back to article Acquisition-happy Game not anti-competitive

Game Group today learned that its acquisition of rival firm Gamestation has been formally cleared by the Competition Commission. The Office of Fair Trading kicked off an investigation in August last year following claims that Game would nullify competition by merging with another games console group. However, the commission …


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  1. Barry Tabrah

    The last bastion of PC game trade-ins

    Gamestation was the last place I could trade in my £20 PC games for £1-£2 a piece. I sense that with this acquisition the second-hand PC game market is now doomed. Where shall we now get our copies of Myst and Leisure Suit Larry? I hope we are not reduced to car boot sales for PC gaming bargains.

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  3. Adrian Jackson

    The last bastion of retro gaming

    Retro gaming on the high street also just died. Gamestation was the last place you could buy classic games for now-defunct systems such as the SNES. RIP. :(

  4. Bo Pedersen

    @ Barry

    Well Game do Pre-owned titles (although this might be console only)

    Dont forget the ever growing CEX (computer exchange)

    and of course the usual online marketplace :)

    Gamestation came late to a market that was already on its knees

    Highstreet Retail hasnt finished going through its rough patch

  5. Liam

    exactly - not anti competitive my ass....

    its not anti competitive? being the ONLY place that does trade ins now surely cannot be anti competitive!

  6. dervheid

    No Loss of Competition?

    We have both Game and Gamestation locally. Can't see BOTH staying open. Mind you, there's been nothing to choose between the two pricewise recently. Wouldn't have anything to do with the acquisition, surely. Another victory for the consumer then...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Anti-Competitive?

    I was comparing prices at both shops in the sales. Surprise surprise they both had different games at sale prices. One shop had say mario galaxy with £5 off while the other had it at full price but with $5 off paper mario. Surely this is just a transparent attempt at increasing revenue at both shops as customers would be forced to go and buy one from each if they wanted the lower price. How is this competitive? Where is the drive to lower prices because a rival company is offering the same product cheaper? It cannot happen if you know they aren't offering it cheaper because it has been agreed you offer XYZ at £X and we will offer ABC at £Y but in no way overlap.

  8. Gav H.


    That's a shame. They were one of the few high street retailers that could match online outfits, especially for console bundles, on price and choice.

  9. AndyC
    Paris Hilton

    not anti competitive my ar$e

    Wonderful... Like dervheid, got both local (within a 2min walk of each other) and there is no way they will both stay open.

    Game are rubbish, constantly over priced, devoted entirely to the latest new release, as in half their store covered in halo3 junk. Their PC and ps3 sections are a joke and the people generally employeed there can not hold a conversation about a game other than the latest release for the 360.

    This is not a bash at 360 or the marketing of it, but rather a shop that only really promotes one system. Retro games are non existant in Game and the random bits of gaming paraphenaliay (spelling sucks, I know) are also sadly lacking.

    How can this be considered non-anti-competitive is beyond me... Looks like online retailers are going to be getting more of my monies now then...

    <- Paris for representation of The Office of Fair Trading as both utimately useless

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Both Open in the same place? Possibly...

    "We have both Game and Gamestation locally. Can't see BOTH staying open. "

    Who knows - in Exeter, Game has been around for ages, but Gamestation has JUST been opened... make of that what you will.

  11. Rob
    Thumb Down

    Biggest problem

    Like mentioned above, is going to be the loss of old stuff. My local GameStation (which is still sort of in a blockbuster) has, not only old games, but old second (third/fourth) hand consoles and computers for sale. I spent ages eyeing up a Spectrum 48k+ for 35 quid only to discover it had gone when I finally plumped up to go and buy it. Our local store has loads of these sorts of things. They've got a C64 at the moment, and for some reason lots of XBox 360's second hand too...

    I've got no problem with the store sale, I just hope they keep the good bits.

  12. Chris Beckett
    Thumb Down


    I prefer GS over Game as it tends to have more knowledgable and friendly staff (who don't assualt you as you step over the threshold and tell customers the 40GB PS3 can play PS1 and PS2 games - pah!). I also agree with others that this decision of the CC *is* anti-competitive and it's impossible to argue otherwise. GS had some good offers of the week, which Game are slowly waking up to.

    Still, Game is handy for checking out titles before buying them on-line for 30% less...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ dervheid

    In Southampton we have 4 Game stores, and a Gamestation, and a CEX!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It bloody well is anti competitive

    Game is overhyped and overpriced, I remember when there was EB and Game, then Game bought out EB (or was it the other way) and within a month most of the offers had gone. When Gamestation started up it was tatty and run down (still is), but the games were CHEAP.

    Looks like history repeating again.

    When this merger is finalised and paid and all the names change I can see the same happening AGAIN. No offers to speak of unless it's £2 off quake1 or some similarly old game.

    I can't wait to see what competition starts up now

    For the record we have 2 games, a gamestation and a CEX down here.

  15. Les Matthew

    @The last bastion

    Computer exchange has been doing 2nd user and retro for longer and is still going.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not anti-competitive

    Last time I looked I could buy games in HMV, Zavvi, Woolies, online, and a bunch of other places as well as GAME/Gamestation, so its hardly an issue. As for pre-owned, anyone who buys or sells in Game OR Gamestation is nuts because eBay and Amazon Marketplace are way cheaper.

    Its fairly obvious that Game bought out the for-sale-for-two years-already Gamestation as a spoiler to stop GameStop getting into the UK. THAT's the anti-competitive bit, but I can't say I blame them, its exactly what GameStop did to EB in the US and we can expect more of it as the market gets even more cutthroat. Game have put out very good numbers this week, but does anyone expect games retail not to go the way of music and DVD retail in the long run? This is just the market consolidation you'd expect in these circumstances.

  17. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    @ not anti competative

    trying to compare a specialist retailer, like gamestation, to those non specialist ones is like saying you can buy fancy foods at the quik-e-mart. They aren't the same on range, knowledge, or ability to find it.

    As for buying online... The web isn't good at what I call "serendippity moments", stumbling across a product you weren't actively looking for, but once you see it, knowing its for you. Rummaging through a shelf or bargain bin is nothing like looking at web pages.

  18. stuart meadowcroft

    2 sides to the story

    I'm moving from Grimsby which has one of each to Liverpool which does as well (and 2 CEXs now). My personal sentiment is similar to many ppl's in that I don't like Game's pricing, stocking or attitude.

    However, how about a blanced view on the subject?

    Game may have other reasons for buying GS than just shutting all their stores (there's the ongoing liability of the leases on the property to consider for a start!). Maybe they want to make sure they have a 2nd-hand arm of their empire to make more room for new games in their main stores.

    Only really unprofitabe stores will get shut quickly - many high-street chains delibrately have dual representation to have more floor space (even if selling similar product lines). Would you make a business decision to shut a profitable shop hoping all the customers will go to you other store when there's always the internet stores or onlineauctions as direct competitors?

    Maybe there's a computing journo who has the time and contacts to ask Game what their plans are and stay on the story as it develops?

    I'm not saying they WON'T close GS stores, only that they may have a strategy - I for one don't know and don't jump to conclusions... I'm not a tabloid newspaper you know ;)

    (I'm going back to my day job now)

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