GONE, says the cover of this week’s MCV, clearly designed to look like the GAME logo. After weeks of speculation and coverage, it seemed like the logical conclusion – after all, if you believe everything you read the company was doomed, or almost certainly in serious trouble.
They still are, of course – despite offers on the table from OpCapita and looming rumours regarding Wal-Mart, the reality is that GAME are still struggling to get stock from a number of publishers and rent payments are due very soon.
But hate mail? That’s what Michael French is claiming he’s received this morning, as the magazine dropped through the letterboxes of – well, pretty much everyone in the industry, including most GAME branches. “I’ve had hate mail from some of GAME’s 6,000 employees this morning,” said the editor in a blog post this evening. “I am not a popular person at the retailer’s 600 shops.”[drop2]”GAME’s communications boss called me earlier, I am not a popular person at the retailer’s Basingstoke HQ right now.”
The situation, though, is evident. MCV don’t want to see GAME dead, their reporting over the weeks has – from my point of view – been mostly fair and, as some have commented recently, actually somewhat biased in the sense that everything has been at the very least rather positive. Although, yes, Ben Parfitt’s continuous postings have picked up every minutiae.
“As I have explained,” continued French, “whatever happens in next week or so, GAME as we knew it has gone. Until now we had hoped it might remain intact.”
“It wasn’t intended as an obituary, we aren’t rubbing our hands hoping for GAME’s demise. If anything, events since that cover went to press have rammed home how change is ahead. The line-up of acquisition suspects now includes OpCapital, Wal-Mart and GameStop. None of them are going to buy GAME and not make some changes.”
There might have been gloating from the industry and press recently, but none of that has come from MCV. I’m not defending them of course, they’re quite capable of doing that themselves.
But was it in poor taste?
As I’ve said on occasion, people’s jobs are on the line here, but Tweets from other retailers have – in my opinion – stuck the knife in far more than this particular cover. And the article itself, beyond the bright pink visage and replica logo, paints a picture more optimistic than anything.
The comments on both the original post and Michael’s follow up suggest a readership less than impressed, though. “It’s in appalling taste for those affected,” said one of the cover.
“Is this as close as we can expect to get to an apology?” said another. “You used a completely and utterly misleading image (therefore exploiting the misery and anxiety of thousands) for the purpose of getting as many page views as possible. This is why people are angry, not because they think you hate GAME as a company.”
I can see their point. The article inside is fair and balanced, but the cover might not have been seen the same way, and the finality of the text would hardly make for great reading for anyone still manning the tills on the high street.
Your comments, as ever, are welcome.