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UK High street retailer Game has been acquired by Comet owner OpCapita. The Game Group's administrator, PwC, yesterday said it had agreed to sell the troubled company's UK business to Baker Acquisitions Ltd, an entity overseen by OpCapita, for an undisclosed sum. The move takes The Game Group's UK operation out of …

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Joke

just when you thought.......

Things couldnt possibly get worse for game!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: just when you thought.......

Comet on the.slide

Buys

Game on the slide

Bonkers

Time to section them under the Mental Health Act.

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Scrap dealer 'rescues' sunken ship.

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Silver badge
Joke

Typo. You've hit the 's' key by accident and even managed to capitalise it.

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Anonymous Coward

Nah..

Autocorrect on a mobile capitalises the first letter of a sentence.

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Anonymous Coward

WHY!?

why?! how can there be any future in this market beyond the next couple of years?

Amazon etc will always be cheaper for games with physical media, but on console marketplace/stores will kill off the need to physical media sooner or later anyway.

I can only assume they're either very stupid, or found some other way to squeeze some short term money out of whats left.

In a couple of years they'll be in a similar position - like so many of the retailers that have been "Saved" over the last few years.

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Re: WHY!?

I still don't see physical media being replaced any time soon, so many areas still have inadequate broadband speeds to cope with downloading 10-30GB for one game - Virgin aren't laying new cable, probably never will, and the fibre replacement of copper is slow and mostly limited to areas that already get >8Mbit connections.

I'm not sure whether Game can cope with the current market though, clearly their business model needs changing since they've been relying on credit rather than capital to get new stock in, but since they're dealing with internet savvy consumers now, they need to keep a closer eye on online pricing trends, rather than having a ton of recent releases on the shelves that you know half of it is easily £10 cheaper if you look online. The preowned market would seem to be viable on it's own, given the spread of CeX stores in the past few years, so I'm assuming that their losses have stemmed from new stock.

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Re: WHY!?

Not everyone can wait in all day for the postman to deliver Amazon packages. I'm at work between 8 and 6 Mon-Fri so my only option is to book the day off or have it left with a neighbour. Now they're lovely people next door but I feel a bit bad relying on them this much. Plus, downloading a game can take several hours at peak times, compared to going into a shop and buying a physical copy that I can play right away.

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Facepalm

Re: WHY!?

So send it to your work address and have them take receipt of it and set your downloads to run at night instead of daytime. It really is not that difficult to overcome your two main objections.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WHY!?

maybe the next gen consoles will have a bit of inteligence in their downloading so that they can be downloading future level data in the background whilst you're playing earlier levels?

Seems to me the benefits to the manufacturers/developers to push people away from physical media are too big to ignore with the savings in distribution and the killing off of the 2nd hand market.

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Thumb Down

Re: WHY!?

My house has this amazing device installed called a letter box. Google it, I think it's going to be the next big thing.

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Flame

Re: WHY!?

"So send it to your work address and have them take receipt of it..."

Not everyone's employer allows personal deliveries at work. I am very lucky that my current employer does allow this, but my previous one very strictly didn't and it caused me no end of problems. In fact I attribute my massive switch from high street to online shopping to my current employer's benevolence* regarding personal deliveries.

* Yes it is benevolence - the warehouse guys have a big additional overhead sorting out personal deliveries for 600+ techie types all buying the latest gizmos...

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Re: WHY!?

@southern

"So send it to your work address and have them take receipt of it and set your downloads to run at night instead of daytime. It really is not that difficult to overcome your two main objections."

My employer won't allow us to have things shipped here, why should they pay for the reception staff to sign for and store my property for me until I collect it?

And downloading overnight would require me to leave my console or pc on overnight which is a waste of power. I put everything to sleep at night, the noise of my PC fans alone would keep me up all night.

@wild bill

"My house has this amazing device installed called a letter box. Google it, I think it's going to be the next big thing."

Yes, and I love receiving those "While you were out" cards when I get home every day. Almost as much as I love having to go collect my ever-so-slightly-thicker-than-the-average-letterbox parcel from the post office depot that closes every day at 7:30 am.

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IT Angle

Re: WHY!?

>Not everyone can wait in all day for the postman to deliver Amazon packages

You must have a small letterbox. DVDs usually fit through mine just fine. Not that I order them very often mind but a box set got through on Saturday.

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Re: WHY!?

All these replies and no one has mentioned the satifaction of owning a tangeible object, rushing home from the shops and reading the manual while it installs. Plus the resellability factor of boxed games. Just as with CDs, high street presence of boxed games will prevale. Game could have an amazing business model as they used too 7 or 8 years ago where loads of the outlets brought and sold retro kit as well, extend this service to an online presence with a vintage kit repair service in bigger shops and 'hey presto!' geek paradise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WHY!?

I just view boxes as irritating thing that takes up space for no good reason.

I had a huge (£2000+) anime collection and manga (£1500+) collection, that I gave away at a convention becouse it was too much of a ball ache to move it around and I never rewatched or reread any of it anyway. The stuff I couldn't give away I just binned.

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Joke

Re: WHY!?

I think you'll find you've got a "cat Flap" rather than a letter box.......

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Undisclosed Sum of ..

.. £1, according to this morning's Metro.

As for Game's future: it could go all 2nd hand. I'm sure the instant gratification of walking into a shop and 'swapping' one game for another beats sticking stuff on ebay then waiting for a sale, then for delivery of the new game.

May not enough to keep all the current Games stores open, but I'm sure it's viable .

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Re: Undisclosed Sum of .. eBay

Waiting for the auction to finish, it has 25 watchers but still goes for a penny, waiting on the paypal transaction, finding a padded envolope, goto then queue in a post office, getting it posted, getting negative feedback because the box isn't mind or the instructions are missing (which you clearly stated in the ad), then ebay and paypal (owned by ebay?) take their chunks out of the transaction.

Games stingy trade in valuations seem like a piece of cake in comparison.

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Silver badge

Re: Undisclosed Sum of ..

Second hand is a concept which barely exists on the PC. Console makers and publishers are doing their damndest to make sure it doesn't exist there either.

e.g. Sony and EA already ship registration codes with their games which you need if you want to play online. If you buy second hand then you need to purchase a refresh code.

I bet the next gen goes one further and embeds the registration code into the media itself. Disc / cartridge plays, the code is associated with your PSN account and then it won't work at all second hand without a refresh.

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Holmes

Game On

A high street game retailer always has the advantage of impulse purchasing + kids with cash who can't shop online as they don't have a debit or credit card.

In that respect games retail hasn't changed much since I was a kid buying games for my Amstrad. Sure the computer magazines were full of adverts of mail order retailers, but since you didn't have a credit card you ended up down WH Smiths etc picking from their measly selection rather than the hundreds of titles available on mail order.

Yes Microsoft and Sony are trying to kill retail by selling downloads but as games but it still shouldn't be hard to make a go of high street games retailing. My local indie is thriving, Game should be as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game On

There isnt going to be a second hand computer games market for very much longer so it would be a very foolish area to get into

Whether you like it or not all future games are going to be DRM'd and locked to email accounts

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Game On

They won't be locked to email accounts but PSN/XBL/Steam/Origin ... there's already no market for 2nd hand PC games and now that consoles have Internet access and hard disks there's every chance they'll go the same route.

Read the EULAs - games are licensed not owned these days.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game On

I think another reason there stopped being a trade in 2nd hand pc games (or PC games in shops at all) is becouse GAME STOPPED SELLING PC GAMES! Lousy basterds. Wall to wall of console turds, it was like walking into _that_ toilet in trainspotting but for computer games instead.

I hate game, I liked game station, until game bought game station and turned game station into the same turd covered ceaspit game was.

The only chance game have is to set up a digital distribution and ware house model (ala steam and amazon) and use the shops as little more then show rooms for new games.Sure stock some release titles, an maybe one or two copies of some random titles but the rest, "order here"

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Re: Game On

Really - every Game I've been into has had a PC Games section; normally about the same size as the PS3 section, maybe a little smaller, but I bought both Brink and Anno 2070 on whims when I've popped into a Game as I've been walking past. There's only so much shelf space in a physical store and there are a lot of systems for gaming now (PC, PS3, PSP/Vita, XBoX, Wii, Gameboy); it's hardly surprising the amount of space dedicated to PC games has shrunk - I suspect the PC gaming market has also shrunk (relative to the market as a whole).

However, Game used to excel online; especially for pre-orders as they'd ship the game 2 days before the release date to ensure you had it in time... most games I'd pre-ordered arrived the day before the release date (though recently the DRM in the games does a check when you're attempting to install and won't let you if the game's not been released yet).

Yeah, I'd not really had anything against Game before the Mass Effect 3 debacle - it was generally my first-choice for pre-orders.

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Silver badge

Re: Game On

I agree with Mr C Hill, sometimes when you want something sameday, shops are there to meet that need. I wanted a new PS3, I went out and bought one same day and paid (in Game, oddly) around £18 more than Amazon. It's a convenience thing.

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Getting into the 2nd hand market would be totally foolish as it isnt going to exist for more than a year or two.

All future software is going to be DRM's and linked to email accounts/credit cards whether you like it or not

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Not likely. If you make a product too cumbersome to use nobody will use it.

And considering that all the next-gen console stuff is still all rumor I doubt it. Why change something that works?

As for DRM considering all the crap that's going on there already. You need to secure the system not the game.

And yeah I'll stick to physical media until they rip it out of my cold-dead-hands. I can't lend a digital download to a friend while I can do so with a physical disc.

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Which is why there won't be any more physical media or if there is it will just be something to use to download the main product , 99.99% of users couldnt care less about DRM orbeing able to sell games second hand etc thats an IT geeks thing only

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Which is why there won't be any more physical media or if there is it will just be something to use to download the main product

... which is almost exactly where the PC market is now; the Shogun 2 disks basically just allowed you to install the game into the Steam directory rather than download it - end result is exactly the same and the DRM is managed by Steam. You can't resell the game, it's linked to your Steam account.

Ditto for Mass Effect 3, but replace Steam with Origin.

The only reason for physical media in the PC gaming world (apart from the fact that it's faster to install from disk than download) is when it adds value... collectors editions with art books, mouse mats, t-shirts or whatever.

PC gaming has already gone this way and consoles are following - multiplayer is already getting locked down to user accounts on the PSN so it's only a matter of time.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

"If you make a product too cumbersome to use nobody will use it."

What are you talking about? The system he's describing is already in place and plenty of people are using it - it's called Steam. All Steam games are linked to a single account and cannot be transferred or re-sold, and yet somehow we all forgot to protest the inconvenience.

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Being a pedant but GOG.com doesn't use DRM.....

I still don't think we're quite there yet for only online game purchases when it comes to console gaming. Lots of consoles gets used where there is no net connection.

Also as many people have pointed out; bandwith for playing online games isn't quite the same as bandwidth for downloads especially as a number of ISPs still have caps/monthly allowances

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Also as many people have pointed out; bandwith for playing online games isn't quite the same as bandwidth for downloads

Playing games no - however there was a 5GB (yes, gigabytes) patch for Shogun 2 that I downloaded over Steam yesterday; most updates for games now come in at hundreds of megabytes, which is unlikely to pop your limits, but it's an upwards trend.

If you're going to play it, you're probably going to want to patch it.

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Anonymous Coward

"I still don't see physical media being replaced any time soon, so many areas still have inadequate broadband speeds to cope with downloading 10-30GB for one game"

Not in the next 6-12 months perhaps but int he next 2-5 years I see a massive (60-75%+) decline in physical (new) games sales. BT are rolling out fibre and recon within 2 years most people will be getting 10mbps or better.

In addition a lot more pressure from other (cheaper) retailers like Tesco as well as online retailers like Amazon.

But medium to long term the market will move to digital download - perhaps only 25-30% of the market now but will expand rapidly. Game may carry on for a while by cutting the wasteful shops but it's now a smaller player in a declining market. Basically they have cut costs but in a market where price is more competitive and Game add very little over just buying from Amazon or at Tesco with your beer.

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Anonymous Coward

Fair point, we all get faster speeds....however how big are games now compared to 5 or 10 years ago? The amount of resource data needed to run your average RPG these days is usually around 8-9GB minimum, compared to a copy of FF8 which fitted on 1 or 2 700MB CDs. The tech will get faster, the graphics better which will require more resource files to be downloaded. Yep in 2 years time well have nice solid 100MB pipes but the games will be up to about 40-50GB in size by then!

Shit and data grow to fill the space available!

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Anonymous Coward

I've not really looked into it, but how much data does OnLive use? Maybe thats going to be the future in a few years time.

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Anonymous Coward

"BT are rolling out fibre and recon within 2 years most people will be getting 10mbps or better."

I already get 14-15mbps on standard ADSL and my father just bought BT Infinity and it's predicting he will get the full 40mbps down and 10mbps up (just to qualify 'full' - that's as fast as his exchange supports - they actually have 100mbps down in some areas).

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Maybe I'm an old fuddy duddy but I still prefer to purchase physical media games. There's a lot more satisfaction in having something to hold or sit on your shelf. It's going to be there until I decide to sell it or throw it away. If you spend your money on steam you are very vulnerable. If steam closed how would you play your games? I generally only buy things on steam when they are on super special offer, eg 75% off.

Things like BT Infinity and VM's upgrades are all well and good, but they aren't cheap. I'll stick to my cheap cable connection rather than pay for 50/100mbps

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reply to 'Tim of the Win'

Even if you own the physical media to games like 'Fallout: New Vegas' or Skyrim you still can't actually play them without activating them on Steam. All your physical media does on those is to speed up the initial installation process and give you some nice artwork in the booklet (and in Skyrim's case a nice map to go on your wall too) and something to put on your shelf.

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Thing is though, even when you do buy physical media now it's often tied into an online system like Steam or Origin. You can't resell the game and if Steam/Origin closed you're in exactly the same situation whether you bought the physical media or not...

3 games I've bought (fairly) recently have all been tied to an online DRM system, Shogun 2 to Steam, Mass Effect to Origin and Anno 2070 to Ubisoft's UPlay... the only different when consoles go down this route will be that each console will have it's own platform, XBL or PSN atm, rather than disparate DRM systems run by the publishers.

It'll be interesting to see what will happen when the PS4 is released... will there be a new PSN? Will it be open to PS3 owners or will the PS3 version of the PSN be closed - and what will happen to anyone who owns CoD:MW3 where the online game is tied to the PSN (and let's face it, the online game is the game)? Will they effectively be the proud owners of a CoD:MW3 shaped paperweight?

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Anonymous Coward

Downloads

All well and good downloading games, but when I download a few DLCs, perhaps a Linux distro, stream some video etc. my ISP gets all upset that I have went over my download allocation for that month.

If we had to download blurays worth of game every time instead of firing a disk / USB pen in, the ISP would probably cut me off!

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Pirate

Meh!

Overly restrictive and not user friendly DRM, games locked to email/stream accounts, suppliers targeting consoles rather than PCs, games licensed not owned, copyright mafiaa killing off the second hand market.

I only have one experience of using Stream, and I will never have a second experience of using Stream.

The marketing model adopted by the copyright mafiaa assumes always on, big pipe, unlimited broadband and try to implement more and more restrictive terms and conditions on usage. The ISPs want to sell us always on, big pipe, unlimited broadband but with "fair usage" restrictions, in reality, small pipe, limited broadband. The telecoms companies who operate the infrastructure don't want us to any thing at all.

Tell me again, why is piracy a problem?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh!

Tell me again, why is piracy a problem?

Its a problem because on the whole most people are as dishonest as they think they can get away with, pirating software is relatively easy with close to zero chance of getting caught

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What I want to know is does this mean our game and gamestation cards with points on can be used again?

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Megaphone

Why does everyone think retail games are dead?

Come on people, the console games market is alive and well. 44% of all physical media games were bought over the counter last year - in the States it's even higher. Yes Amazon is hammering the high street, but 44% is still a huge piece of the pie. GAME definitely need to sort their online offering out and should probably do a bit better on the PC downloads front.

But aside from the company's problems, the market still exists and is viable for a good while yet. If you really believe that the next gen consoles (or even the ones after that) from the existing players are going to be download only, then you are demented. If the XBOX was download only, then they'd lose a huge chunk of their customers in one go. Look at broadband penetration in the States, look at average download caps and also look at the number of internet connected consoles vs the number of consoles sold / in use. These figures will show you that whilst 'many' users will embrace it, many others won't... and you don't shut the door on a large percentage of business just for the sake of cutting out the retailers.

I'm sure there will be many more games 'available for download', and that'll definitely impact the game retailers, this is where they have to adapt. I'll also mention that the games publishers rely far more than you'd think on the retailers to hype their products. All those strange events the retailers lay on for midnight releases... not quite the same when it's a video of me getting my Amazon delivery. In my pants.

x, no x.

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Anonymous Coward

Fire to Frying Pan - jump we'll save you

Long term prospects for both groups are?

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Anonymous Coward

Misunderstood

Op Capita.

I thought this was related to "sorting out" Capita

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