, although to be honest I think it's too late and solely digital distribution is inevitable.

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Re: Of course there is

@goldcd:

Heh, you've reminded me of the local game shop I used to frequent as a teenager. Not only did they have demo units set up, they also offered rentals and best of all, they had an arcade-style setup in the basement with a load of tvs and several of each of the current home consoles installed, where you could play any title they had in stock for cheap (I think they charged based on 15-minute increments, but it was a nifty way of trying out games that you weren't too sure about).

Quite why the brick & mortar retailers haven't, in the 7 or 8 years that Steam has been a going concern, figured out how to monetise their spaces in ways that are unique to meatspace is beyond me, but the nature of the market is such that they'll only get so many chances to try.

I suspect GAME's current decline is in part down to game publishers having decided that retailers can shove off if they're going to continue trying to exploit a parallel economy as their core revenue source...(see Penny Arcade for insight & lulz - http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/25/)

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Headmaster

Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

So if Game is worth £1.7m with each share at 0.5p, back in 2008 when each share was £300 the company was worth £102bn? That's some retail games outfit! Did you mean the shares peaked at 300p perhaps?

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Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

300p != £300

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Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

300p is £3 Ian.

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Stop

Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

Even divided by 100, 1bn seems mighty huge for game.

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Boffin

Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

Astonishing! You don't say?! The article has been ammended - it originally stated £300/share peak price.

You'll find that if you wait long enough other things in the world around you are also subject to change.

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If they're not dead already, they soon will be: the next XBox is rumoured to not have an optical drive in it at all.

While the merits and flaws of that have been (and will continue to be) debated elsewhere, the fact is that it will kill any second hand games market for that platform, much as the PC second hand games market is already virtually non-existent.

Without that market to cater for, there's simply going to be less and less for Game to sell, and far less reason for them to exist.

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Good riddance

Stocked by morons, priced by idiots, staffed by stupidity-personified.

Back when DOS games were the fashion, they never stocked any of them. When they started to, they were good for a year or do until the Windows fad hit. Since XP, they have dropped off the radar due to DRM, pricing and an inability to actually sell product. When I was a teenager, sure, they were quite good for getting things you couldn't get elsewhere.

The last few times I dared in there, I fought through crowds of people who were looking for Peggle or the latest Mario (neither of which were in stock), had to circumvent the area around the pre-owned tat that was surrounded by kids trying to steal anything they could, had to navigate towards the tiny, hidden PC section at the back that had nothing interesting in anyway, nearly passed out at the pricing (which a quick online search could beat by about 75% with delivery to my door next day) and was accosted by spotty oiks who weren't born when I started gaming trying to tell me what I should be playing, and on what format, and having no respect for my gaming criteria.

Good riddance, I say. I think the only time they ever make money nowadays is pre-selling the latest Nintendo gadget or game before it comes out to people who want it for their kids for Christmas.

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Anonymous Coward

Costa, clothing and cash-converters

That'll be all that's left on our high streets soon.

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Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

Don't forget the charity shops!

Councils need to face the facts and reduce the size of our town centres in to smaller, but higher quality shopping areas. If they don't act soon, then they will risk losing the whole lot. Large parts of the shopping areas in smaller towns look a complete mess, which kind of puts you off even going to the nice parts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

As far as our local town centre goes, its already happened. What the council should be doing is reducing car parking charges to encourage people to visit, but no, car parking has gone up again.

I know the following prices are cheap on a national scale, but people didn't go in to town before they went up. And this shows how crazy the prices are:

30 minutes: 30p

1 hour: 80p (wtf?!? since when did prices get MORE expensive per unit as you bought more of them?!?)

2 hours: £1.50 (that's more like it...)

That all said, round here its still cheaper to drive than it is go get the bus, the cost of which is just frightening...

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Stop

Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

Aye, our town centre is now a mass of costas, mobile phone shops and 2 department stores. Even the travel agents have moved out of town. At £2 for 2 hours and £1.30 for an hour they can forget it. Even the bus is £1.50 each. Now the little one is big enough to walk the 2 miles we walk in just for exercise then come home.

That being said I did buy a used PS2 at christmas from game for £15. I expected it to be faulty but it worked just fine and made a reasonable christmas pressie with some ebay games.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

"wtf?!? since when did prices get MORE expensive per unit as you bought more of them?!?"

people are simply bad with math, especially if they have to do it in their heads. That is why they are able to get away with it. Here is an example, I am currently in Tanzania and I use some 3G connection. They have these bundles:

- 1 week (7 days, 3G of data) for Tsh 15,000

- 1 Month ( 30 days, 8G of data) for Tsh 70,000

- 3 months (90 days, 24 GB of Data) for Tsh 200,000

I had to convince people in the office that I am not the one who is paying extra for choosing to buy the weekly bundle. And to make it worse, some people had to use a calculator to check if I am telling the truth!

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Meh

Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

Walking is always an option and its free. It will also go some way to counteracting effect of sitting on one's arse glued to the television or console game each night.

Bicycle is another option too and its generally free parking for bikes.

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Re: Costa, clothing and cash-converters

Agreed about car parking charges. We decided to visit Chester this weekend just for something to do and neither of us had been for many years. After the misery of the insane ring road system I found a council run car park just to find the charges are £4 for 2 hours and that is the minimum charge. On top of that all the pay and display machines are still coin only with nowhere to get change from and no number to ring and pay by card over the phone. None of the closest shops were willing to give me change for the car park unless I bought something which I had to do in the end or risk getting a ticket from the warden I had seen patrolling the car park. The whole thing has put me off going back to Chester as it is just too expensive and too much hassle

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Andy 36

Try carrying 2 weeks shopping for a family of 4 on a bike, or the lawnmower you just picked up from B&Q, in fact many everyday jobs are just not practical if your mode of transport is a bike which is why most people have a car. Agreed far too many people use them way more than they need to, just going to the corner shop around the corner for example, but the benefits of having a car far outweigh those of having a bike.

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Mushroom

bicycling would be great

if it wasn't for all the nonce's in White Vans , (wannabe Jezza Clarkson's in ) BMWs , Cabs, Mini Cabs, Buses , Lorries and most cars who really don't give 2 hoots about your personal safety.

Personally I have already spent enough of my life in the A and E department of my local hospital getting bolted back together.

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Stop

Game Over...

That's it man, game over man, game over!

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It's not really a surprise. Amazon undercut them massively, and all the big releases are in Tesco at a cheaper price. If they had competed on price, then they would probably have had a chance.

I realise that bricks and mortar retail costs more, but in my local town, Game have 2 stores almost opposite each other, and a gamestation (part of same group) is about 6 shops away from the 2 game stores. Any company which is ran like that is doomed.

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Same here

2 Game stores, although 1 is staffed by late middle-age men in shirts and ties who have likely never played a game in their lives while the other is staffed by actual people.

It seems that non-gamers go to the 'posh' one to talk to the smartly dressed men who advise them on which one their grandchildren would like for Christmas. The actual gamers (like myself) go to the other store to talk to staff who actually know what they're talking about and will go out of their way to help you. I got a very good deal out of them when I tried to buy a handheld console on sale only to find out that that particular sale ended the day before. They spent a good 15 minutes working out a way to sell me the same items for the sale price even though the till kept telling them no.

There's also a GameStation only 1 door down from one of those which seems to only stock second hand DVDs now. Very disappointing.

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My local Game

Is actually rather good. Yes, they are a little more expensive than Amazon, but the guys (and they are just guys) who work there are friendly, well-informed and helpful. A few times I've been in and said "I like X, Y and Z, what should I play next?" and they're pulled a great game I've never heard of off the shelves. Sometimes going out the back and finding a freshly in-traded version they could sell me cheaper than the new one. That kind of thing I like.

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Happy

Re: My local Game

Must admit that's happened to me a couple of times. I've gone in to buy something and got, "Shouldn't really do this but we have a traded-in version of that here, it's £12 cheaper.". Alright I might have got it brand new and another couple of quid off at Amazon, but they were so helpful and I wanted to go home and play now not wait until Monday evening after Monday morning post.

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No surprise

I looked at SWTOR in Game before Christmas and they wanted £45. I bought it on Amazon for £33 and had to wait a whole day for delivery. Why would I pay Game £12 extra for the joy of talking to a shop assistant who wasn't born when I started drinking alcohol, let alone when I started gaming?

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Re: No surprise

Aye, some people camp outside shops though as they must have it now. I dont understand that mentality personally but hey ho, choice is good I suppose.

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Anonymous Coward

Went to GAME yesterday as son got given a GAME voucher for his birthday. He wanted FIFA12 for PS3 but first branch didn't have it on display and all staff were at tills dealing with huge queue. So walked to another branch ~400m away - this is part of their problem, they have too many stores close together and actually there used to be a third in between these 2! That was quier, had FIFA12 - priced at £43 which I thought was a bit excessive but son wanted it plus given recent news I thought it was wise to use the gift voucher credit asap - took it up to till where it scanned at £35 (no-one had got round to altering the labels yet!) which is cheaper than Amazon!

Reports on GAME situation on the radio this morning - two interesting point

- think I heard that 50% of the PS Vita sales were through GAME

- GAME and HMV both have problems, GAME is now in crisis mode as suppliers are not sending them stock of the new games about to be released so its probably in the Woolworths death spiral - however, same suppliers were probably going to stand by HMV as having a big high street shop is still very useful to them to shift old stock but they didn't need 2 of them.

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FAIL

The benefit..

is that you can walk into the store, buy the game, take it home and play it rather than waiting on the wonderful postal service to decide when they want to get round to delivering it.

Some stores are better than others, one of my locals has some pretty hardcore gamers working in it who do know their stuff and really try to help with suggestions of games, offering a 2nd hand for a few quid cheaper etc, whereas another on the high street is staffed by morons.

Pricing is an issue but then its the same everywhere, HMV, Comet etc all charge more in store than online.

I personally would be pretty sad to not have any Gaming specific store any more.

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Re: The benefit..

if there is a game that is a "must have now" then there is always the digital route. If it is a new game then often you can pre-download it too.

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WTF?

Re: The benefit..

> the digital route

Games have been delivered down a "digital route" for years. The last analogue game I loaded was off a cassette tape on my Sinclair Spectrum. (Hint: CDs and DVDs are digital.)

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Unhappy

I have to come out in their defence.

There's both a Game and a Gamestation, in the town where I work (heaven knows why), and I've found the staff in both the be very helpful. There's also a new branch of Gamestation, near where I live, and likewise, it's always been a pleasant experience.

Then again, I don't game much, anymore, and what I do buy is invariably pre-owned, so I'm probably not the sort of consumer that they can base a business around.

So long, Game.

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WTF?

I have almost £100 on my Game card. Should I go blow the lot on something before they go titsup?

Also, I dont think it is fair to say the store is all that is wrong with video games. While new games and hardware is pricier here, where else can you get good value second hand video games on the high street?

May not be everyones cup of tea, but I find that this chain is great for picking up bargain classics - however I concede that not everyone is into older, second hand games.

If Game does go down the plug hole, I can see myself buying all my games from Tesco, Asda, Morrisons or Sainsbury's

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Anonymous Coward

Yes,

Buy something, anything...

Put some cash towards it and get a Vita would be what I would do.

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"where else can you get good value second hand video games on the high street?"

CeX. Waaay cheaper than Game, in almost every instance, plus the staff tend to know their stuff. CeX have been storming through a recession and opening new stores, because they price stuff a bit cheaper and get the stock shifted out. They're not too proud to slice a price if it moves stock, and Game are.

Price is Game's biggest problem. I can't count the number of times I've been in their PC section wondering how many litres of piss they're taking. The staff are alright, the store's not bad, it's just the pricing that's generally insane.

And I can't forgive them for what they did to Gamestation. That place was fantastic before Game got their teeth into it. A proper retro section stretching back to the Master System, rare or classic games kept in a cabinet, great staff, great prices, and then Game bought it. Retro was killed off immediately, the place started selling DVDs and later Blu Ray, and it just became another Game store. What a loss.

The fire sale's already started, though. Is anyone fooled by their "Spring Clean" sale? I bought 4 games at the weekend for the price of just one two weeks prior.

And as for the supermarkets, they're worse. A tiny selection of whatever games the staff have heard of, stock older then the person you're buying it for, and daft prices. ASDA are marginally better than the others, but only marginally. Sod that.

Nope, if Game goes, it'll be CeX only for me. That, and BHF. For some inexplicable reason, BHF round here always have great games in from a few years ago, at about a quid a piece!

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"I have almost £100 on my Game card. Should I go blow the lot on something before they go titsup?"

Yes, without any hesitation at all. I was given a £15 game voucher for Christmas, and was waiting for ME3 before spending it. When the news broke about Game not getting ME3, I went down and got MS points instead. Better than not getting anything at all.

A shame to see another high street retailer go, but in my town there' s Game and a Gamestation within 50 yards of each other. Over saturation, and online competition will be the end of many a business.

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Unhappy

Re: Yes,

Already got the Vita from them, even though it was cheaper in Sainsbury's.

I thought to myself that if I get it from them, then I would get lots of lovely points on my card, which I did.

But if they are headed down the pan, maybe I should just blow it all in one go..

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My take on GAME

As someone who orders all his PS3 games from them online I'm happy with their service and prices. I'm not from the UK so I get like a 5-14day delivery times but I partialy blame our own postal system since they do air mail them.

I often get pre-orders and new games cheaper by 10-30 eur than the local sharks want for them. And that's with shipping included. And as I have a UK PSN account(because when I bought the PS3 they didn't have a local PSN store) I also buy the psn topup cards which bypasses the PS3 credit card issues and security issues.

I'd be really sad if they go out of business.

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Multiple Stores

Why on earth do they still have multiple stores open in a single town? In the past few years Game has bought up all the other competing high street computer game shops. The sensible companies then make decisions about keeping a single site per town and closing the older smaller and badly located shops.

So why on earth has the management allowed all the stores to stay open? THREE stores in the same street is just financial madness. And this is repeated around the UK.

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Re: Multiple Stores

In some cases it will be the lease is so long term that they can't close the store without incurring huge penalties from the leaseholder.

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No sympathy here....

...Game killed Barryservers (Barrysworld) after promising they wouldn't.

What goes around comes around.

Bye bye Game, you won't be missed in the slightest.

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Re: No sympathy here....

aha barrysworld. Brings back memories of rail arena and TFC

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