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Opinion

Our Thoughts Are With Game Group's Staff

It's a big day for the retailer.


MCV's controversial cover might be about to become literally true.
Today is looking like it could be the pivotal moment for Game Group PLC’s future. Yesterday, the 25th, reportedly marked the day that a substantial rent bill was due for their retail outlets. They now have a bill of £21 million hanging over them and we’ve heard reports that buyout talks may have collapsed.

Last week, they took the first steps towards administration by filing a Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator. Failing any last minute rescue deals, it looks like this week might see that administration finally come into action. That would mean a true fire sale of assets that some are claiming will be as bad as Woolworths collapse a couple of years ago. During that sale, I saw downbeat Woolworths staff actually selling their shelves to customers.

It seems like Game Group PLC (which also includes Gamestation, remember) has failed to put together a pre-pack deal that appeals sufficiently to a buyer that the business could be bought out as it stands for a reasonable return.

Swirling rumours of a swoop from GameStop seem like smoke in the wind too, there’s been no firm word of that company doing anything more than standing on the sidelines watching with interest, although they’re a logical choice if we want to pin our hopes on a rescuer.

So what does that mean? Well, it means that the business as it stands isn’t an attractive prospect for the buyers that were showing an interest. If talks have collapsed, those buyers are now likely to wait and see what the administration period resolves and may make offers to buy any assets of the business which they think are likely to be useful. Someone may wait a few weeks for all the worthless copies of FIFA 08 to be sold off at 5p a disc and then make an offer for key stores or logistical networks.

Above all, it means a longer period of uncertainty for the company and its thousands of employees.

Surely that’s the most heartbreaking element of this whole sorry story: the effect it will have on the lives of thousands of employees who depend on Game Group for their wages. As an outsider looking in, I can’t help but feel that the business hasn’t lived up to its potential over the past few years. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but Game Group’s failure to meet the rising digital sales market adequately and their inability to effectively offer an alternative to online retailers and their tax-haven discounts have been crippling. But those things are certainly not the fault of the regular Game or Gamestation employee.

So today, as we all sit waiting to hear the continuing story of Game Group’s financial insecurity unfold, we’re sparing a thought for those normal staff members who have carried on turning up for work, serving the gaming community and doing their best for the company and for themselves in what must be a truly dispiriting time. Best of luck to all involved.

main page photo credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

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49 Comments
  1. manwithnomortgage
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    yes indeed a long day ahead for a lot of people.

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:03.
  2. Jim Hargreaves
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    If GAME does go under, Oxford city centre will be left with HMV and that’s just about it. Gamestation disappeared not that long ago either. A shame, really.

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:10.
    • Cerberus64
      Member
      Since: Oct 2008

      If GAME goes then it the same for Central LONDON – and for almost every other town and city in the UK.

      Start practicing how you’re going to describe a ‘high street shop’ to your grand kids.

      Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 11:27.
  3. heedbaw
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    It must be brutal being a Game/station employee at the moment, either they’ve been told nothing or are in denial. Last visited a Gamestation on Thursday and they were still asking if people wanted to pre-order GTA V!
    To expand on the point of the use of loopholes for cheap DVDs, Games, etc. it seems that the closing of those has come at too late a point for Game. What’s the chances that after they go online retailers will have to up their prices?
    I’ve also noticed recently that Tesco, not sure about Asda, have started to price new releases at 2/3p less than my local Gamestation. Have they given up on silly cheap prices as they know that Game are likely to go under, and are not bothering to sell at a loss as there’s no need to now. Other than those two the nearest place I’ll be able to get games now is about 12 miles away.

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:18.
  4. Ed the Penguin
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    The manager of my local Gamestation is a friend of a friend. Hardly speak to him but when I have he and his staff have always been ever so helpful. It is such a shame to know that closure is imminent, but even worse to think that they’ll be without work. Even Game – I personally think that the shop is shite, but I wouldn’t want to see their staff without work.

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:18.
  5. giantwoman
    Member
    Since: Sep 2011

    I did a Christmas temp job a couple of years back at GAME in Worthing, and whilst the job itself may have slightly sucked, the people I worked with were some of the best co-workers I’ve ever had. Some of them still work there today and I truly feel sorry for them in the current economic climate. Best wishes to them, and the all the other GAME and Gamestation staff around the UK x

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:30.
  6. freezebug2
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    Indeed, plenty of sympathy for the staff involved that were forced to go along with the destructive rollercoaster ride that was the GAME business plan.
    Absolutely none whatsoever for the management that have effectively run the company into the ground with their naive and Apprentice-like business practices….Sugar would have sacked them all!!

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:31.
  7. Tomhlord
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Apr 2009

    It is a shame for all staff members of GAME & Gamestation and I hope they can find new jobs soon.

    Also, it will be odd to walk down a high street and not see anywhere apart from HMV really selling games. I know a lot of gamers buy online, but Game still had a lot of customers, but for whatever reason it wasn’t a profitable model.

    Looking to the States, Gamestop are raking in large (if slightly dipping) profits and while the market is unsteady, there is certainly money to be made. Perhaps there is a gap for an enterprising business to fill Game’s shoes in a more streamlined guise and in the future this may be a benefit to consumers.

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:37.
    • aerobes
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      Thing is, over here in the US, the gaming pricing structure is extremely strict. There are no price wars between, say, Walmart, Amazon.com, Target, Kmart and Gamestop, so it’s simple for them to be competitive.

      Every new game is $60 all the time and typically remains that for at least a month thereafter, usually longer. And if the price changes in one place, it changes everywhere.

      There’s no price competition so people just shop where it’s convenient to do so or where they prefer to go. The natural benefit to Gamestop is the trade-ins and the pro member system which you pay for yearly but you get little percentages off pre owned games and you get a little extra when you trade in so the more you use it, the more it benefits you.

      Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 20:44.
  8. Taylor Made
    Member
    Since: Oct 2011

    I will miss Gamestation the most they was an awesome people to talk to & such a shame GAME had to be their parent company.

    I wonder how Sony are taking the news, I know they wounded by this

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:37.
  9. tatoemonkey
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    Good riddence terrible company

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:45.
    • giantwoman
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      Little bit harsh isn’t it? You might not like their business practises but for many people (ie non-gamers buying gifts) they were the only option on the high street, before you even take in to account the number of individual staff this will effect.

      Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:47.
      • Ed the Penguin
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        Don’t worry about people like him. It’s OK because his mum doesn’t work for Game.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:57.
      • tonycawley
        Pint! Pint!
        Since: Feb 2009

        I think he meant good riddance to a company doing it’s best to run the industry into the ground. I don’t think he meant good riddance to the staff.
        Personally I’d like to see Game continue, but with less emphasis on pre-owned and more emphasis on quality.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 10:36.
      • giantwoman
        Member
        Since: Sep 2011

        My implication was more towards the harshness of the comment, and the fact that he clearly has no compassion for the staff, both in stores and at their head offices.

        I’m not sure how you think GAME were trying to “run the industry into the ground” but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 10:40.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Yeah, i am inclined to agree – Game obviously didn’t go out to fail, or intentionally try to drag the scene down (although they have been regarded as bullies of the industry by some), but they are guilty of being a bit short sighted & not thinking about the long term.

        I imagine a board meeting a couple of years back to have been a bit like this;

        Exec 1 “Push pre-owned over new at every chance”
        Exec 2 “But won’t that annoy the companies we work with that supply us our goods to sell?”
        Exec 1 “Meh, they’ll get over it. It’s all about our profit”

        Whilst any business needs to be focused on it’s profits to thrive, they forgot the first rule of business… Don’t cut off the hand that feeds you.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 10:45.
      • Ed the Penguin
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        giantwoman, I have to clarify that my comment wasn’t aimed at you. I was just irritated that some people don’t register that others will most likely lose jobs over this.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 11:08.
      • giantwoman
        Member
        Since: Sep 2011

        Ed – not a problem at all. I understand the uncertainty that staff members and their families are experiencing at this time, as I have been there (with another company I must say) and is is horrible situation to be in.

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 11:21.
    • gaffers101
      Member
      Since: Oct 2008

      What a terrible thing to say!
      GAME may have brought much of this on themselves but at least have some sympathy for the staff and their families, this must be a very stressfull time for them at the moment.

      Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 10:39.
    • tatoemonkey
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      First of all I’m not a he I am a she a girl gamer :) and yes some may find it harsh but I did mean good riddence to staff who are rude and good riddence to a terrible arrogant company but thats my opionion to which I am entitled.

      Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 12:25.
      • Ed the Penguin
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        How many Game stores have you been to? I’ve already said that I don’t like my local Game, but I have been to other stores where they actually acknowledge me. Gamestation stores are fantastic as far as I’m concerned. At a time where people are losing jobs, I wouldn’t tar them all with the same brush.
        You also have to remember that there may be people here that are directly or indirectly affected by what’s going on. But at least you explained a bit further as to why you put that comment in the first place. Also, apologies for my rude comment. Monday Mode. :)

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 14:08.
      • tatoemonkey
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        Cardiff, Castleford, Wakefield, Edinburgh, Bristol and Gamestation in Barry all rude staff and I don’t like expect the earth I am certainley no Angel I am a Health and Safety Officer or the devil with a clip board as some like to say :)

        Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 14:44.
  10. chall5
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    spent the remaining £2.98 on my Reward card on Sunday on a PSN card, did wonder if it was the last time I’d set foot in a GAME. I agree with the comments citing unfulfilled potential, GAME could be a thriving business if they rationalised the number of shops and made their prices more competitive

    Comment posted on 26/03/2012 at 09:50.

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