Even though the world has moved online, I still love going into Game. Sure, it sometimes feels like they’re actively trying to persuade me to leave with their love of pre-orders, but there’s nothing better than taking 15 minutes to look at all the pretty things I want to own and persuade myself I’m overRock Band. Please don’t be in severe financial crisis.
What’s that? You are? Well, the release of Mass Effect 3 should perk things up a bit.
What’s that? You’re not stocking it? Oh.
Game Group had a pretty terrible February. Edge-Online have been covering the events pretty closely, so here’s a tidy little timeline for you:
Feb 1st: Reports emerge that Game Group are in credit trouble.
Feb 2nd: Game Group goes into discussions with banks to sort out the trouble, may sell overseas business.
Feb 7th: 46 jobs gone at head office as restructuring starts.
Feb 21st: Game doesn’t stock Ubisoft Vita titles.
Feb 22nd: Game doesn’t stock The Last Story, cancels all pre-orders.
Feb 23rd: Game confirms plans to shut 35 stores by Christmas 2013.
Feb 29th: Game Group loses EA’s support, won’t stock any EA releases in March including Mass Effect 3. Shares fall 15% in one day.
And I thought my February was pretty rough.
Game Group’s issues all stem from a poor Christmas period, with sales falling by 15%. The credit woes that emerged at the start of the month have led to suppliers asking for payment up front, and this in turn has led to all the games above not being stocked. Game did eventually manage to get Ubisoft Vita stock into the store, including the ever popular Lumines and the massively unappreciated Rayman: Origins, but I doubt that Vita sales are going to be company-saving.
The announcement of EA not supplying the latest titles to Game in March is of particular note as the includes the release-of-the-year-so-far Mass Effect 3. Pre-orders have been cancelled in return for store credit and the advice given is that it may be stocked in later months. If I were HMV, I’d be advertising how many copies they have.
So where does Game go from here? IGN editor Keza MacDonald told the BBC that this could either go two ways. Either the loss of EA’s support is a “hangover” from the credit troubles, or instead a sign of on-going financial woes; either the lasting effects of a poor Christmas or just the beginning of a poor year. I see the latter being the obvious answer.
Which is a shame. For all the reasons that no one wants to go to Game, it’s good to have them there for that day-one purchase I promised myself I wouldn’t make (I’m looking at you Dark Souls). Sure shopping there is a (little bit of a) complete hassle, but I’d miss it. Good luck, Game.