Why GAME Not Stocking EA Titles Shouldn’t Be A Shock

Yesterday’s press rampage over GAME not stocking Mass Effect 3 (and other EA titles) this month caused something of a media frenzy, but perhaps it shouldn’t have done.

I’m no expert – by any stretch – but from here it looks like the truth is that GAME’s financial lifelines of late have meant that they simply don’t have the same amount of cash to spend on new games – and under the same conditions they’ve enjoyed for years.

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The difference with EA (and Ubisoft last week with the Vita titles) is that as far as we can tell they’re simply not prepared to offer the same buying conditions, and as a result GAME couldn’t – currently at least – afford to stock their games.

We’re told a recent meeting with GAME apparently left attending suppliers super happy and positive about the future of the company, but signs suggest perhaps it wasn’t attended by every publisher in the industry.

Anyone buying games from the retailer over the last few weeks might have noticed ‘property of’ stickers on the backs of certain titles – this seems like it was the publisher’s way of granting GAME the stock but retaining ownership in case there were issues down the line.

Sony were seemingly happy to do this, but maybe EA aren’t.

Because of this, GAME’s limited funds for stock mean that they can’t splash out on the quantities required, and so have had to refrain from selling them, at least for the time being.

The logic’s quite simple, even if it’s frustrating for the consumer.

Although everyone in the games press jumped all over the news there’s a chance that – just maybe – the actual situation was a little different and that none of this was that much of a surprise.

All this – obviously – isn’t great news for GAME, but it’s not as shocking as the headlines might have read.

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17 Comments

  1. It’s interesting that March is being mentioned, during this time EA release behemoths that will sell themselves Mass Effect 3, FIFA Street & a Sims game, I think EA have seen they don’t need the shelf space to help sell the game and they’re quite happy with online & non-specialists.

    The fact they’re choosing to distribute SSX through GAME is quite telling, it is a title which will benefit from the shelf space and being visible to the millions(?) of people who walk through GAME’s doors every week.

    It may not be a disaster for GAME either, these titles are likely to receive the discounting attentions of the supermarkets so why sell something for almost no return?

    Long term, they of course need the footfall that EA’s games will drive into their store so if they can’t sort something out, the end may arrive sooner than it otherwise could have.

    • I think your last point about footfall is the killer. The news yesterday leaked out to the wider public and especially the non-hardcore type of people who go in to GAME for their purchases. If this demographic start looking elsewhere for their games then this looks to be a downward spiral.

      • As Amphlett says the news of Mass Effect not being stocked was quite a worry for non-hardcore gamers. Many of my friends told me GAME are not stocking it but were also oblivious to any other problems they were having. If they can get the big hitters in they will be fine.

  2. When I was picking up a Vita memory card from HMV i noticed the ‘Property of SCEE’ on the back of the box similar to the ones in Game too.

    • Heard they shipped like that from Amazon too

      Perhaps Sony were really happy/desperate to pay for all the stock & even over-stock in stores & online to help give the Vita the best chance.

  3. “GAME’s financial lifelines of late have meant that they simply don’t have the same amount of cash to spend on new games”

    I see i’m in the same boat as GAME at the moment.

  4. lol aren’t we all?

  5. There are 2 life line’s which retailes like Game rely on.

    1) XMas game sales.
    2) New hardware.

    Well (1) is being effected by Online undercutting them and other rivales stores. Supermarks as unwritten rule also do Free parking (next to Free, if spend more £5 in the supermarket). Game is in town centers and which town center these days has free parking?

    For (2) well Sony have done what can but end of the day Nintendo and Microsoft might be a different story all together. It might just be to late when they relase new hardware as the risks might be to high then.

    The writing has been on the wall for long time, ever since various directors started selling there shares in the Game Group. When that happends things are not that good.

  6. I’ll give you odds on GAME will run a “trade in Mass Effect 3 in the first two weeks of release and get for £5” to get as many copies of it on their shelves as possible.

    Given the only incentive to buy the game new is those (probably) shite, shoe-horned co-op sections, I would imagine they will still make plenty of sales out of EA titles yet.

    • * “trade in Mass Effect 3 in the first two weeks of release and get ‘game X’ for £5”

  7. Will GAME stock it or won’t they. Riveting stuff.

  8. Little irritated by my friend. Ive just explained this situation to him and he said “So what? I will buy it at Tesco for half the price”… What are the supermarkets incentives for dropping the prices of games and using them as a loss leader when they have no competition on the high street? None. They can charge just less than RRP and people will still buy them because there isnt a bricks and mortar retailer that can compete. Grrr…

    • Supermarkets will still be in competition with each other so plenty of incentive to keep prices low. Supermarkets have never had any competition from Game, with the exception of the odd special offer, as their prices are consistently higher than them. Their prices at Game have been too high for too long and that is the main reason for their downfall. In the current climate no one wants to pay over the odds for something unless they are getting something beneficial in return (better quality products, exceptional expertise, trusted service, or convenience). Unfortunately the only one that truly applies when purchasing games is convenience and supermarkets are cheaper and arguably more convenient anyway. Game will not be here for much longer without a complete change in direction for their business. They might make Christmas this year and make a bit of money but I can’t see them still here by Christmas 2013.

  9. I think Game will probably be gone soon, especially after whats happened so far.

  10. “Although everyone in the games press jumped all over the news there’s a chance that – just maybe – the actual situation was a little different and that none of this was that much of a surprise.”

    This is the bit that gets me. TSA can only wait so long as the rest of the media leap upon the next fresh topic (or victim). Rumours fly and unsubstantiated conjecture resembles something truthful (or at least in the mind of the consumer) which then breeds a lack of confidence and can do so much more harm simply from reporting it.

    It’s gutting to see and something I truly hate about news I read online. Don’t get me wrong, I know the (printed) press are also to blame but the slower mechanism allowed for further checks (if there was a desire).

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