Here is the opening from a great article on Eurogamer about the GAME situation at present.
Does anything really matter until you’re personally affected by it? It’s easy enough to ignore financial reports and credit warnings and gloomy editorials – but try ignoring an empty shelf. Try ignoring GAME, the UK’s largest specialist video game shop chain, being unable to to stock Ubisoft’s PlayStation Vita games (until today), Wii role-playing game The Last Story and Tekken 3DS.
As of September 2011, GAME is a hulking worldwide business of 1287 shops, and 615 of those stretch the length and breadth of the UK. GAME took £1.625 billion in revenue in its last full trading year. But when GAME was suddenly asked to pay for stock up front, the wobbly house that credit built nearly wholesale toppled over.
GAME’s not out of the water yet, and nor is high street rival HMV. Emergency bank rescue packages are all that props them up. If GAME and HMV don’t makes ends meet, bailiffs will. After all, business is business, sentimental gaming heritage or not.
But what would happen if GAME died? Here Eurogamer presents a theoretical picture of the future, painted by commenters from all walks of video game industry life.
The first thing to consider is where the 2.5 million people that walk into GAME and Gamestation shops every week go. To supermarkets? Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are regulars on Eurogamer’s many price roundup articles. They’re the obvious alternative. And they may “smell blood”, warns Don McCabe, joint managing director of indie video game chain Chips. “They’re like bloody sharks anyway. They spot HMV and GAME in trouble – if they smell blood and really go for it, they could wipe them out the market and they’ll share the market between themselves and online.”
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An ‘Around the World’ video from December 2010, posted on Game’s investor website.
Take toasters, says McCabe. Several years ago, toasters came in all shapes and sizes and brands. “Then supermarkets came in and undercut everybody,” and the variety disappeared. “Now if you walk into your local supermarket, you’ll get a choice of three: a budget, a premium and ‘best price’ or whatever they call it. They get it made as cheap as hell, maximise the profit on it and there’s no competition.”
As for range – take a look at supermarket books. “There used to be, on every high street, book stores and chains from Waterstones right the way down to Ottakar’s,” remembers McCabe. “You could browse thousands and thousands of books on every subject under the sun.
“Then the supermarkets came in, wiped out the cream, took the top sellers, the premium sellers, sold them as cheap as hell. I remember the Harry Potter books were cheaper to buy from Tesco than from a wholesaler! Now if you walk into your local supermarket, how much range of books have they got? Would it be enough to satisfy you? It’s bland. It’s the 10 per cent of crap.”
“Now if you walk into your local supermarket, how much range of books have they got? Would it be enough to satisfy you? It’s bland. It’s the 10 per cent of crap.”
Don McCabe, joint managing director, Chips
Not all branches of a supermarket sell games. Usually only the major supermarket stores do – the Locals and the Expresses don’t bother. And those obliging supermarket stores don’t offer the library of games that GAME does…..
Personally I don’t think it would be half as bad as is made out in that article. Most people buy games online these days anyway, as they are generally cheaper and its less effort, and also there are the massive number of sales on services such as Steam. If this had happened 10 years ago then the implications would have been much bigger.