That’s right. GAME has officially announced, as of today, that it has ceased trading and has entered administration, signaling the end of one of the largest video-game retailers in the industry.
Stores across the country are already reported to have been shut already (http://bit.ly/H59Ngn), the CEO has resigned and their own website is currently ‘down for maintenance’, with a message claiming they hope to be back up and running soon. In short – GAME is finally going through what has been a long time in the making, as sad as it may be. It is a big blow to the video-game high street presence, but the demise of the chain can be blamed on a multitude of factors.
First and foremost: the pricing. There once was a time when new releases were priced at around £40, the amount that has been the ‘norm’ for a while. However, in recent times, new console releases can sometimes be priced at around £45-50. I know that in our local store, I saw Skyrim being sold (at least two months after release) for £45, whilst the pre-owned version was merely £2 less. This kind of pricing structure cannot survive amidst a climate of cheaper supermarket prices and online shopping, where the prices can typically be much less, even with shipping costs. High profile 3DS titles have been retailing for £39.99 in our local store and that, as far as I’m concerned, is a problem when you can get them for at least £10 cheaper on the internet. Yes, there is a delay in ordering the title and actually receiving it, whereas you can get the item immediately from a store, but that does not negate the higher price.
This is not the only reason I believe GAME has had fault with. The second is their bizarre insistence on having multiple stores merely yards away from each other. It doesn’t require a degree in economics to deduce that this is going to have an impact on the custom received in both stores. We used to have a GAME and a Gamestation store on the same stretch of road in our high street, but the GAME store was shut a long time ago. Quite why GAME employed such a bizarre concept is a mystery to me (perhaps I’d need an economics degree to work that one out…) and I believe this has also contributed to their unfortunate demise.
Regardless of your own personal opinion of GAME, the chain’s closure is not something to be celebrated or applauded. The loss of the company is a big knock-down to the high street presence of video-games and it may push the supermarkets, who generally tend to reduce their prices in competition, to not offer such deductions anymore. Also, the several thousand people who now don’t know whether they will have a job in the near future must surely be going through a special kind of hell. Losing a job in this economic climate is not something anybody wants to hear about, whether you’re the one at risk of losing it or simply reading about it in the newspapers. It’s also even worse given the fact that you cannot easily lay blame for the failure of the chain at the feet of the staff who you see in the stores. It’s not their fault yet they’re the ones who are going to be paying so heavily a price.
In conclusion: the loss of GAME should not be a surprise to most people but is still a big blow. The fall of the chain may signal the rise of smaller, more independent stores or it may not. Perhaps a small phoenix may rise from the ashes of GAME and manage to retain a presence on the high street but for the most part, the firm is all but at death’s door.