GAME To Close 35 More Stores, Shut Gameplay.co.uk

By Craig Pearson on February 23rd, 2012 at 12:47 pm.


Britain’s biggest high-street games retailer, GAME, is to close 35 more stores than had previously been announced, as part of a major restructuring. The company will reduce its current GAME and GameStation shops from 610 down to 550 by Christmas of next year. They’re also shutting down forgotten website gameplay.co.uk, redirecting customers there to GameStation’s website.

A GAME spokesperson had this to say about Gameplay’s closure.

So that all of our customers can enjoy the benefits of the new online platform that we launched last year, Gameplay customers will be served through Gamestation.co.uk from March 1st 2012, including customer support for their purchases

All new orders will be directed through gamestation.co.uk from that date. We’re talking to our customers who access our online community through Gameplay about this today, and look forward to welcoming them to the growing community at gamestation.co.uk.

The noises that have been coming from GAME since the beginning of the year haven’t been healthy: the retailer lost credit insurance from its bank and it has been alleged that this has created an inability to stock significant new titles, although GAME have denied that this is the reason for their absence on shelves. Over the past year, the company’s share price has dropped precipitously.

Reorganisation is needed to prevent the UK games industry suffering a major blow: it wouldn’t just be a chain of high-street shops that goes under, it would be the face of gaming on the high street: thousands of people’s jobs are at risk, revenue across all publishers would be affected. There’s a potential terrifying domino effect if GAME dies.

Good luck.

Via MCV.

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112 Comments »

  1. Lewie Procter says:

    But what’s that got to do with PC games?

    • One Pigeon says:

      Everything. I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my regular supply of Sims expansion packs

    • bglamb says:

      Oooooh, burn.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Indeed. Ludicrously overpriced and always a dreadful selection. The average shopper is a confused auntie, an Xbox360 COD fan to whom the thought of google-shopping the game didn’t even occur, or a young girl bullying her parents in to buying an expansion for the Sims (Edit: Ha, One Pigeon got in there before me on that one).

      The only high street media shops I have any time for any more are places like Fopp because I know that the vast majority of stuff they stock is of an extremely high quality.

    • Gothnak says:

      I tried to buy Crusader Kings 2 in there last week… I failed…

      Will i mourn their passing?

      Nope…

    • Khemm says:

      Last time I checked, they have a nice selection of PC games on their website. I bought quite a few games from them, actually.

    • westyfield says:

      Their website is ok – got some good deals on there (cheers Lewie!) and never had a problem with delivery. Their shops, on the other hand… haven’t bought a game in a shop since Starcraft 2, and I don’t see any reason why I would start again now.

    • mamret says:

      If you think GAME’s PC selection is bad then you have obviously never been to Irish GameStop. Even The Sims fan would be disappointed.

    • mouton says:

      I do use Game website to order PC games now and then – especially steamworks titles that are grossly overpriced here in the euro country.

    • Sirico says:

      Now where I get a 2 for £20 deal on street cleaner simulator!

    • sephiroth says:

      As a youngster I enjoyed going in to game and looking for new releases to expand my gaming world, then at some point they stopped caring about games and started selling toys. I of course am refering to console games.

      About 2 years ago I took a trip to my nearest game store in the hope of picking up something from their classic but unsold so still on the shelf range, something I might of missed first time or just the kind of thing I don’t buy online cause I want a box. I got there and all they had were the sims!

      At the point of being a sims and toys retailer I dispared and wondered how long it was until there was no more game on the high street, about 2 years it turns out.

      Let this be a leason to you PC gamers are kings, ignore them at your peril

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yeah, gameplay.co.uk had some nice deals, indeed, from what I remember. Pity.

    • Vagrant says:

      This obviously signifies the death of console gaming.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well every Christmas I end up with GAME vouchers, so once a year I buy something from them. That’s what it has to do with pc games.

    • frenz0rz says:

      I bought a copy of Grim Fandango from Game when I was younger, so that was nice. Oh, and an obscenely discounted copy of Dreamfall Collectors Edition less than a month after its release (presumeably because nobody knew or cared what it was). Perhaps also a few Sold Out Software classics I’d missed over the years.

      Aside from that? Uhm… nothing much really. Especially since they more or less eliminated their PC game shelves many years ago in favour of console games, expensive Prima Guides and stuffed Tails dolls. Their passing shall not be missed by me.

    • thebluemonkey81 says:

      HAA HA!

      My heart bleeds for the grumpy teens who think the average looking girl behind the counter is super hot because she’s clearly a nerd for working in a game store.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Thanks, Lewie; wanted to make that comment and was glad to see it already in top spot. :D

    • Captain Hijinx says:

      Oh Lewie.

      That was beautiful.

    • Sarlix says:

      I brought Deus Ex from GAME for a Fiver. Not bad eh?

    • Syra says:

      EVERYTHING =( I preordered diablo3 from gameplay like a year ago for 20 quid… now what the hell do I do :s

      Got an email saying gamestation will handle it but GAME and gamestation have been terrible with my preorders in the past while gameplay was actually weirdly efficient. Do I cancel and jsut pay an extra 15 quid to guarantee it arrives from amazon?

      Oh the conundrums this has posed.

  2. arrjayjee says:

    I remember my manager at EB Games here in Australia talking about negotiations with Game to be bought out by EB here in Australia, but EB ultimately determined it wouldn’t be worth the investment. I didn’t understand why at the time, but it’s becoming pretty clear.

    • dahools says:

      Funny that because GAME bought out Electronic Beautique here un the UK. I just about remember going into an EB to buy games in my hometown,

      I’m sure if game went under in a couple of years a few EB stores would pop up again, certainly in the cities for sure!

    • 7rigger says:

      @dahools

      Actually the opposite is true – Electronics Boutique UK seperated from it’s US parent (I believe they bought themselves off of their parent company by buying shares, but can’t really remember) and bought GAME from it’s original founders. They then changed their name to GAME, although I can’t remember the exact reason why.

    • Phantoon says:

      The death of conglomerates like this sounds like a good thing for Austrailian gamers. My limited understanding of the economics behind pricing in Austrailia leads me to believe that if prices weren’t fixed by major retailers elsewhere in the world, my friends that live in that irradiated wasteland wouldn’t have to pay 100 AUS for every game on Steam.

  3. Cerzi says:

    Ahh, gameplay… I remember the double-spread ad that appeared in every PC Gamer back when I was a kid. Very rarely actually bought from them but would spend far too much time gazing at what was available, trying to decide what to spend my pocket money on.

    Then I’d go into my local GAME to buy it. Back when GAME was cool, man.

    • Necroscope says:

      I used to go into GAME in Poole rifle through the PC games section, hold 3 or 4 while I made my decision, then thought F it I’ll get them cheaper online, putting them back in a random place.
      The PC section always seemed to be diminishing in size and moved about the shop floor, often was a quest in itself to locate the shelf. The most decisive I’ve ever been was when I strode in 12th Nov. last year, with a magnificent smile beaming from ear to ear to buy Skyrim. “Take my £35 and enjoy it”, I said with tremendously sincere enthusiasm. I walked out of there with pride, fist aloft, then started running down the high street to get home quick to install it..

    • bglamb says:

      I used to shop at game back when the had the (frankly insane) policy of no-questions-asked returns on PC games within the first 2 weeks.

    • SirDigsby says:

      @bglamb I remember those glorious days: a friend of mine was once shouted at and refused service for handing over a thick wad of receipts and attempting to return an eighth consecutive game.

      Sorry to hear about gameplay.com; got some great deals from that site (including a free copy of Deus Ex:HR).

    • Bhaumat says:

      @Necroscope
      I honestly can’t remember ever buying anything from the Poole GAME. When the Gamestation first came along, it at least had a few interesting things.
      I still wistfully remember the second hand market-thing which used to be there many years ago, with it’s racks of cheap and interesting megadrive and ps1 games. Before it got shut down for some sort of legal shenanigans I was too young to understand.
      Heck, I think I might have bought more at the Electronics Boutique than the GAME.

    • Jimbo says:

      The GAME in Poole by the railway tracks was my place for games too, about 15 or so years ago. It was about 30 miles away from where I lived, but still the closest place I knew of that sold games. Now there seems to be half a dozen places to buy games in every town (not by railways tracks though, and therefore worse).

    • Jimbo says:

      “I still wistfully remember the second hand market-thing which used to be there many years ago, with it’s racks of cheap and interesting megadrive and ps1 games.”

      Ha, that place was both amazing and shady as fuck.

    • Bhaumat says:

      “amazing and shady as fuck” – Making it the perfect place to leave your kids to entertain themselves for a couple of hours, apparently.
      Good times.

    • Enso says:

      Rumour went around my town that Gamestation, unable to shift the vast amount of old games (Mega Drive/NES/SNES/Etc..), had them destroyed. Bastards.

  4. plugmonkey says:

    I would suggest that Game could close approximately 300 of its 600 stores, and still leave one store in every town it currently has a presence in.

    The fact that this company is in trouble should be no surprise to anyone. My town has three stores within 10 minutes walk of each other, a pattern that is repeated up and down the country.

    I can’t think of a single other highstreet retailer that follows this approach. Even the supermarket chains don’t have their stores so close.

    • KikiJiki says:

      I think that’s a problem that a lot of the large retailers are encountering now. Black’s the outdoors store recently went into administration – they had something like 3-500 stores between their own brand and Millets nationwide.

      There’s simply no need for luxury retailers to have a store in every small town in this economic climate, and they definitely can’t sustain that many stores compared to sales right now.

    • apocraphyn says:

      What you say is true. Though I have noticed the same behaviour in Subway branches. There didn’t use to be any…then one or two appeared…SUDDENLY, THOUSANDS OF THEM ON EVERY STREET. Seriously, walk down from Piccadilly to Market Street in Manchester and you walk past at least 50 bloody Subways.

      …alternatively, you can head to the Arndale Centre and visit one of three different Game stores.

    • MrPyro says:

      It’s similar in Sheffield; one Game in the town centre, and another 2 in the main out-of-town shopping centre about 5 minutes walk from each other.

      I’ve always assumed that it’s the result of them buying out other companies and keeping their stores.

    • KikiJiki says:

      @MrPyro

      It’s worse I think, when I lived there a few years ago there was one GAME in the high street, there used to be a concession store in the basement of Debenhams, a GameStation (owned by GAME) about 30secs walk from there and then the two in Meadowhall (one of those was formerly an EB).

    • DrScuttles says:

      Yeah, I thought that was odd last time I went to Meadowhall while visiting family.
      I also don’t understand why they kept all those Gamestations as well (I’m guessing it’s something to do with the ‘darker and edgier’ branding appealing to the yoofs with My First Debit Card). If for some strange reason I find myself in Wood Green, there’s a GAME in the shopping centre and a Gamestation just a minute down Green Lanes.

    • tehfish says:

      Definitely this

      Theres two games and a gamestation all within 2minutes walk of each other in the town centre here, the only ‘competition’ (lol HMV) is so overpriced no-one buys games there.

      So the only people they’re competing with is themselves, madness!

    • GiantRaven says:

      ‘I can’t think of a single other highstreet retailer that follows this approach. Even the supermarket chains don’t have their stores so close.’

      You’re utterly mad. Here in Leicester I can make a fun journey walking from one Tesco to the next. Back in my hometown of Nottingham there were three absolutely huge HMV stores within walking distance of one another, along with the HMV-owned Fopp.

      It isn’t just Game stores that follow this stupidity.

    • Skabooga says:

      It was a classic joke a while back of Starbucks stores opening across the street from each other. It must be easier to make this mistake than it seems.

    • Wabznasm says:

      This is an artefact from the EB /GAME merger/buyout back in 1999. I’ve never understood why they didn’t sell off half their stores once the decision was made to rebrand all the Electronics Boutiques as GAME.

      It’s not like they’ve ever made use of the extra shelf space; the stock in each store is pretty much identical.

    • Jimbo says:

      I’m not sure you can really call it ‘stupidity’ or a ‘mistake’ in the case of Tesco or Starbucks…

    • Glycerine says:

      I used to work at the Sheffield Gamestation (during the time it was taken over by Game – probably around 5 years ago now). It’s definitely down to buyouts – to my knowledge there were ~5 stores owned by the same company in Sheffield:

      - Two in Meadowhall [big out-of-town shopping centre], one used to be an EB and was converted to a Game after they merged.
      - One on Fargate [main shopping street], fairly sensible
      - Two on the Moor [main shopping street in the dodgy bit of town], one was a Gamestation (who were in competition until Game brought them out ~5/6 years ago, they used to target the cheaper sites in towns specifically), the other was a Game concession stand in a Debenhams, bit of an odd choice but perhaps going for the browsing mum’s market?

      The problem seems to be that retail game stores are obsessed with buying out their competition, with no real plan for what to do afterwards. They’re not buying out chains that have stores in locations they don’t cover – the exact opposite in fact for the most part, but then they’re not closing down duplicate stores either, just carrying on stealing each other’s revenue, but without offering anything different.

      Not a huge loss for PC gaming though – there was the odd decent deal, but they make fairly small amounts selling new games (they’re still more expensive than online mostly because of the extra costs associated with running a retail store), the vast majority of revenue comes from 2nd hand, which is becoming harder to do on PC as more games require registration.

      Bit of a blow for my inner child who used to head down to the shops to buy new pc games in giant cardboard boxes though!

    • kinelfire says:

      Starbucks and Subway (franchise stores, mostly, so the actual company probably doesn’t care, so long as they get their money) are following a common business practise. Flood a market – open a metric fuckton of branches in an area; kill off the competition, close the poorer preforming branches. With Starbucks, even if a location is underperforming, it matters more that the brand is there, so those stores are supported by the others, financially speaking. Seems to work for them; I’m pretty sure I read recently that they’re opening more stores.

      Though that has nothing much to do with GAME, really.

    • Groove says:

      Exactly! Shutting a few shops seems pretty essential.

      They didn’t seem to shut any stores after buying Gamestation, or EB if you go far enough back in time. Aberdeen has the ludicrous setup of them having a Game and Gamestation <5 minutes apart on the main street, then another store in a shopping centre 10 minutes away. To top it off, they actually distribute stock well (and don't stock very much) so each store has exactly the same product, at exactly the same prices. They could close the middle one without even losing coverage. It's bonkers.

      Edinburgh had the same thing, old Game store, newer Gamestation that opened nearby (ONE minute away) and another branch down the road. They seem to have a fascination with owning stores on both sides of an HMV, since both cities have a huge one in the middle. With losses like theirs, it can't be a successful strategy.

    • Syra says:

      @ apocraphyn

      That’s because subway is delicious. Walking down the highstreet it’s perfectly reasonably to enter a subway, buy a tasty, tasty sub, finish it walking along and then happen upon another subway, where you may wish to enter and buy another tasty, tasty sub.

  5. WMain00 says:

    Publishers will survive. A domino effect will not occur. If Game collapses another retail chain will take its place. Simple as that.

  6. lordcooper says:

    And I got a job at one of them yesterday :(

    • CaptainHairy says:

      Wait, you got hired at a GAME? The store I work at is meant to be an 8-9 person store, but we’re running on an effective staff of 4.5 and keep getting told that there’s a recruitment freeze so we’re not allowed to take anyone on.

  7. applecup says:

    I miss when Gameplay was good. You know, before GAME bought it.

    Also the fact that GAME will insist on having several stores within spitting distance of each other likely doesn’t help. Never mind when they have a GAME right next door to a Gamestation.

    Idiots.

    (I should probably use up my loyalty card points before they’re even more worthless, huh?)

  8. Limes says:

    Ah Gameplay.. used to buy all my games there as a kid, it was the only online store I knew, so much joy.

  9. Dowson says:

    “Good luck.”

    I think you mean good riddance, this is a company who has continuously abused its market position, preventing games being released on Steam and threatening companies not to stock games if they get undercut on digital editions.

    • Khemm says:

      Meanwhile, Steam is abusing its position in the digital distribution market – they force the client down everyone’s throats with Steamworks tools, even though they could be separate.
      It’s getting worse – do you know Daedalic, who created The Whispered World, Deponia, A New Beginning? Valve kept rejecting their games over and over, even when they eventually appeared on Steam store, it was way too late for them to sell decent amounts of copies and -75% sales could hardly provide enough money to pay the bills.
      So now, Daedalic will join the legion of devs and publishers on Valve’s leash and use Steam DRM in their future games, because that guarantees they will be available digitally on Steam day one.
      That’s one brilliant way to ensure everyone jumps on the Steam DRM bandwagon, Valve! Steam is no longer monopoly in the making, Valve own the PC games market already.

    • Milky1985 says:

      If your going to bring a Anti steam rant into a topic that has nothing at all to do with steam at least provide citations for your complaints, such as evidence surrounding the rejection of the game and reasons etc.

      With the evidence your providing a service by informing people about other points of view and maybe chaning minds. Without the evidence however you are basically the crazy person on the corner of the street who complains that the government took their shoes and implanted a chip in their head.

      (Disclaimer : Not saying that hte points arn’t valid, but please provide evidence as it would be interesting to see reasons why the game was denied and what the developer was doing)

    • Khemm says:

      @Milky
      Hey, I only mentioned Steam because the poster above implied Game are some kind of evil doers by abusing their position and trying to fight “poor” Steam.
      Here’s the link, it’s in German however. I recommend reading all the pages, you’ll get the whole picture.
      http://forum.daedalic.de/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=1152&start=0

      Daedalic have found themselves in a very tough spot – retail in the West is shrinking, they need digital distribution to reach as wide an audience as possible, Valve keeps rejecting their games (just like they rejected Gemini Rue while allowing some shit casual or action games to sell), the German publisher Koch Media insists that they use Steam for that reason, because by using Steam DRM, you guarantee the release on the Steam store and don’t have to fear being rejected anymore.

      So much for “Valve helps indie devs” LIES I’ve heard so many times.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Valve doesn’t prevent games from being released on other distribution channels, or threaten companies not to stock games if they get undercut and adding Steamworks doesn’t stop devs from making it available through other channels.

      At least we don’t have to deal with Khemm’s choice of DRM – Ubisoft Online Services Platform and Solidshield Tages.

    • Kaira- says:

      You mean “they were rumoured to abuse their position”, it was never proven. But please, let the shit-throwing continue.

    • UnravThreads says:

      And who came to the rescue of Daedalic? Lace Mamba Global, who seem to be going from strength to strength.

    • pertusaria says:

      No games developer should have to look to Steam as their only lifeline. While it must be great to have the profile of being on the front page of Steam for a few days, good games can get good sales figures outside of Steam. Funny enough, sales figures also seem to be what finally persuades Steam to take the plunge with small developers, the first time they agree to carry a game. So it’s up to us as gamers to seek out great games, play them, buy them, and tell everyone about them, without needing them to be on any particular platform before we bother to have a look. I accept that this isn’t perfect and doesn’t work every time, but that’s a market for you.

      Thanks for mentioning The Whispered World – I think this had flown under the radar for me. I’ll put it in my “look for the German version” box.

  10. talon03 says:

    If I’m in the shopping centre I would tend to walk into our local GAME to see what’s on offer. Precious little usually. Their new games are always circa £10 more expensive than online (£15 to £20 if you savygamer it), and the only games they have for cheap are the rubbish ones they can’t get shifted.
    Their PC section consists of one block of shelves containing nothing but Sims expansions, FM 2012 and WoW time cards, and a centre island with a raft of “budget” games. Asking floor staff for help finding things is an impossible task as none of them seem to have any experience with PC gaming.
    GAME brought this on themselves.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Agree that they brought this on themselves.

      They should have sold off 50% of their stores years ago after they bought out Electronics Boutique here in the UK, and then had another store sale when they acquired GameStation more recently.

      They should also have made a dedicated effort to provide training and product knowledge to the drones they fill their stores with. It’s really fucking annoying to know more about games than the people working in the store.

    • Jimbo says:

      It would have been pretty silly to buy up all of their competition and then immediately sell all of their stores. The whole point was to make sure their business was hoovering up as many £’s of game spending on the high street as possible and leave no chance at all for a significant new competitor to rise against them. By selling the stores, they’d have opened the door for a new Electronics Boutique or GameStation to fill the vacuum and they’d be right back where they were before the acquisitions.

      It probably doesn’t make sense to maintain 2/3 stores in the same town anymore, because high street game spending has presumably been declining over the last few years and is going to continue to do so. In other words, they had the right number of stores to efficiently dominate the (high street) market then, but that same number of stores is now oversupplying the market as it exists today.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Jimbo given that they control the majority of retail distribution in the UK, any competitor would have been fine as they’d have still been giving money to GAME.

      Even when times are good it doesn’t make sense to have multiple stores catering to the same demographic in close proximity, nevermind that they’re all differently branded which confuses people.

  11. SlyDave says:

    Whilst it’s not nice that people on the shop floor will be losing their jobs (and not the management that fails to spot trends, shifts in market and adjust accordingly).

    I can’t say I’m saddened by the decline in Game stores. They are overpriced and poorly stocked – they can not complete and rather than trying to adapt, they use their weight push publishers into exclusivity deals – restricting the channels by which I can purchase games (I have no idea how any publisher can think such a thing is a sound business decision!).

    In Southampton there are 3 GAME stores within 5 mins walking distance from one another. (East Street, Bargate and West Quay), and it’s been that way for many years. maybe if their management was not stuck in the past, they could have seen this was silly, reduced the stores to 1 and lower prices to remain competitive.

    I feel bad for those losing their job, but not for the (eventual) lose of GAME.

    Edit: oh yeah, they also owned a GameStation in BarGate, so that makes 4 stores within 5 mins of each other in one city’s shopper district.

    • SlappyBag says:

      I worked at the West Quay store for two years unti I quit in September last year. They also horrible to work for when you, one of the few who know anything about games (and a budding game dev) want to actually help the customers instead of being forced into pushing the customers to buy more useless products.

      They have no idea what they are doing, from being on the inside I can say that with confidence.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      A couple of months ago the one next to Burger King was still trying to sell Fifa’05 for PC in some battered case for like £7. For console they have racks and racks of Pre-Owned, about 70/30 split compared to new (across all stores.) And as for the PC section: standard Sims/WoW timecards/CoD.

      No wonder nobody buys any of their rubbish, but yet most of the stores have people in them?? At least the East Street centre one went, no surprise considering there was one 45 seconds away.

    • slick_101 says:

      In the BarGate that was a GAME too, I think you are getting confused with “The mall” as there is a Gamestation across from the entrance to there. And yes, I am finding this quite spooky how we all know this place

  12. barleyarley says:

    This isn’t at all surprising tbh, Game is stupidly overpriced and it’s entire business model seems to be based around extorting parents on Call of Duty titles.

    People say that the high street is dying, but when stores like Game so clearly take advantage of their customers you can see why.

    http://www.mechagaming.co.uk

    • Milky1985 says:

      Bad form to advertise your own gaming site in a thread about other people in the games sector losing jobs in my opinion.

  13. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    I’m really not sure there will be a terrible domino effect. When Borders went under Amazon did just fine.

    It is terrible people are losing their jobs and I wish this weren’t happening to them but I don’t think sales of games will be that badly affected.

    • mondomau says:

      On the other hand, Waterstones (the direct brick and mortar counterpart of Borders) actually seem to have done better – they don’t seem to offer anywhere near the same level of value promotions and offers they had when Borders was threatening to shunt them off the high st.

  14. InternetBatman says:

    I halfway hope this happens to Gamestop. It’s sounds identical to Game.

  15. mbp says:

    Of course I feel for those who are going to lose their jobs but I cannot see any future in dedicated high street game retailing.

    - We have already seen the PC market move almost entirely online.
    - Hand held gaming is moving to closed online app stores.
    - Consoles game sales are surely going to move online shortly and if they can get away with it they are more likely to follow the closed App store model than the open Steam / Origin model.

    There may still be a place for a bricks and mortar shops selling “Wii Fit” or family friendly casual games but this market is more easily served by Tescos / WH Smith.

    • dahools says:

      Another point you missed there is

      - the decline of the second hand market which is/was massive business e.g. selling your games back after completing them for the next one half price or buying pre-owned to start with.

      I know myself and all my friends used to do it regularly seeing which place would give us most money for our games.

      DRM and one time activation codes etc killed that off though, so even some console games you cant sell back or pass on now to friends or family. (the latter bit being a different argument/ topic but a bit relevant to the decline of GAME stores)

    • Jimbo says:

      Agree with all of this.

    • UnravThreads says:

      PC almost all online? Huh? I’d say it’s probably still stuck around the 50/50 mark, no more than 60/40 in either direction. The Witcher 2, IIRC, did 75% of its sales retail.

  16. bit_crusherrr says:

    Remember when GameStation was good? You know before GAME bought them.

    I imagine GAME can afford to close a few stores, theres 4 game/gamestation stores in town all about a 5 min walk from each other. Do they really need that many stores?

  17. Apples says:

    Good, GAME’s rubbish. My experience is the same as everyone else’s – going in, looking at a new shiny game priced at something like £50, then thinking “I can get that for £35 online” and leaving. They still, bewilderingly, have that tall spinny thing of really old PC games and shovelware that has held the same simulations and cut-price hidden-object games from when I was about 12, and then not much else for the PC. Even their used games are £10 over what they are new online. Shame about the jobs but crap shop and good riddance to it; there’s no use to a place that only stocks overpriced new games anyway when gaming is no longer niche and supermarkets all stock those too.

  18. Tei says:

    What about that rumour that some shop was banning the digital download sale of some games? Even games made in uk? Its that shop Game?

    Anyway good luck to these that will end unemployed.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Yes Tei, GAME have abused their position in the market for years as a major distributor of the physical copies of games, bullying smaller stores that rely on their distribution arm into being unable to compete with them on price.

      They’ve also if I recall made ultimatums to publishers regarding prices/availability of titles on Steam and possibly other DD services.

      All around they’re an awfully run company that got so bloated they lost sight of their original target demographic and are now paying the price.

    • Milky1985 says:

      The banning of sales on steam was a rumor that was never proven afaik, GAME actually came out with a press statement saying no it wasn’t us but the internet basically decided that it was them based no the rumor :P

  19. Durkonkell says:

    Man! I actually used Gameplay.co.uk fairly often! Well, up until the point where they screwed up my Skyrim pre-order.

    Had no idea they were owned by GAME. I feel… I think I need to take a shower now.

    EDIT: Actually, after they failed to process my order and only told me on the release day, I went into GAME and bought a copy there – the only time I’ve used retail recently. I effectively ended up giving them £5 more money for screwing up…

  20. Auru says:

    Last game I bought from a store was LA Noire, it wasn’t from Game either… 5 minutes later walking down the road I actually got harrassed by a Game employee in the street for not getting the game at there store.

    Goodbye Game.

  21. Monchberter says:

    For my sins, I went into a central London GAME on Tuesday to look for a copy of Portal 2 on the 360 (not for me, honest!).

    Did they have it new? No. Did they have it pre owned? No. Did they care? No.

  22. MrThingy says:

    No PC Games. Full of chavs and neds. Feel sorry for the staff, but good riddance to a horrid shop.

    PS – OCD, don’t like people touching my discs and putting them in the box… with their snotty, crisp-greasy fingers.

  23. Drayk says:

    Every retailer I know is more expensive than Amazon… I buy my games on it, in second hand on ebay and in sales on steam… Brick stores are going down the dinosaur path…

  24. QuackingPlums says:

    The one reason why I would still use a bricks and mortar store is to get something right away, and GAME used to be my store of choice for those must-have-it-now moments. When they stopped customers from ringing a store directly to check on stock before jumping in the car, they lost my business. I don’t *like* looking at empty shop units in my town centre but at times it appears that companies are deliberately making it harder for me to spend money with them!

  25. Milky1985 says:

    As long as the ones being shut are the “duplicates” from towns this should be ok, bad for the staff i know but hopefully they can be relocated to the other stores.

    I don’t get why people want GAME to fail however, the loss of a major game retailer will be awful for the market.

    Less discoverabilty for games for starts (because despite what you think about availablity, they do still stock quite a few different games on the bottom shelfs places like this) will basically mean only the big name releases ever get the public attention (kids will just buy Cod 67). It will be less discoverablity because as much as lots of people hate to admit it, a lot of games are sold based on people walking into a store, normally mums and dads walking into the store saying “pick a game”. When the big retailers go they will go to supermarkets instead, who WILL only stock the top 10, simple as that.

    Also when it goes supermarket only (and lets face it, this is where it looks to be heading in terms of brick and morter anyway) you will get your fabled lower prices, great right! Well no, your favorite developer will get less because the supermarkets will use the buying power to lower the price (£10 when you buy some fruit and veg). This will mean more nickle and diming, more crap dlc cut from the game and ironically again, only big name releases get anywhere due to more risk for publishers.

    If it goes the other way and you get your digital only the price will be better…. for the developer. The claim that digital prices are higher due to retailers is in my opinion rubbish, there are pleanty of games that have massive reductions in retail and zero in digital. It is my belief (note belief, no evidence for it but basing this on logic) that if there was such a contract, there would be something in there saying that if retail prices falls, so could the digital, this just makes business sense. It also makes business sense so that if you go online and cut out the middle man, to keep the price high as you canget more money.

    Competition is needed both on the high street and between high street and digital.

    Also one thing i have always thought of, everyone has a go at the high street stores for the second hand market and how its pushed, saying that developers and publishers suffer. Yet the reason they have to push this market is because they make sod all on new game sales.Everyone is saying that stores should give publishers money from second hand sales etc but why not go the other way, why don’t publishers give a bit more back for a new sale menaing they wouldn’t have to push the second hand sales as much to make the same level of profit. GAME have a duty to the shareholders to make a profit, the publishers arn’t going to help so they had to look at something else. If they didn’t then shareholders may take legal action (not sure if its law to maximise return in the UK but think it is in

    What i personally hope happens is that they sell of the gamestation arm to another company, meaning there will be actual competition on the high street again and peopel can keep jobs.

    Anyway rants over. tl;dr version Sad to see people lose jobs, bad for market if it carries on, supermarkets as only PoS would be crap, second hand sales publishers fault imo

    • RobF says:

      Sorry, you deserve a far better response than this but I’m just out the door. I think it’s a bit askew to see it as people wanting Game to fail.

      It’s more that they wanted Game to be the store they would want to visit and then when Game failed to do that, then it becomes hard for people to justify its existence.

    • Jimmeh says:

      I think you raise some valid points. However, having visited my local store yesterday for the first time in probably 2 years, I have to echo Lewie’s response of “But what’s that got to do with PC games?”

      Let me expand a little on why I have so little sympathy for the company in general, aside from the unemployment issue.

      I think your argument applies directly to the console market, and it will definitely have an impact there in terms of “discoverability”. As such I think we would see a knock on effect from the big multi-format games, but the majority of the PC gaming market doesn’t find out about new releases from the high-street anymore. We have more than enough digital distribution platforms (steam, origin, etc) and catch-all media retailers (play.com, amazon, etc) sending us marketing emails, as well as gaming news sites such at this. A PC game marketed at PC gamers wouldn’t even notice the absence of a high-street presence in my opinion.

      Once I had fought my way through all the “plushies” and pre-owned bin roadblocks, the PC shelf consisted of 1 bay at the absolute back of the store. Their selection, as other people have stated, consisted of Sims expansions, WoW time cards and a football manager games. Their only display box for Kingdoms of Amalur (which you would expect to have pride of place being a new release and all) was at floor level down in 18th place, and obscured by the shelf above it to the point where you would almost have to put your ear to the ground to notice it.

      After successfully alienating PC gamers over a period of 5+ years, and having the Steam sales figures rubbed in their faces, they decided digital distribution was to blame for all their problems. Publicly whining about how the other digital distribution children weren’t playing fair. If they don’t want to stock PC games, that’s their decision, but don’t insult our intelligence. Gameplay.co.uk used to be the go-to place for my games as a child living off pocket money and birthday handouts, and then overnight went from the most competitive retailer I ever found to the least. No surprise this coincided with GAME’s acquisition.

      Any company that exudes this level of contempt for people who simply want to give them money, people who have visited games related stores for 20 odd years to see what’s new and exciting, have no place on the high street from my perspective. I’m sure many of us here have fond memories of walking into game stores and watching the screens with demos running, the playable booths, and the man behind the till who would hook up a game of your choosing for you to try before you bought it.

      Somewhere along the way their focus shifted, and these are the consequences. I will not mourn their loss when they inevitably go under, and I hope someone learns some valuable lessons from their failure.

  26. Xanadu says:

    Popped in earlier this week as I was walking past to price check 2nd hand Wii games for the kids.
    PC selection was a third of a shelf – WoW, Sims and some Modern Battlershooty thing. Oh and Football Manager. Didn’t buy anything. Don’t think I have since the best PC value stopped being their 3 for £15 sales and started being amazon or digital discounts.

    Their business model is outdated, due to supermarkets, amazon and downloads. Even 2nd hand is done better by people like CEX due to synergies with video and electricals. Unless they can add value over and above their competitors (eg knowledgeable staff, playable in store trials, in store multiplayer contests to tie them into local community etc) then they’ll continue to lose market share to people who can do it better or cheaper.Which is acrying shame, as I’d like my hobbies to be represented on the high street instead of just clothing, mobile phone and charity shops, but it’s not going to happen.

    • phlebas says:

      Don’t knock charity shops – they often have a better selection of PC games than anywhere else on the high street…

    • Xanadu says:

      Good point well made – in my most local small town since Woolworths closed the charity shops are the ONLY place you can buy PC games on the high street. Also if you’re going to buy 2nd hand (so no money goes to developer) you might as well make the cash you spend go to a good cause.

  27. hypercrisis says:

    Poor Gamestation. Used to work for them before they became this asset thrown around by a succession of failing companies. Employees used to be treated well, now I hear nothing good about working there.

  28. celozzip says:

    ffs i preordered me3 from them as amazon delivered my last preorder 2 days late and everyones been saying how game are always on time. do i still get my game now or what?

  29. newprince says:

    I must come clean that I am a ‘merican and have no idea what ‘high street’ means. Is this the equivalent of upmarket? Or just retail?

    • MrThingy says:

      Just means a bricks and mortar store. You have your ‘malls’ and we have our ‘high street’, except no-one goes into the shops on ours…

    • pertusaria says:

      High street means that you’re shopping in a town or city, not in a mall; malls in Europe tend to be on the outskirts of the city, where there was still space to build a big soulless box. You’re also not shopping at a market – you’re going from one retail store to another rather than from stall to stall.

      When you’re talking about fashion, or any other industry where you can get handcrafted stuff for an absolute fortune, it also means it’s the stuff normal people usually buy, like shopping in JC Penneys rather than buying a designer dress or asking a tailor to make you a suit.

      Other than that, yeah, high street is equivalent to a mall except that you sometimes get rained on.

  30. Ridnarhtim says:

    I’m a big fan of GAME, but over the past two months, I haven’t been able to buy anything I wanted from them. I’ve even set up alerts for a few items, and they haven’t trigged at all. Clearly, they ARE having troubles stocking

  31. Network Crayon says:

    Whilst i don’t mourn GAME’s demise (I’ve never shopped there) i do think its sad how stunted the UK’s game industry is and losing a large company that’s sort of part of it is a shame i suppose. not that retail is directly related to development really but theres an underlying culture that seems like a badly watered plant in the UK.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Well we used to have three separate companies (4 if you count CEX but that is more specialist imo).

      Then GAME bought them all out.

  32. Farsearcher says:

    Strangely enough the PC section in my local Game wasn’t bad. It got reduced before Christmas but once Christmas passed it was replaced. I’ve seen a few things I wouldn’t of expected in there, Sword of the stars complete, crusader kings, and some other Paradox titles, a few other indie bits and pieces as well as some mainstream stuff.

    I like boxed games so while I do order many online this is a worrying development. Gamestation barely stock and PC games at all so PC’s retail prescence – which is still significan revenue wise – could be greatly diminished.

  33. AngryAnt says:

    Disapointed that Game is closing (for the people who are losing their jobs), but honestly can’t say i didn’t see this coming (surprised its not more to be honest).

    Last time i went into Game i pre ordered a game, Dragon Age O i think. Went online when i got home only to find that the preorder was cheaper online, phoned up straight away to cancel. I would prefer to give a brick and mortar store my money, but when its £10+ cheaper online, i may aswell be giving it a random guy on the street.
    Sadly i went in a few days later to buy a game on the spur of the moment, paid way over the odds for it (think it was cities XL) and found the only copy of said new game between the sims, WoW cards and FM.. Plus the store was infested with Pokémon too (can’t believe no one remembers when Game was also mad over Pokémon).

    Fond memories, but they lost the plot ages ago. I used to waste alot of time in the Game at Cribbs Causeway, broswing their huge PC selection, infact i owe Game the reason i’m into PC gaming.. Spotted a BF1942 box looking sad for itself, never looked back.. Now adays i spend more than 10mins looking for the PC section. Its right at the back next to the Wii games and when you stand at that one shelve you get given “trololol you r pc gamer? n00b” looks from everyone else in the store.

    Its pretty funny though that in Scunthorpe there is actually a Game and a Gamestation right next to each other! (with a subway in between if memory serves >.<) Only two game shops inside the high street and people wonder why no one goes into them anymore…

  34. HighMemetic says:

    Die you bastards! DIE!!

  35. Tams80 says:

    I get dragged into GAME by friends. I just look through the three small shelves of PC games on sale (often 2 for £10 or 3 for £20). Sometimes there are some alright deals there. I got almost all of the C&C games in one of those deals. One of the product keys was invalid though…

  36. buzzmong says:

    My local Game has got a HMV above it and a Gamestation not 1 minute away (30 seconds at a run, tops).

    I was in there the other day and I found nothing on the shelves that interested me. A couple of new titles in the PC Chart section (although 2 whole shelves devoted to SWTOR and it’s DLC), but the budget stock, of which I used to purchase frequently, hasn’t been updated in at least a year, if not two.

    Said budget stock is also lacking decent budget titles, not a Thief, System Shock, Quake, Doom or the like on the shelves. Just mediocre titles, nothing that you’d call a “classic” or even that noteworthy.

    Now I rather like buying physical copies, in so far that the last couple of full price games I’ve bought have been boxed ones (Skyrim, DX:HR and BF3), but I buy them from Amazon or Play, as Game charge console game prices for them.

    So, not only do they not really have any stock I want to buy, they also charge far too much for the very few new titles they get in.

    I hope this restructuring will allow them to actually be a bit more agile and stock some titles.

  37. namad says:

    game is horribly evil, who cares if they die out. people will still buy games, they just won’t buy them from game. any short term publisher lost profits will be recouped in the long run not having game lie to them and steal from them, break their contract agreements and do all sorts of other awful things to the publishers.

  38. bill says:

    I used to love going into GAME/EB and browsing their games selection back when I was young. Back when we had big box games with big manuals and everything smelled lovely. (except the employees/customers).

    Of course, back then games were a lot more expensive… so now i can probably get a lot more games… but I think back rather nostalgically about the experience.

    Recently went back to my hometown and found that instead of 3-4 separate games stores it now has (in the same locations) 3-4 game/gamestation stores selling the same products. Madness.

  39. Bishop149 says:

    Whilst GAME stores have rapidly declined in quality over the last several years their website is pretty damn good IMO. Competitively priced and rapidly shipped. . . . in an envelope that will fit through your standard post box meaning no bloody “We missed you, you were out” cards if you dare to have a job during the week.

    I’ve even received a few pre-orders from the the day before release in past, so keen they seem to be that you get your game on release day.

    In the shops I have seen the PC section shrink from a third of the shop to a single shelf next to the stockroom door (London Oxford Street, not exactly a tiny out of the way shop!), that combined with the pretty awful staff and I’m not surprised that part of the business is going down

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