This will be a little rant, so if you’re not interested in hearing why you should avoid supporting GAME in their time of need, then just skip this little post.
Seriously though, don’t support GAME.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you reap what you sow”? That phrase best defines GAME. If you’re not familiar with GAME, or their current situation; GAME are a European based retailer whom happen to specialise in video games. Recently, they hit a snag with insurance, and were unable to cover the games that they would try to sell. Obviously, this means they need to pay up front, which obviously means that they stand in a risky situation. Failure to sell any of their products would result in severe debt versus their old method of only having to pay the game publisher their share of the money at sale. As a result of this risky situation, most publishers refused to sell them any of their titles at all, which was completely understandable.
Initially, many consumers found it difficult to grasp why the publishers wouldn’t support GAME. As the ground collapsed under their feet, GAME reached out for help from the game publishers. Many of those publishers simply turned a blind eye to what was going on and walked away. GAME were desperate, and needed all the help they could get to survive. Considering their alarming situation, it was easy to sympathise with the company as publishers such as EA simply gave them the finger outright.
As a gamer in the United Kingdom I should be supporting them. If GAME were to go under then gaming in the UK will take a massive hit. It’s pretty clear to see. The publishers though? Would it not affect them in the same way? Well, yes it would. If GAME went down, that would be one less significant way to reach out to the European consumer. That being said, that doesn’t mean the publishers would want to help the retailer out.
As the main source for many gamers in the European market, GAME are so significant that they can bully around publishers. It’s been known that they do this for quite some time. They also exploited the second hand market for video games – a market that leads to absolutely zero income for the developers and publishers of the titles sold. For quite some time now, the games industry has been struggling to combat this pre-owned dilemma. Unfortunately, this war usually leads to the consumer being punished rather than the retailer. Whilst I don’t disagree that pre-owned games are almost as bad as piracy – an argument I will save for another time – I did not agree with how the publishers handled it. All the same, the retailer didn’t think twice about screwing the publisher over as they were blinded profusely by their own greed.
So when GAME extended their hand, hoping for a kind hearted publisher to grab them and lift them away from the collapsing depths of their former glory, the golden castle they built crumbling into dust, it’s no wonder that the publishers kicked GAME down. They fell, and they fell hard. A quick look at their online store front will show a lack of stock on anything worthwhile. But as I said, as a gamer I should be supporting them, shouldn’t I? Yeah, I should be, but I refuse to. I will not support them.
Excluding the paucity of their pre-orders, all of which the users were only informed of their cancellations two or three days before their launch, there was another issue in their midst. Their empire was crumbling around them, but what didn’t help them that all along their foundation was decaying. Customers were abandoning ship as torrents of bad news struck in the dark of the night. Between their titles being far too expensive these days (Metal Gear Solid HD Collection was retailing at £40, while selling everywhere else at £30), their pitiful customer service and their poor reliability, it was no wonder that customers were flocking elsewhere. I purchased a plethora of transactions to empty out my reward card, swarming like a vulture as I attempted to feast on their rotting remains, only to discover that my money, reward points, and vouchers were taken but I failed to receive my order. They sold me products that were out of stock. It happens, I guess. But what fuelled this rant to begin with was my discovery that users have been complaining about said items for over a month to no avail.
Purchasing from them, regardless of whether you’re being a vulture or a white knight to their rescue, also supports them. But they’re not really accepting your donations. They’re trying to leech everyone dry as much as possible before they close shop. I got a refund, but they’re no longer giving money back. And if they go, they run with the money.
At this stage, GAME is a lost cause. Like a mortally wounded animal, it squirms and struggles, but ultimately it should be put down. It should be put out of it’s suffering. While I don’t deny GAME deserves what it got, I can’t help but feel pity as I recall my fond memories as a child: the grand opening of the first specialist video game store in my local area. I was able to discover so many titles I was unaware of. Now? They’re just a pitiful mess, and it’s time to let go.
GAME need to be put down, and they need to make way for whoever steps up to take their mantle as King of the UK Video Game Retailers. The longer you support them, the more you’re going to be hurt.