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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Chad H.

      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.

      1. bluesxman
        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 ;-)

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      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.

    3. Paul Shirley

      @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.

  2. SiempreTuna
    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.

    1. tmTM
      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.

      1. Andrew Barratt

        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.

    2. GojuSuzi

      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.

  3. Audrey S. Thackeray

    Inevitable

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

    1. goldcd

      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.

      1. Captain Underpants
        Thumb Up

        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/)

  4. Ian McNee
    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?

    1. James Le Cuirot
      Facepalm

      Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

      300p != £300

      1. Ian McNee
        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.

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

      300p is £3 Ian.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Bigger than Apple and Farcebook combined??

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

  5. Pete Spicer

    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.

  6. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    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.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Costa, clothing and cash-converters

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

    1. Greg 16

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge
          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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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!

        3. Andy 36
          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

          2. Karl H
            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.

        4. EyeCU

          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

  8. Julian 3
    Stop

    Game Over...

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

  9. Greg 16

    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.

    1. Oliver Mayes

      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.

  10. johnnytruant

    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.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      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.

  11. Irongut

    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?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  13. Gadget Rage is BAD
    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.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Soruk
        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.)

  14. Lamont Cranston
    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.

  15. 1Rafayal
    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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes,

      Buy something, anything...

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

      1. 1Rafayal
        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..

    2. Greg J Preece

      "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!

    3. Andyf

      "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.

  16. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    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.

  17. Mark Allen

    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.

    1. Mike Richards

      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.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    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.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: No sympathy here....

      aha barrysworld. Brings back memories of rail arena and TFC

      1. Richard Wharram

        Re: No sympathy here....

        Barrysworld isn't completely dead. There's still Freddyshouse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No sympathy here....

          The forums may still be there (resurrected) but the servers aren't. Was a great way to get the cost spread too (Barrybank).

          I miss bazerka and nate, great support. Last I saw of bazerka was in Eve Online maybe 6 years ago. Nate went back to Oz I think.

  19. Richard Wharram

    Our local high street

    ...is nearly all GAME stores. There's even some GAME stores WITHIN other GAME stores. Even the display cases on display, when opened, contain more GAME stores. Why management couldn't see this and break off all their commercial rent agreements, without paying the penalties, and then sell games for cheaper than online in single, floating, mega-retail stores which automatically float above the busiest parts of town is completely beyond me.

  20. ElNumbre
    Meh

    8 bit GAME

    I really dislike GAME's stores, they don't seem to have been refreshed in years, its just rows and rows of boxes without being able to try anything. Plus, they dedicate whole shelves to 'pre-order' stock - why have 50 empty boxes of pre-order games when it doesn't actually mean anything - they don't exactly take that special box off the shelf and put it aside, waiting for the disc to arrive in the post.

    At least with Gamestation, its got a bit of a more modern feel to it, the staff seem keen to assist and impart their knowledge and in the bigger stores, they seem to have lots of demo stations with staff demonstrating the latest wares, espesh on the weekend.

    Having said that, I rarely buy a new game - Id rather wait a few weeks and buy it second hand for 1/3-1/2 the price.

  21. Major Trouble
    Holmes

    To many stores

    Norwich has 3 Game stores and 1 Gamestation. This is way to much. The main Game store is always busy. I don't need to point out the obvious for them to survive on the high street.

  22. DrXym Silver badge

    Only have themselves to blame

    GAME has been synonymous with expensive for a long time now. Not just expensive for games but expensive for consoles and peripherals. And for selling expensive second hand titles and for screwing people for the prices they bought used games at.

    I'm also wondering if their supplier problems are because the industry has been stiffed by them for so long that they're fed up and and taking their product in other directions such as digital.

    Perhaps some of this isn't their own fault since they have overheads - rent and staff for all those stores. The Amazon's and Play's of this world don't have hundreds of outlets in prime locations eating up their margins. But at the end of the day, GAME didn't offer value. It was they who decided to buy out Gamestation and saturate the high street with their stores (possibly 2 or 3 within walking distance of each other) and they who continually shafted customers with the price of titles. They could have streamlined their stores and attempted to stimulate cash flow by being competitive. They didn't.

    So if they're feeling the pinch now, well... I guess less choice is never a good thing for consumers but GAME really had it coming.

  23. MJI Silver badge

    Waste of time this weekend

    Very few games, only decent ones were very expensive or I had.

    HMV were better and normally they are not

  24. Graham Jordan

    Sad times for staff.

    A friend works there. They've all found out about possible redundancies through the BBC et el and not from management.

    I'm in town for a new PlayStation 3. I think I'll wait a week.

    1. Captain Underpants
      Unhappy

      Re: Sad times for staff.

      Yeah, I do feel sorry for the staff. It's unlikely that the staff from any particular branch are responsible (or even able to influence) the kind of knobheaded thinkinging (or lack of thinking) that's put GAME in this position.

  25. K Silver badge
    Pint

    Shame...

    My local 3 stores have some rather tasty customer service ;) and if that weren't enough, the hottest girl was telling me how she upset she was after pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 last July... hot and into ME3.. I'm in LOVE!

  26. Rob Beard
    Unhappy

    Where I live in Torquay we have a GameStation store and a few doors away Game too. I went and checked both this weekend and there were hardly any reasonable games available although I did pick up a couple of bargains (including a brand new sealed Fable 3 for my daughter's birthday which was sold as pre-owned). The next big down along, Newton Abbot had a Game and Gamestation store but they closed the Game store a few months ago.

    What I am worried about is the fact I got my youngest daughter a DS last year and the hinge broke on it, I took out the GameCare extended warranty and they're sending a gift card. It'll be a race to see if the gift card arrives before the store goes under I think. To add insult to injury they didn't have any DS Lites or DS consoles in stock. Still I guess I could always get a PSP for myself and buy another DS for my daughter off eBay (or maybe even a DSi).

    I'll be sad to see Game and Gamestation go. Does annoy me that they stopped doing Retro stuff in Gamestation but the biggest gripe I have is that Game and Gamestation pretty much killed the independent games stores in the area (I know of just one independent store now).

    Rob

  27. Steve the Cynic
    Trollface

    Je ne comprend pas...

    Over here in Lille, GAME has ME3. And the new Mario Party 9.

    And it doesn't seem to have that choice between spotty teens or nearly-middle-aged dudes. The staff are frequently 20-somethings, and can explain stuff...

  28. Dean Burrows
    FAIL

    The problem was...

    ...is that Game (and GameStation) offered the less well off members of the UK public a chance to cash in on games they never played by offering to buy them. Game paid pittance for it, the working class types who sold the game got a couple of quid towards another game, and Game could resell it and make some profit. It kept the games circulating. Back in the heyday of the PS One and PS2 et al, games would be turned around fairly quickly. Why buy the full price games of 30 quid or more when you can buy the preowned one for often as much as 5 to 10 quid off the price? It's kind of ironic that EA were one of the first publishers to not give Game credit for more stock seeing as it was EA's abysmal *online multiplayer code with every game* ploy that has killed the second hand games market. Who is going to buy a copy of a game (like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit or Battlefield 3) preowned when the multiplayer code won't work and EA charge £10+ for a new one?

    This could have all been avoided if Game hadn't been so greedy and offered publishers a slice of the profits years ago.

    Meh... shit happens... I just need to find a way of spending all my reward points now. Problem is, they have no new stock I want to buy O_O

  29. StampedChipmunk
    FAIL

    Been failing for 15 years +

    I used to work for Game ... when I just left Uni so it must have been 1997. They just bought Electronics Boutique and were happily running a fairly large Game store (two floors) and a tiny EB store. They did the same trick several years later with Gamestation which resulted in a stupid number of stores on the high street - in Swindon we have two Games, a Gamestation and a Game concession in Debenhams all with 500m of each other - surely this is insane saturation?

    It seemed like Game management had only one plan - to get as many retail outlets as possible, drive any independents out of business and sew up the entire marketplace. But that doesn't work when every store is the same, all you do is increase your costs. If one shop dealt in 2nd hand games for example, then there might be some logic in it, but otherwise....

    The online ordering was a mess, the staff poor, the lacklustre assorted tat by the tills, the fact you can't even get into their stores as they are so poorly laid out and, thanks very much I'm off to HMV and/or Amazon.

    You could see this coming years and years ago. Rent a single larger store in each town, carry more stock across a wider range of platforms, invest in some staff training and you'll probably be okay. At the very least you'd reduce your overheads by simply having fewer staff and less rent to pay. I'm no MBA, but even I can see your business model is flawed...

    As for the second hand stores, all they do is rob money from the game developers and, in an industry where a £20 million product can be judged a flop in a handful of weeks, those of us gamers who give a sh*t about innovation and quality instead of "yet-another-FPS" (Syndicate EA, really?) should always try to buy new copies from their retailer of choice.

    Good bye Game, you won't really be missed

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been failing for 15 years +

      They clearly *haven't* been failing for 15 years, since a lot of people walked away from GAME with bucket loads of cash from shares over the last 3-4 years in particular, and they were making big profits until a couple of years ago.

      Ignoring the long-term structural problem of "games don't really need shops" anymore, Game made two big mistakes; dumping a pretty promising online business back in the early 2000s (they'd built out a really strong hosting and billing platform and then canned it), and then, far worse, buying Gamestation unnecessarily, which is why they're stuck with far too many stores now, and to compound the error everybody in the games industry knows what happens at the bottom of the "console cycle" before new consoles come out, GAME have been through this process at least three times already, so they should have been dumping unneccessary costs (e.g. stores) at least two years ago, although this cycle has admittedly taken on a different shape to previous ones as the PS3, Wii and Xbox360 have stayed on sale for a lot longer than their forebears (but even that was predicted several years ago).

      Oh, and EB bought Game, not the other way around.

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: Been failing for 15 years +

      "As for the second hand stores, all they do is rob money from the game developers and, in an industry where a £20 million product can be judged a flop in a handful of weeks, those of us gamers who give a sh*t about innovation and quality instead of "yet-another-FPS" (Syndicate EA, really?) should always try to buy new copies from their retailer of choice."

      Bollocks, and bollocks I'm sick of hearing. If it wasn't for the 2nd hand market, I'd have never become a gamer, because the new games are too expensive for anyone under 20. If it wasn't for the 2nd hand market, I would never have played the most innovative games, because they quickly disappear under a tide of X-box shit and it takes a cult following to bring them to light. If it wasn't for the 2nd hand market, I wouldn't have gotten into half the games I have, or have a huge collection as I do.

      I still give huge amounts of money to the game industry all the time, but if the publishers had it their way we'd be paying £50 a pop for ten year old games. This is the *only* industry we hear this bullshit bleating from. In every other industry, a purchase is regarded as something you own, and can do with as you please. Only in the games industry has this strange attitude grown that anyone not paying the poor, neglected largest entertainment sector on Earth the full price is some thieving scumbag. Sod off.

      I *do* care about gaming, a hell of a lot, but I show support for brilliant and innovative games by spreading the word, encouraging uptake. If someone I recommend Rez to buys it 2nd hand to try it, and likes it, then they might pre-order Child of Eden at full price, and the developer makes moolah they wouldn't have otherwise. The developers can take their moaning and shove it, and stop trying to make me feel like a thief because their products are overpriced.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: Been failing for 15 years +

        @Greg

        I agree, to a certain extent. The existence of a parallel economy for second hand games isn't a bad thing in itself (though it has been rendered largely irrelevant by digital distribution platforms) - the problem was that various retailers decided that, because the margins can be better in second-hand games, they should focus on second hand games. At which point it was only a matter of time before the publishers decided that the retailers may have fired the first shot in the war, but those who make the content would fire the last one...

        Not that it'll make you feel any better, but games *arent* the only industry you get this shit in. Try comics if you feel like you've got some sanity going spare - all the issues that afflict videogames are present, and the same moronic mentalities are present from all parties concerned. Just try getting a rational explanation for why 20-odd pages of comics cost north of £2.50 (even with adverts in the issue), why the digital editions mostly cost the same as the print editions, or why the collected editions cost as much as the single issues (even if they're reprinting material ages old that has clearly covered its creative costs waaaaaaaaaaaay back). And that's before you get to the numpties who'll tell you that if you don't feel a moral obligation to support retailers still clinging to a business model from the stone age, you're a bastard who's killing the entire medium...

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  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    problem is too many stores

    I'm in west Manchester and there are two in the Trafford Centre and two in the Arndale! There's one store on Bolton and another in Castleford a few miles away.

    Lunacy.

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  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Game should have seen this coming two years ago.

    Took four management mistakes to cause this.

    a) didn't recognise the threat of disintermediation and didn't develop their online capability far enough or fast enough to compensate, even if it meant cannibalising some bricks and mortar shops

    b) persisted in the belief their business was selling plastic boxes and not in selling a unique customer experience

    c) didn't recognise the threat from mobile casual games costing almost nothing.

    d) got into debt to hold onto their business-as-usual position

    It's probably too late to help them now. I don't want to say "I told you so" because I feel sorry for so many of their High St staff.

    (the Woolworth's problems was similar. Our local Woolies is now a Waitrose and I reckon they get about twenty times more money through their tills per minute than Woolies did).

  34. P. Lee Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Byebye speciality shops, which aren't special

    If you can't provide anything unique, you won't survive against the supermarkets and ebay.

    Unlike vinyl or books, its just stuffed full of things which are exactly the same as can be bought for less elsewhere.

  35. Jay 2
    Meh

    For me the demise of Game started some time back when they closed their Canary Wharf branch (probably priced out of the rent I expect). By the time they closed, there was hardly a PS3 section at all (lots of 360 and Wii though) and even the (PS3) pre-owned was very slim pickings. They had a few PC games, but not really much new stuff. Very rarely would I buy something from there, as it was always extremely expensive compared to everywhere else.

    Where I live there's a Game, but I can't say I've really been in there much. As every time I do, I'm reminded of how expensive it all is. I appreciate they're not going to be as cheap as online, but more often than not it's £7-10 over.

    Fortunately CEX have now opened a branch a few mins walk away from them. Before I had to go up a few tube stops or have a bracing walk to the nearest branch. As of late I've managed to offload some of my older games and stuff I'm not playing any more, and stock up on something I may have missed and in one case a new game. Kudos to the nice man who gave me the full fat version of Battlefield 3 (with online stuffs) for the price of the diet version. Done whilst joking that as it had been out for 24 hours I was sure to get my arse kicked online by a load of kids!

  36. Furbian
    Happy

    Good riddance..

    Many moons ago I bought a pair of Xbox (used, but still £8 each) games to play on my Xbox 360, but they weren't compatible. So I took them back, and they refused, apparently I should have known they don't work on the 360, so I left them there, and they were only too happy to keep them.

    So I visit and browse, when bored, but haven't bought anything from them, since, well, quite a long time.

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