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Thread: A Voyage in PC Retail
12-09-2011, 01:47 AM #1
A Voyage in PC Retail
This weekend I have been in the fair city of Leeds (in England, for those not in the know). I went shopping for several hours in its centre, including 4 game shops. My mission: pick up a copy of Space Marine for the PC.
I failed. Miserably.
Culprit 1: HMV
After discussing SM on here, someone suggested the PC stock of the HMV in Leeds city centre was pretty decent. I would disagree with that. Of the several rows dedicated to a variety of platforms, the PC was relegated to about 2 smallish shelves. There was no Space Marine on the PC. There was no indication they even stocked it. There were a few of the bigger titles from the year viewable, but there was also some shovelware. And WoW. And The Sims.
Culprit 2: GAME (1)
Whilst the PC section was small, there were a few shelves and indeed, there were cases of Space Marine, albeit the "pre-order" 'Elite Armour' pack (that they somehow deemed enough justification to sell at £35 or ~$57) that comes with 4 custom MP skins. They had run out of stock. No surprise, as all the pre-orders for the PC version sold out on release the day before. All 2 copies. They suggested their sister shop literally round the corner might have...
Culprit 3: GAME (2)
Similar to the above, Elite Armour pack cases were on the shelf. Alarmingly, these were actually priced £40, or about $65. I confronted one of the member's of staff, politely, about the price point.
Me - "I was just round the corner in the other GAME shop and noticed the price was £5 cheaper."
Staff (looked like a manager) - "That's up to them, the price it's supposed to be is £40 on PC."
Me - "Don't you think that's a little bit silly that the same chain right round the corner is selling the same product £5 cheaper?"
Staff - "That's up to them, they're known for lowering prices to try and compete."
They also had no copies.
Culprit 4: Gamestation (owned as part of the GAME family)
I actually had difficulty finding any PC stock. They had some, but it was the de facto Sims and WoW stuff. I thought I saw a Football Manager too. I went to the counter to ask if they had SM on PC. Two of them checked. Between them, they weren't sure if they had sold out or simply hadn't stocked it in.
After a total 40 minutes searching 4 game shops, I did not come away with a copy of Space Marine for the PC. Naturally, each one had stock for the 360 and PS3.
PC gaming isn't dead, folks, retail's just extremely thick.
12-09-2011, 02:03 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
Have you tried Amazon?
Kcuf retail. :)
Saying that, I was in Cardiff on the 4th and popped into That's Entertainment. I picked up XIII, Call of Duty, CoD: UO and Prey all for 5.99! Prey activated on Steam too!
12-09-2011, 02:07 AM #3
I've been moving about the last few days and will be this following week (returning to uni) so ordering has been a pain. I knew I'd be shopping and wouldn't have chance to play prior, so thought "What the hell?". Amazon will probably be where I go though.
The crazy thing is, some shops will have some randomly brilliant sales on PC titles, but it's so rare you miss them most of the time. Honestly, I know retail gets a lot of its money from the console versions, but if you don't provide stock, people obviously can't buy it. I wanted to give one of those four shops my money yesterday (well, except the second GAME).
12-09-2011, 03:10 AM #4
GameStop does the same thing here in the States: If it chooses to stock a game, which is unlikely, it'll order all of four copies - of which, due to pre-orders (who pre-orders from a brick & mortar nowadays, anyway?), none are available.
12-09-2011, 03:17 AM #5
Yeah, brick-and-mortar retail is pretty much dead for PC games. You can certainly still get physical copies of lots of games, but ordering online's the only practical option for them. Even that's become harder here in the U.S. since GoGamer went offline. I miss that place.
12-09-2011, 07:02 AM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
12-09-2011, 07:57 AM #7
12-09-2011, 08:01 AM #8
For some reason, I feel that this thread is out of place here..
But I understand. A shop where I even used to work at here in Vienna, an independant one, actually closed its doors. I think they only sell translate software anymore, because they have a chinese "school" as well. (which I also worked for at some point)
12-09-2011, 08:23 AM #9
Did you try PC World? They have games upstairs for the PC.
Sucks to hear about HMV, though. Last time I went in they had... Six shelves, I think (Two of those shelving units). How utterly bizarre.
12-09-2011, 09:38 AM #10
I didn't try PC World, but I was pretty bummed out by then. I probably should have. I also needed more time to kill, so that'd have been a good idea! I'll accept I am going off memory with HMV, so it could have been a bit more, but I remember going there and thinking "Yeah, this is a pretty pathetic attempt." So it could have been more; both GAME's definitely stocked far more. Of course, HMV wins because I was at least able to find the PC section.
Regardless, I'd still actually say my biggest issue was with GAME (surprised, anyone?) simply due to the price differences both from pretty much everywhere else and with each other.
And for all the fuss over digital distribution, which I do use, I'm one of those crazy people who just likes to have the box and disc. It feels like I own the game...and certain box arts are cool. There are a few other advantages or wants for it, but ultimately there's a pretty good feeling waiting to take a game home/come through the door and then opening it up that digital just can't beat.
12-09-2011, 09:53 AM #11
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
You also missed Grainger Games in the Merrion centre. They don't have much PC stock either, but they do have some.
The funny thing is, what you say of Leeds is very much true. In contrast GAME in Nottingham (it is admittedly a bigger store) has a pretty large PC selection. Sadly, their budget range - 3 for £20 - is still the exact same games as were in 3 for £20 8-10 years ago, when it was a good deal. But you can pick up most new stuff if you want it.
12-09-2011, 10:32 AM #12
As we all know, console games charge an extra tenner because the console they operate on gets a cut. When PC games are being charged the same, I need to know who the money is going to. It sure as hell isn’t the developers.
12-09-2011, 10:54 AM #13
Yep retail is pretty kind of dead for PC unless your going for more classic games from GAMEs 3 for £10 or something like that. Though saying that a lot of times I have found a few things cheaper then even a steam sale on those kind of deals and there there for awhile so I don't have to buy the thing then and there with steam
12-09-2011, 02:11 PM #14
I believe there was a big cock up with PC stock for Space Marine.
I'd say your best bet is DD as online retailers were hit by shortages as with the high street retailers and I had to cancel my order. Ended up grabbing it for £23 from shopto as part of the their new download service so that worked out fine for me. I think other digital shops were all charging £30-35 though I'm sure the key resellers have it cheap.
12-09-2011, 03:23 PM #15
Maybe RPSers could do a non scientific survey, everyone go to their local town and report the availability of major PC releases?
Then do an article about it on the main page and ask for publisher comments.
12-09-2011, 03:33 PM #16
12-09-2011, 05:13 PM #17
When I want physical box art and the visceral joy of actually opening a game and reading a manual instead of a PDF file, I use Amazon or Newegg. Though it's rare frankly, SC2 and GTA4 were the last games I bought physical copies of in recent memory. I probably will for Skyrim and Diablo 3, but online is just too quick/easy/cheaper then hitting a store. That's both a good thing and kind of a shame.
12-09-2011, 06:17 PM #18
GAME are charging 35 pounds for Skyrim normal edition.
Amazon have it for 27(28?)
I'm going with Amazon. Also, GAME apprently have a 20 pound express delivery charge now. They apprently want to stop having customers.
12-09-2011, 06:28 PM #19
I just want to re-iterate, the aim of this write-up wasn't to find retail 'beating' e-tailers in any way, but to point out the sheer absurdity of the situation.
As for my copy of Space Marine, I have placed an order online at my local friendly Amazon.
12-09-2011, 06:33 PM #20
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
I've noticed that Target stores here in the US at least attempt to have a PC section. They normally have a little display with games like The Witcher 2, Shogun, STALKER, Some C&C games and just general PC titles. I haven't been to a Target since SM released and I know that this won't help you guys over in Europe. Just thought I'd give some input in response to Red Squirrel.