EA Pulling Mass Effect 3 From GAME

By Craig Pearson on February 29th, 2012 at 11:54 am.


Oof. High-street retailer GAME’s troubles are deepening, with reports that Electronic Arts will not be supplying them with games, including Mass Effect 3. Pre-orders the store has already taken for the title will only be refunded in store credit. While both EA and GAME have yet to confirm, the official Mass Effect 3 website has updated informing anyone that has pre-ordered ME3 to reorder the game from Amazon.co.uk, Play.com, Zavvi.com and ShopTo.net.

It’s not looking good.

According to reports, both GAME and Gamestation will not be stocking new games from EA until further notice, with snow-boarding title SSX being the last until whatever problems have arisen are sorted out. GAME’s financial difficulties have led to them having to shutter shops and allegedly being unable to stock new titles from Ubisoft for the Sony VITA launch. But EA are in a different league, and losing their titles is significant and hugely damaging.

What could happen if the chain goes under? Eurogamer’s take is rather terrifying: gaming needs GAME.

A taste:

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.”

I’ll update with confirmation/denials from either side if and when they arrive, but if you have pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 you might want to pop into where you bought it and find out what you need to do.

EDIT: Eurogamer have been sent what’s purportedly an internal memo sent to GAME store staff. According to the memo: “We committed to only stocking products on which we could get the right credit terms, regardless of the title or the supplier. We will not stock products if terms or conditions are not right for our business – we will not sacrifice long-term credit requirements for short term sales opportunities. As a result of us taking this position – a position we believe is critical to our long term health as a business – we have taken the very difficult decision to not stock EA’s March releases, including Mass Effect 3″.

It also points out that there will be no pre-orders taken for Fifa Street 3, Tiger Woods 13, or Sims 3 Showtime, and that people affected should be offered £5 in-store points.

Via GI.biz

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138 Comments »

  1. Maldomel says:

    That’s weird. I don’t know what to say actually. I don’t like GAME at all, and I never go there, but I don’t want the stores to close.

    • ThatGuy says:

      Oh you’re missing out big time, you can get some ridiculously good bargains. I mean, once I was in there and I could get a driving test, a horse riding game AND a farm simulator for £15.

      Seriously though, in their PC section, and by that I mean the space they had left over after stocking MW3 on and in everything, they have quite a wide variety of games, and regardless of quality they’re all the same price, so you can snag some great deals if you’re lucky.

    • Ucodia says:

      Well I don’t buy in these shops anymore as everything gone digital, especially thanks to Steam. But I feel really sad that today Electronic Arts is backstabbing those who helped them for more than 2 decades to be what they became today: the biggest name in game industry. They try to slowly redirect everybody to Origin…

      Anyone here who played an EA Sports game on Megadrive will ever remember the so famous “EA Sports it’s in the game” motto. It was a time where EA brought me excitment. Today GAME cannot distribute EA but tomorrow it will be another one. EA really show us that they do not care about gaming anymore. They just rely on their old AAA titles and wait for some developers with great ideas to beg them to publish their game. EA is dead to me.

    • KikiJiki says:

      @Ucodia did you actually read the article? The reason EA aren’t selling to GAME is that they don’t think they will get paid for it (the buying of stock works on a credit model, and GAME are flat out of credit).

      EDIT: Yeah, reading your reply below you don’t understand how buying stock works as a retailer.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Ucodia – Why is is “Hating gaming” if EA don’t want to lend their assets to a company they feel are on the verge of bankruptcy? Let’s imagine you supply games and you love the PC games industry. You have a massive hit on your hands and you want to get it out there. Would you give them to a company who have just shut down a significant number of their stores and the industry has almost unilaterally said “They are in deep trouble”. Bearing in mind, you’ll only see the money for what you give them in 6-12 months. Would you really take that risk.

      I would argue that if you do wish to take that risk, you hate gaming. That’s developers, publishers and distributors money you would be gambling with and if it fails, that’s money not making it’s way back into the industry. That’s money going to high street landlords, electricity companies et al. It’s copies of games in circulation, bought in good faith by a responsible consumer which has not helped fund the next game, which has not helped pay the wages of the studio staff and therefore helps limit the budget available for the next game.

    • Ucodia says:

      Well as far as we know, customers will actually give real money to GAME when buying ME3. I did read the article. Do you really think that GAME, that is actually going through a crisis, will take the risk to lose such a big partner? EA has already started to receive money from preorders for months…

      What I think is awful from EA is that they are letting down a partner company that helped them since the early 90′s to sell and spread their games. They developed thanks to these retail chain stores. Doing this is only gonna urge other publishers to do so, thus totally crashing GAME for good, giving them no chances. I do think that this kind of event perfectly fits in EA’s plan to slowly redirect all distribution flows to Origin. GAME financial crisis is just a good excuse to start to move onto this plan.

      I never said that EA hates gaming, I just said that they do not care about it anymore. I just wanted to point out their cowardise toward retail stores. If you still think that the fact they are letting down GAME because of their situation, just wait to see what awaits for other retailers in the coming years. I am pretty sure that none of them will distribute EA anymore and everything will go to Origin. Of course, I don’t blame for going digital, that is just right. I just don’t like their hypocrisy.

      20 years ago Score Games (GAME) never refused to distribute EA’s title, whatever financial situation the historical company as been through and it has been through many. It is strange times.

    • mmalove says:

      I feel the same nostalgic semi care I did when hollywood video and blockbuster ran into issues. TImes are changing, digital distribution is cheaper than physical media, and DRMs made it such that you’re really no more in control of your rights with a physical CD than you are with an online account.

      I recall reading a segment not long ago where a once hobby store business owner shared the rise and fall of his dream job of running said store. We are all pretty familiar with the idea that if you screw over a customer, they won’t come back, and thus shortly after your business will fail. What was insightful from this story, though, was that pissing off your supplier is even worse. To summarize, his failcascade went something like this:
      1. Building vandalized/robbed
      2. Missed payment to supplier
      3. Supplier got even by underfilling his preorder
      4. Customers that preordered couldn’t get merchandise, stopped coming

      I see GAME is vieing for damage control, which is smart, but ultimately this will cost them customers as an already struggling business, it may well BE the last nail in the coffin. Worse yet, I cannot help but see this as a cold, calculated move by EA who is now in the distribution business, and every lost sale to GAME is a potential gained sale to Origin.

      Anywho, that’s my way more than 2 cents, which is probably overboard for a game I’m not preordering, so I’ll cut there. Cheers.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      @mmalove: which is more evil, Game or Origin? Discuss.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Ucodia – you are talking about 20 years ago as if somehow Game and EA were equals. Game did nothing for EA beyond make a profit from them. It’s as simple as that – they are a retail store and they sold products. If they didn’t, someone else would have.

      EA had the talent (and if anyone dares to suggest that the publisher doesn’t aid in the game creation process far over and above financing the game, then they are idiots who have no exposure to the games industry on a managerial level) and created games that people wanted to buy. Game sold them. They didn’t do anything worthwhile except put a box on a shelf close to where you live and take a slice of the profits for themselves when you bought the game.

      I’m sure EA do want you to shop in Origin, but it would be a crazy business model if they only wanted to sell their own products through their own stores – it wouldn’t work as EA are well aware. This is why you will still be able to buy EA games in ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsburies, Grainger Games, Your LGS etc etc etc. If EA restricted games to their service they would lose so much money that most decision makers would be drummed out of the industry for good. Can you think of one single company that successfully limits it’s sales to it’s own store? (retailers who make deals with manufacturers to put their badge on a range of products do not count unless they own and run the factories) I bet if you do come up with any, they turn out to be franchise’s or so piddling small that it would never work for the games industry.

      Game is dying, whether that makes you sad, happy or indifferent, you would be either a fool or a charity to want to lend them money at this point. I bet EA would bite their hands off if they were offering cash in advance to get copies of Mass Effect on their shelves.

      Also you call it cowardice – but if it was YOUR money that an executive at EA was gambling with, would you want them to make decisions which need bravery?? Got a bank account? Yes, then it IS your money – where do you think your bank invests it!

    • Valvarexart says:

      I don’t see Origin as any worse than Steam, honestly. Steam also scans your system and data-mines. The best thing would be no DRM at all (except for a key authentication system, maybe)

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Valvarexart

      Steam asks for your permission before it uploads system and software spec. Its not a requirement to use the software.

      Origin did not ask for permission when it was scanning the directories it was caught scanning, permission was “obtained” via the EULA that you have to sign to use the software, it is required.

      2 different things, stop saying they are the same.

    • Ucodia says:

      @Sheng-ji: I do know that specialised retail shops will all run out of business in the coming years. Everybody knows it. We already saw what happened when the PSP Go, the first console to have only digital content, has been released: a massive boycott from retailers. As I said, EA is going digital, it’s fine.

      I am gonna repeat myself but I do think that with these kind of moves, EA is just covering its actual strategy. I do think they are bidding in centralized distribution on a PC perspective. They are just slowly eliminating distribution middle-men one by one. Here they just found a good way to terminate a huge retailer, thus redirecting a part of GAME share on Origin. That is distribution war undercovers.

      And it is cowardise to my eyes because those retailers have been promoting their game for decades. Of course they made money out of it. If those retailers did not made such advertisement for each hit release from EA, they would surely not sold their game that well. I remember that has a console gamer, 10 years ago, I was buying all my games from Score Games and Micromania (France). Supermarkets were often out of date on new games and were always overpricing them. Having a specialised retailer ALWAYS made a difference for gamers and publishers in the trade process.

      PS: I store my money under my mattress.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Firstly, I don’t believe anyone in this day and age is stupid enough to store large quantities of cash in their houses but if you really are telling the truth, more fool you. I really and genuinely hope you never get burgled or have your house burn down because you will lose that money and your insurance company will be wetting themselves with laughter when you try to claim for it.

      Unless you’re 90 – in which case everything I’ve said holds true, it’s just people aren’t surprised when you act like a fool.

      Secondly – assuming what you said is true, that’s worse – you want them to gamble with money, as long as it’s someone elses?

      I get the impression that perhaps these conspiracy theories actually hold water with you. So let me ask you one simple question.

      Why Only Game?

      It’s true they are in a vulnerable position right now, but you are inferring that these people who would have purchased EA games in Game will now head to Origin. False! What will happen is that they go to a supermarket or another high street retailer. There are 4 in my town not affiliated with Game. To make that strategy effective, EA would have to make sure that the only place you can buy EA games is Origin. They are not doing that. Why not just refuse to distribute to any bricks and mortar store anywhere in the world? Why not refuse to distribute through online or mail order stores? They can distribute their games wherever they damn well please, it’s their games, no-one can make them sell through channels that do not want to sell through so why not cut supplies off completely to everyone except through Origin?

      That is why you are wrong and your conspiracy theory has no legs.

    • Nethlem says:

      @Milky1985

      Urgh this is still going on? Steam and Origin do exactly the same thing, Steam is just doing it in a “smarter” way compared to Origin.

      If you use sysinternal tools on Steam and go to “add non-steam game” in your steam you will see similiar things happening like Origin does for scanning games. And in that case steam also doesn’t ask you for your permission every single time you do that.

      People still digging up this giant pile of horsecrap as an reason to “why origin is evil” are too full of themself and lack the technical understanding of the issues present here.

      It’s these people, that actually believe that EA would be willing to data-crawl all their customers for useless fucking personal information. EA doesn’t care what your holiday pictures look like, EA also doesn’t care what kind of taxation software you use. Some people take themself way too important in that regards, EA would gain nothing from “spying on their customers” in the way some people suggest origin does.

      There would be no business profit in it for them, to the contrary: This only would offer lots of potential for bad press.

      Origin does alot of things “wrong” because it’s something people put together in a haste without thinking ahead too far. But don’t see evil intend where simple incompetence can explain most of the issues.

      The EULA part with the personal information, that’s the real evil here and is not connected with “origin crawling for personal information”. But if we want to cry about that we can start with dozens of other EULA’s like the iTunes one or tons of Microsoft EULA’s.

      Nope nobody cares about those, as we are all busy being angry about EA.

      Note: Not defending EA here, but if people want to hate companies for their behavior they should pick the right reasons and not judge companies with 2 different kinds of morals.

    • Ucodia says:

      @Sheng-ji:

      Firstly, I do own 2 bank accounts. My irony never thought you would get that far from the subject.

      Secondly, I don’t call to conspiracy. GAME is just gonna lose the war over distribution in which he has been one of its Emperors for decades. EA just forgot how useful those retail chain stores used to be for its marketing and relation toward users. The preordering stuff started thanks to those chains. And if you still deny that PC gaming turned his back to those chains and is now betting it all on digital distribution, then I advise you to rethink your point of view on this. Origin will be mainstream.

      Why only GAME? It is simple and smart from EA. If they turn back to all retailers at once, they won’t be able to gather all users on Origin. If they do it progressively, users will slowly get into the Origin train, thus making the platform more and more popular (or unpopular). So as I said, today it is GAME and in 6 months maybe it will be Gamestop. Only time will tell and that is my guess on EA actual strategy.

    • Brun says:

      Until digital distribution is successfully brought into the console space, all major publishing houses will continue to invest in retail. It’s really that simple. Digital distribution is completely foreign to 90%+ of console users. It’s not something that can be introduced overnight. We’ll likely start seeing it begin to appear in Durango and PS4. It will slowly become more prevalent in subsequent generations.

      As for GAME’s predicament, I don’t see anything more than a rational business decision by EA. If retail distribution operates on a credit model (wherein a publisher gives games to the retailer as a sort of “loan” and is then repaid by the retailer based on sales), this move is a perfectly sensible one by EA. They don’t want to risk sending out a bunch of new games to a retailer that looks likely to flop before it can sell those copies and repay them.

      I don’t understand why people insist on crucifying corporations (of all sizes) for rational business decisions. If you were the one making those decisions – and therefore were responsible for the jobs of all of your employees, the concerns of your shareholders, and the financial future of your company – you would make the exact same ones.

    • Ucodia says:

      Digital distribution is mainstream for PC. Retailers won’t distribute PC games anymore. I am not speaking of the console market which will not jump fully into digital content until next generation.

      About EA’s decision, don’t get me wrong. It is clear that the credit model between publishers and retailers is a key point. What I find unfair, is how EA is behaving to those retailers who offered them services for so many years when they had no other way to sell it. Now they are not entirely dependent on retailers they take all the shares they can by any mean, even if it means changing the distribution rules. We can discuss more about it when they will inflict the same punishment to other retailers which I am sure they will do.

    • Brun says:

      Businesses is a cold, merciless, and heartless bitch. It’s sad to say but it’s the truth. Companies that maintain partnerships with failing distributors because they have lingering warm-and-fuzzies from their successes of decades past tend to be dragged down by those failures. Put another way, the fact that GAME “helped make EA what it is today” means little to nothing to the people at the top – and shouldn’t to any sensible businessman.

    • Archonsod says:

      “And it is cowardise to my eyes because those retailers have been promoting their game for decades.”

      Yeah. Primarily by selling them second hand for a couple of quid less than new so they can pocket all the money.

    • theleif says:

      @Ucodia
      Sorry, but your reasoning is flawed. As far as I understand this EA has withdrawn all games, for all formats. There is no Origin on the 360 or the PS3 (or any other console). For the consoles, EA still depend (almost) solely on brick and mortar stores. I wouldn’t be surprised if a big chunk of the profit for EA actually comes from sales through GAME. GAME must be in some serious financial troubles.

    • Cloudkicker says:

      @sheng-ji

      “I’m sure EA do want you to shop in Origin, but it would be a crazy business model if they only wanted to sell their own products through their own stores – it wouldn’t work as EA are well aware.”
      Blizzard would like a word with you you can only buy digital copies of there game from them.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Cloudkicker – I can walk into game today and buy a blizzard game, I could sign into onlive and play a blizzard game. Sure if you only focus on one way of delivering a product, you will find lots of examples of businesses offering one venue through their own service but that’s because you’ve decided to ignore all the other ways of getting hold of their product.

      For example: I can only mail order a kindle from amazon (Let’s ignore the fact I can buy one in my local bookshop because I’m only interested in mail order as a way of buying it!

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Fuck Game.

      They more or less completely abandoned PC gaming years ago when the realised they could make far more profit from selling second hand console games for a couple of quid less than retail.

  2. CMaster says:

    Across much of the country, Grainger Games has been on a mission to but Game out of business. They start stores nearby and launch a price war. As far south as Nottingham at least, they’ve opened up a store directly facing the Game and both having boards up outside claiming to undercut the other.

    I wonder how much information EA actually have – I’m sure their concern is that GAME will sell copies, however the money will never find its way back to EA, instead being gobbled up by the banks. Do they have any concrete reasons to fear this though I wonder, or are they just going off the same rumours as the rest of us?

    • Maldomel says:

      Or maybe they are part of the conspiracy to take GAME down. I am overthinking this? I hope so.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I remember when I used to shop at the first granger games store back when there was just one. I didn’t realise that they’d spread that far. Good for them I guess.

      I will say that I haven’t shopped at Game of Gamestation for years. Because everything in game £3 to £10 more expensive than in either Granger games or online.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Is this the same Grainger Games that sponsered a gaming awards show , hired drawfs to escort in people and gave the people there (including RPS guys) branded condoms and then the executives acted badly enough that there was apologies the next day and they got todl they would never be contacted by the awards people again?

    • CMaster says:

      I don’t think its much of a conspiracy – Grainger just wants to have the only dedicated Gaming shop in as many towns as possible, so the ones they have moved in to they try to run GAME out of town. I mention it as (along with ASDA and Tesco), Grainger is where the game-buying public will go with GAME gone.

    • kinelfire says:

      @Milky1985 one and the same.

      @CMaster ‘Much of the country’? NE England and the Midlands. I’d never heard of them until the awards shenanigans. They have zero presence in Scotland. Not that I want them and their easyjet orange on high streets here.

    • CMaster says:

      On the extent of Grainger Games: http://www.graingergames.co.uk/stores
      So Nottingham/Derby is as far south as they have got so far, but they have a LOT of stores in that range (they have them in suburbs where GAME never bothered with as well as town centres). If GAME do go under however, I bet they’ll be bidding on some of GAMEs southern lets and stocks in the administrator auction.

    • kelvarnsen says:

      I’m from the north, and I had never heard of Grainger Games until I moved to Nottingham, which has a store right opposite Game in the main shopping centre, and also has a store in Beeston on a street dominated by charity shops. I don’t really rate them to be honest. The prices seem comparable to Game, the staff seem comparable to Game (ie shit), and the colour scheme upsets me. Also they sell more DVDs and Blurays than they sell PC games.

      I don’t know of any British retail chains that sell a wide selection of PC games and/or sells console games at a reasonable price, other than the supermarkets. The internet is where it’s at.

  3. eZ` says:

    > “Pre-orders the store has already taken for the title will only be refunded in store credit.”

    So you can’t get your money back on a product you paid for that they never actually had to sell? Well that sounds rather illegal.

    • Earl-Grey says:

      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    • Paxmayne says:

      The last time I ordered a game from Game I don’t remember actually having to pay a deposit, but rather just put my name down for a copy?

      This was a few years ago though, mind.

    • clem2k3 says:

      I cancelled my pre-order without any payment at all (pre-ordered via the web) so no store credit for me!

      More reasons to love RPS now, for helping me avoid that moment of disappoint on Tuesday followed by the killing spree, police chase, inevitable arrest and jail time.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @eZ’

      This is a mis-report according to the Eurogamer story, they are not refunding with store credit according to the memo leak.

      The memo says they are giving a full refund AND £5 worth of reward points.

      I think RPS have updated the story as i write this so may be reflected :P

    • westyfield says:

      @clem2k3
      You’d have been disappointed come Tuesday anyway; ME3 isn’t out in the UK until Friday.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I am now worried about all the unused Game credit I have. I think I’m going to nip over there now and spend it all.

  4. povu says:

    They should pull GAME from the planet.

  5. Sorbicol says:

    Eurogamer are already reporting that Nintendo are also refusing to stock Game any more.

    Writings on the wall I think.

  6. L3TUC3 says:

    Well, if EA has a clear indication that Game is not going to to be able to pay it’s bills and descend into bankruptcy, I’d be hesitant to deliver any product too.

    But it does beckon the question where to get my Sims expansions now?

  7. DogKiller says:

    GAME… over? Some of their staff are kind of arseholes, and I’ve seen and experienced it first hand, but there’s also a good few who always seemed to go out of their way to help the customers and stuff, so I feel bad for those who will lose their jobs.

    I expect there’s also going to be a lot of angry Mass Effect 3 fans who don’t see this soon enough to preorder their collector’s editions from somewhere else and lose out. Violent storm imminent?

    • Maldomel says:

      Sadly the mass effect stuff is only gonna make it worse for GAME, since they’ll be held as responsible of the situation.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Which really isn’t all that unfair.

  8. AmateurScience says:

    This is big, and saddens me, I know Game aren’t hugely relevant in the PC space any more, but I still stick my head round the door when I pass our local one to have a gander at what’s going on in console space.

    And it seems that no-one will mourn the loss. Publishers will be glad that an outlet for pre-owned sales has gone, especially if Supermarkets take up the slack: no pre-owned sections there.

    And the problem with the big supermarkets selling games is how limited their shelf-space is. So the vast majority of punters buying in supermarkets will be subjected to a much more limited choice even compared to the already less-than-stellar array available at Game.

    I wonder how much this will affect Gamestation? They’re owned by Game Group too yes?

    • DogKiller says:

      There used to be a really good GAME near me that stocked loads of PC titles, but there was also another GAME less than two minutes walk away, so they shuttered it and replaced it with a Gamestation that’s more like a medieval dungeon. Their stock is terrible, in poor condition and it’s so dark in there you can’t even see what you’re looking at on the back of the boxes.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      And it seems that no-one will mourn the loss. Publishers will be glad that an outlet for pre-owned sales has gone, especially if Supermarkets take up the slack: no pre-owned sections there.

      Hate to break it to you but ASDA have been doing pre-owned trade ins for a while already. I haven’t seen Tescos or Morrisons doing anything similar as yet but when one starts, the rest always jump too.

      Also all the people who think it will only be Supermarkets left selling games, first HMV would have to close for that to be the case and there will always be independent retailers. If anything a lack of someone like GAME/Gamestation in the market should encourage independents to thrive & prosper which can only be a good thing.

    • bsplines says:

      Gamestation is also not having any Mass Effect 3 copies, so I think they are pretty much in the same boat…

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Amazon is still a great place to buy used games. But I agree, the good thing about Game was that they at least employ people who are knowledgeable about gaming. I really hate to think Origin is the way of the future, especially for consoles.

  9. Maldomel says:

    Sounds like they’re gonna lost the GAME.

    (ok I’ll stop now, this isn’t funny).

    • Steve_0 says:

      RPS is the king of sarcastic, well thought out and generally witty comments. You’re gonna have to step your game up a bit.

    • applecup says:

      I think this is the sort of game where the only winning move is not to play. A curious sort, all told.

    • theleif says:

      GAME over, man. GAME over!

    • jrodman says:

      All this gamesmanship has to end somewhere.

  10. Milky1985 says:

    While they may be having issues shurly hthe companies all pulling support like this is causing a self fullfilling prophacy.

    Mass Effect 3 would sell, its not a fringe title, reguardless of the stores financal situation so can’t help but think the risk with this title at least is minimal. In fact the effect of NOT having it in a game store might be worse for sales.

    Reguardless of the issues it is a major customer facing business. The general public will still go there be told “we don’t have it” and might not go to another store will jsut think “fine i’ll wait”.

    Also when they go back next week they may have some copies… second hand… because someone traded in the game. IF you stand by the belief that second hand games kill the industry (BS in my opinion but thats another topic, i say this here because its said a lot by publishers so seems to be the belief within the industry), and the general public don’t care about this, then they will be buying the second hand copy (as its the only copy) rather than a first hand copy and thus not giving money to the publisher.

    • KikiJiki says:

      I think the issue is more to do with how stock is purchased by the retailer from the publisher.

      AFAIK GAME have had their line of credit reduced/removed by banks, so EA seem to be refusing to supply them on the grounds that they won’t be able to pay for the product.

      I sincerely hope GAME goes under. Not out of pure malice, but because it’s been run into the ground as a business and we need new companies to enter this retail market and give it a bit of a lift.

    • phlebas says:

      Milky: The second hand copy does indirectly give money to the publisher, though – the pricing of the first-hand copy is sustained by the knowledge that the customer will be able to reclaim part of the cost by trading it in later.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @phlebas

      Yeah, I agree. As I said I think its BS the second hand detroying industry thing, but the industry itself seems to think its a terrible thing and in this case its kinda inviting it :P

      @KikiJiki

      I hope it doesn’t “go under”. I hope it gets bought out, gamestation sold seperatly (or even kept and run by the same lot, as long as they don’t have both game and gamestation) and maybe the stores split up into 3 competiting companys.

      If it just flat out fails I don’t think new companies will enter the market, the supermarkets will take up the slack and that is BAD news for gaming imo.

    • KikiJiki says:

      @Milky I personally wouldn’t want to see them bought out – the brand is damaged beyond repair imo.

      GAME used to be a pretty happy medium between the bright airy Electronics Boutique store and the sort of dingy, dark and horrible looking Gamestation.

      Now though they’re all pretty much chav central which is part of the reason I never step into a gaming store when I’m on the high street.

      The costs associated with buying out a national chain and pulling their socks up to an acceptable level would be a pretty big deterrent too I think.

    • L3TUC3 says:

      I’ve only snatched up a second-hand copy once, because availability was non-existent at every major retailer I visited and oddly enough I could not order it from a regular online source either.

      This was Metal Gear Portable Ops for the PSP, not a small title you’d expect it from. I never regretted the purchase, although I’d have gladly dropped the extra $10 for a new copy as this title has entertained me many intercontinental flights. Especially the WiFi random soldier generation is great in a hotspot abundant area such as an airport, and I probably freaked a lot of people out walking around holding my PSP up while jamming X to get the maximum reception right. Many a hooray was had when I got another soldier with an S stat.

      What did get me miffed is that Sony had pulled all the regular copies and introduced a platinum edition a month or so after my purchase.

      Then Peace Walker came out and I didn’t look back. Excuse me while I inflate my Fulton.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Don’t buy second hand much any more, main game i got second hand when i actually had a proper job was kingdom hearts.

      This then resulted in me getting KH2, Birth by Sleep, 358/2 days all first hand on release so they did quite well out of that :P

  11. mentor07825 says:

    I never really liked GAME. Don’t take me wrong, I like that they have at least two shelves for PC games *gasp* but every time I had to deal with them for my PC games I’ve had nothing but problems.

  12. Red_Avatar says:

    Reminds me of when GAME asked if I wanted to buy one of their reward cards during checkout to get a discount, so I did: I got the card in the mail, tried to use it only to be told it was for UK members only. I complained, asking why they even OFFERED it to me considering I didn’t even have a British address on my account and their reply was that it was mentioned in the TOS. That’s like standing at the checkout and being offered a gift card which turns out to only be valid if you use it in some store across the world. It’s stupid. Don’t offer it then!

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Similar:

      Clerk: “Hey, if you want to trade anything in we’ve got a promotion going on which gives you an extra pound on every game.”
      Jams: “That sounds great — I’ve got a ton of PSP games I’m done with just gathering dust on a shelf”
      Clerk: “Here you go, pop them into this special magical bag and bring them in.”
      Bag: “Bwahahahaaaa I specifically say that PSP games are excluded from the offer in big purple text”

  13. Matt says:

    This is worrying. I don’t use their high street stores, but Game’s online prices are often as good/better than Amazon. I hate the idea of their closure having a knock-on effect of giving us less choice for games… if a publisher can’t sell their game in a bloody specialist store as big as Game, then they’ll have one big reason not to bother funding smaller titles….that is a depressing thought.

  14. McDan says:

    So I pre-ordered the collectors edition one from game, buy I don’t think I’ve paid for it yet? Would that make a difference?

  15. misterbung says:

    Any idea if this is going to affect the Australian stores?

    I bloody hope not, streuth!

    • Dark Malady says:

      GAME stores over here being the best Alternative to EB (american gamestop), with slightly better prices and usually less annoying staff, store music, shop layouts, Advertising…
      Large chains like BigW have the best prices on games and underwear but poor range due to not being speciality stores
      and I shudder to think of what will happen without competition as EB’s prices are already $20 higher on average.

      just looked at the GAME aus site and it seems they had a big event with prizes for ME3 preorders if you went in costume and/or paid in full on the 24th. everything seems healthy and seperate,

    • Jackablade says:

      “I shudder to think of what will happen without competition as EB’s prices are already $20 higher on average.”
      And up to twice the price of the independent stores. Why people insist on going to the franchise stores when they are so very very much more expensive boggles my brains. I mean fair enough if you live in the sticks and it’s your only alternative (besides buying online), but there’s absolutely no excuse to be wasting your money in Game or EB if you live in the city when you could go to one of the indis who’ll invariably have a better price, a better range and probably even staff who you won’t want to punch very much.

    • Mattressi says:

      I sincerely hope this destroys GAME in Australia. One less retailer to worry about. Once EB finally dies off, perhaps publishers will lower their damn prices. I’m sick of seeing new release games on Steam selling for $89.99 USD, with the explanation that the publishers are just looking out for the poor retailers and helping them remain competitive.

    • TCM says:

      Economics don’t work that way, you are assuming a monopoly will drive prices DOWN.

    • Mattressi says:

      No I’m not; I said that it would be one less retailer to deal with. Once ALL of the retailers are gone, the prices will go down. If there are no retailers, everyone will have to buy online. When people have to buy online, they’ll finally realise how much they’re being ripped off (hopefully). With any luck, since publishers won’t have retailers threatening to not stock their games if their online prices are low, publishers will finally lower their online prices to something half-reasonable. At the very least they won’t be able to hide behind the excuse that they keep their online prices high for the poor old retailers. Maybe then consumers will stop buying their overpriced crap.

      Again, this is assuming EB goes too.

  16. Milky1985 says:

    As an honest question actually, what do poeple think are gonig to happen to the game care plans?

    (before you shout “why did you pay for that crap”. Its a one off payment that covers for accidental damage, I don’t take it on my home consoles but do on my portables because i know at smoe point i will drop the damn things :P)

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      I can’t answer your question, but I can say that I’ve dropped my handhelds a lot of times and they keep on ticking, even the flimsy-feeling PSP.

    • Hawkyy says:

      I can tell you that they have recently changed Gamecare providers. It’s not with Allianz anymore, but another company. Seeing that the change has been fairly recent I think you’ll be fine.

  17. Matt says:

    Amazon don’t seem to be selling the Collectors Edition for PC, by the way… I can’t find it on the site, at least.

  18. Belua says:

    Does anyone know if this affects Gamestation as well? I preordered from their online shop, and I think they’re the same company, so now I’m wondering if I’ll get my collector’s edition or not.

    Edit: Nevermind, either I’m stupid or the article got updated to include Gamestation. Crap -.-

  19. Hawkyy says:

    I didn’t believe this. Until I got a phone call from my manager saying exactly that.
    It’s going to be a massive blow to the company. I mean, I’ve been taking preorders for pretty much ever since the Christmas rush came to an end at the beginning of January. People will not be happy and just chose to get their games elsewhere from now on, if they aren’t already.

    I mean if I put my money down for a game that will not be sold and then get offered store credit I would go apeshit. Guess it’s time to find my Origin password and preorder it there. (Unless someone knows of a cheaper alternative?)

  20. KaMy says:

    Wow for the customers and big wow for the crazies that ordered a limited ultra collector deluxe special fan dedicated best of version worth 100€ and ending up with some crappy coupon for a store that will not stock games of 2 major editors (granted they don’t have a lot of good titles especialy Ubi but still).

  21. mollemannen says:

    i haven’t bought a physical copy of a game since i bought warhammer online at release.

    • Havok9120 says:

      That’s…..nice?

    • kevmscotland says:

      Amazed youve bought any game after buying warhammer online.

      That game was in such a terrible state on release.

  22. Carr0t says:

    So the Collector’s Edition I have preordered from GAME won’t be honoured and everywhere else has sold out of it months ago… What the actual fuck?

    • evilmatt says:

      Play.com still have it available to order. Go go go!

    • The JG Man says:

      Yeah, I ordered mine from Gamestation, but evilmatt, you’re now my new favourite person. You rock!

    • andytt66 says:

      shopto.net have it (Collectors Edition) too.

      Basically, all the stock that was going to Game seems to have been diverted to all the other people who’d like to sell it, but weren’t allowed to because it was a Game exclusive.

      http://www.shopto.net/PC/VIDEO%20GAMES/PCMA32-Mass%20Effect%203%20N7%20Collectors%20Edition.html

      Still say people shouldn’t be buying it because of all the Origin business. But if you DO want to buy, it, that’d be a place you can buy it from.

      THREE HOURS LATER EDIT: Looks like they’ve sold out now.

  23. orcane says:

    Bought a lot of collector’s editions from their online store, dating back to 2007 – would be sad to see them go.

    But before mourning comes ordering the Mass Effect 3 CE from a different place…

  24. jimbobjunior says:

    It’s a bit sad but not surprising. I remember when about half the shop in my town was dedicated to PC (games and hardware). Bought my first graphics card there (TNT2). The staff were genuinely helpful too, told be to stay away from the (then going obsolete) Voodoo cards.

    The supermarkets will pick up the slack, despite what people are saying about space constraints. Hell, my local Tesco just opened a dentist surgery in their store, a self full of games would be easy to squeeze in.

  25. Malibu Stacey says:

    All in the GAME yo.

    • DogKiller says:

      You didn’t used to hang around on the old Netgames UK Science and Industry servers by any chance, did you?

    • BlitzThose says:

      I believe so Dogkiller, as according to Malibu’s steam profile he/she is from glasgow and if my memory serves we well thats where the S&I malibu stacy came from.

      I was known in those days as [DK]Blitz-The-Lemming in case your wondering

  26. fauxC says:

    Anyone know what GAME’s typical terms from publishers are? 6 months credit?

  27. Ballistic says:

    So I take it this effects their game.gamesplanet.com online store as well?

  28. Triangulon says:

    I hope Game doesn’t go under as it’s a great resource for pre-owned. All my PC purchases are eithe DD or from Amazon but I get quite a lot of pre-owned console games from Game. I also have about £70 of store credit. Mayhaps I’ll spend that soon!

  29. Grim_22 says:

    This is a sad day for swedish people. Game is more or less the only widespread games chain in the country. WIthout it, all we have (at least in Stockholm) is Webhallen, and while their prices are better, they only have two stores in the city, while Game has a store in just about every mall and the like. Also, even if they are overpriced, the staff is always extremely helpful and just generally nice guys.

  30. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Eurogamer argues that the gaming establishment needs game and conflates that with gaming, gaming doesn’t need game & EA seems to be experimenting to see how much they need game, which implies the establishment might not need them either.

  31. Tei says:

    This its bad news because we need a lot of medium size bussines distributing games, so the prie are set by the market and not fixed by the publisher willdest dreams.

    • KikiJiki says:

      Tei GAME is in a monopoly-esque position in the British retail sector, having gobbled up all their competition. They aren’t a middle sized business.

  32. magnus says:

    Soon there’ll be more nails than coffin

  33. Runs With Foxes says:

    gaming needs GAME

    Because?

    The industry is a bloated, rancid mess. Every step towards its implosion is to be welcomed in anticipation of the rising phoenix.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The console industry really needs retail. One reason for this is Christmas presents. Gift cards and cash are more useful than physical presents, but they suck to get as a kid. Another is casuals. Casuals don’t want to buy games online if they haven’t heard about them, and sales reps help them find suitable games. Both of these subsidize AAA development; Assassin’s Creed was built on Just Dance money. Eventually a market with less foot traffic and less knowledgeable representatives will trickle down to PC games.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      None of my local supermarkets, HMV or WHSmiths stock pc games. PC World is in an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere, there are no independent stores in my area that sell pc games. Without Game/Gamestation pc retail is pretty much dead where I live. End of an era and all that, I doubt the industry is ready to survive without retail just yet.

  34. Jimbo says:

    “Pre-orders the store has already taken for the title will only be refunded in store credit.”

    Umm, that sounds a bit illegal?

    It’s not the end of the world if GAME disappears. I suspect the demand for game retail on the high street (and there’s still some demand, just not as much as there was) will just be filled by a competitor. The difference is a company growing into it will meet that demand more naturally, whereas I think GAME are stubbornly trying to match where it was rather than where it is now.

    Ultimately (because high street anything is pretty much fucked in the long term) game distribution will be carved up between supermarkets, online retail and digital distribution (and I’m fine with that personally), but I don’t think we’re there just yet. We’ll probably go back to 1 or 2 high street game stores per town for a while, rather than ~5.

    I’m not convinced we’ll get to a point where gaming is all digital distribution anytime soon, just because I think there’s still going to be too much value in putting game marketing (and the opportunity to purchase) in front of regular people when they’re out doing their grocery shopping or whatever. Gaming doesn’t need GAME, but it does still need some kind of presence in front of people who aren’t actively looking for game info.

    • Brun says:

      We’ll continue to see games in retail until publishers are convinced that retail is no longer necessary to support their business.

      The next generation of consoles will really tell the story here. I’d be very surprised if Durango and the PS4 aren’t tied into a digital distribution service. And when that happens, the writing will really be on the wall for retail game sales.

    • Jimbo says:

      RE the next gen consoles: I’m half expecting to see Microsoft and/or Sony offering two consoles SKUs. A ‘full price’ regular console and a subsidised digital distribution only model. If you could save ~$100 on the digital only model and if they guaranteed day & date digital release of games, I think a lot of people would consider that option. Get enough of the install base on to the digital only models and it’s a license to print money for the console operators.

      Less likely for Sony to do it I guess because they always have one eye on pushing Blu Ray and selling TVs. I think it’s too soon and too risky for either of them to cut out retail game sales as an option entirely at this point.

    • Brun says:

      That’s an interesting idea, but the biggest problem I see with it is that the digital-distribution only SKU will likely cost more to produce due to having to have a heftier HDD attached (for storing all of the downloaded games). Subsidizing the more expensive console is not likely to be profitable unless there are hefty subscription fees associated with the online/distribution service (which is already true for Microsoft).

      That said, I’m not really confident that a digital-only version of a console would sell very well, since the COD-playing dudebro audience is not likely to be familiar with digital distribution like we PC gamers are. Which is why I suspect that MS and Sony will not completely commit to digital with Durango and PS4. It’s something totally foreign to the console space and they will need to introduce it gradually so that their audience becomes comfortable with it.

    • Milky1985 says:

      ““Pre-orders the store has already taken for the title will only be refunded in store credit.””

      Thats not what the memsaid, there was a star next to refund (so that could say credit only for all i know, as i saw no info on what hte star means) but it was not said that it would be store credit.

      It said full refund + £5 of store credit.

    • Jimbo says:

      The profit on the digital-only console would come later, from being the de facto retailer for everything that ever gets bought for that console in the future. They’d essentially be paying (a bit) for the privilege of putting the only store you can use right in your living room. It’d be an extension of a strategy they already use (selling the console at a loss in the early stages and making it back later in game sales) except this way they’d be getting the console tax and retailer cut on every sale.

      I think it’s a balancing act for them at the moment. They want to incentivise a digital only model because they stand to make so much more from game sales, but they can’t afford to force the issue and cut people out entirely. I wouldn’t say console gamers are that unfamiliar with digital distribution at this point; they have game downloads and XBLA, Netflix on console etc. Some people will accept it and some won’t, but the ones who will are likely to be the people who spend more on games, and if they can lock those guys in to buying everything through the console operator, they’ll make a fortune out of them in the long run.

      The next consoles are going to come with massive HDDs as standard anyway I would imagine. They have to look at the next ten years, in which digital is only going to become a bigger and bigger part of the market. A digital only model wouldn’t need physical media drive either, so that’d save a bit.

  35. Groove says:

    This article opened to the sound of me shitting my pants. I’d pre-ordered the collector’s edition from gamestation and was under the impression that many other places were sold out of it.

    Weirdly I’m actually thankful EA went to the trouble of listing the other places I could order it from. Already got another order sorted but that was a worrisome 5 minutes.

  36. Jimbo says:

    I just read the Eurogamer article: lol at how hysterical it is. It just stops short of decrying the invention of the Spinning Jenny.

  37. Brun says:

    Okay, someone needs to explain something to me.

    In the US, a Supermarket is somewhere you go to buy groceries. Yet they seem to sell video games in the UK. What gives?

    • KikiJiki says:

      In the early to mid 90s Supermarkets here were the same as you’re describing. They’ve since expanded their product lines and are probably closer to what Wal-Mart is.

    • trjp says:

      (to the first poster) WalMart only sells groceries then?

      You call them ‘big box’ stores or something like that – but we don’t go above ‘supermarket’ – same idea (even Costco is a ‘supermarket’ or perhaps a ‘warehouse store’ in the UK).

    • Brun says:

      In the US, “Supermarket’ is typically just a synonym for “grocery store.” Like a little local or regional chain that sells groceries and that’s it – I don’t know what your equivalents in the UK would be but in the US they are things like Publix, Kroger, etc.

    • Jimbo says:

      Imagine if Walmart owned those as well and you have a pretty good idea of what Tesco is. They have a hand in pretty much anything there is to have a hand in. You can get a Tesco mortgage or car insurance if you like. At one point Tesco accounted for something like 1/8th of all retail spending in the UK – it might be even more than that now.

      So when we say ‘supermarket’, we’re usually referring to them or the handful of significant competitors they have who sorta try to do the same thing (but not quite to the same scale). I suppose the term is just a hangover from when those companies did used to just be grocery stores.

  38. kevmscotland says:

    You know, if GAME had marketed this right, they could have ridden on the back of the Anti-EA/Bioware/DLC wave and made it seem like they were sticking one to EA on behalf of the fans by not stocking the millions of variations of ME3 without all the DLC included.

    But I guess their marketing guy hadnt considered that.

    • trjp says:

      Their marketting people aren’t stupid teenagers who think that pissing-off the biggest game company in the world is a brilliant strategy for a game selling company.

      Grow up FFS

    • Lenderz says:

      You’re assuming their marketing guy knows anything about the game industry and follows the gaming press. I’d be surprised if that was the case, their marketing team likely has more knowledge of generic retail, rather than specific.

  39. ThaneSolus says:

    Game retailers need to die anyway, i am thinking of Gamestop and others, making money from second hand industry and other practices, to promote specific games from EA, Blizz and Ubisoft while the others get the shaft.

    DIE SLOWLY!

    • sinister agent says:

      The problem with that: where there’s a market, there is Tesco. Game may be bastards, but several different bastards all fighting each other are better than one.

  40. Bishop149 says:

    Right, that’s it, I’m spending all of my GAME reward points ASAP. . . this doesn’t look good!

  41. Staggy says:

    On the one hand they used to be good stores with great and helpful (actual gaming) staff. Then about 4 years ago they just turned into a load of disinterested sales reps who I swear got commission from selling Call of Duty, pet games, Reward Cards (don’t get me started) and merchandise crap to ignorant parents. I went in once and asked about the release date for a tiny, low profile indie game called Deus Ex and they didn’t have a damn clue what the game was, let alone when it was out. The decent prices and service online just isn’t enough to sustain a highstreet presence. I hope it lives on just online, but I’m going to be godsmacked if they have any stores by Christmas.

  42. celozzip says:

    ha! i switched my preorder to amazon just last week when the game storm hit. i felt badabout not supporting a company ‘on the ropes’ as it were, but after this news i couldn’t give a monkeys.

  43. drachenfells says:

    I pretty much never buy anything from GAME but i did pre-order SSX from them to get the limited edition. Rather glad that ive had the shipping confirmation.
    I dont think ive EVER bought a pc game from GAME. Looks like i probably never will.

  44. kwyjibo says:

    Game deserve to die. We’ve had all this hand wringing about how they’ve been overtaken by the internet, and drowned by the supermarkets.

    But it’s not their fault. It’s Game’s fault, and only Game’s fault for their moronic overcapacity.

    You do not need 3 stores per town, selling the same shit, competing only with yourselves. There are multiple Game group outlets within the same shopping centre, on the same street.

    Administration is only a good thing. Because it’ll mean that someone significantly less stupid will get their hands on those assets.

    Stop feeling sorry for these losers.

  45. dawfydd says:

    What’s quite annoying? That I contacted Game last week about my ME3 pre-order and they told me it would be fine……

  46. GameOverMan says:

    ‘Nuff Said.

  47. sinister agent says:

    Note to self: Really, really ought to use that Game gift card some misguided soul bought you christ knows how long ago.

  48. hypercrisis says:

    poor gametstation, you can bet they take the brunt of this collapse ea is having

  49. trjp says:

    Note to anyone who has a pre-order with GAME – you are LEGALLY ENTITLED to your money back, DO NOT accept store credit (unless you really want to).

    Consumer Law is very clear on pre-orders/deposits – in the event the retailer cannot supply your items they MUST refund you in full.

    No discussion – no argument – if they refuse, call your local Trading Standards office from the store and let them explain to the till monkey that he’s breaking the law by refusing to do it.