I like to think about things, and if I don't collect the thoughts somewhere then they'll all fall out of my head. Consider this my "spare-brain-thoughts farm".

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Game over.

In which we mourn the dead.

So, straying away from the whole cards thing for a while (Fret not, I have a Horde Mage to share), I wanted to talk about some other things going on in the world of geekery. Specifically some things that are affecting the UK gaming market.

I speak of GAME and Gamestation, the UK high street retailer. Now, I've been covering the story for the websites I write for, and since the start I've been saying that it doesn't look good for them. With the Royal Bank of Scotland intefering for their own purposes, and companies that could make a difference not putting bids in; the situation has gotten worse and worse by the day.

Now, GAME have gone into administration and taken Gamestation with them. Just under 300 stores have already closed, including my local GAME. More than 2000 staff have been made redundant. The CEO has stepped down and handed the company over to the administrators.

Admittedly, as a PC gamer, it's kindof difficult to feel sorry for GAME. They were almost abusive to developers to get discounts and threatened developers in order to make sure that their PC games were exclusive for a short time. Since I buy most of my games via Steam, it's annoying to find out that things I'm looking forward to (Space Marine, Saints Row 3 etc) are being held back for months at a time because GAME wanted exclusivity so they could attempt to cash in on a market that didn't like them in the first place (PC gamers and GAME do not go hand in hand).

Whilst they clearly haven't been virtuous paragons fighting in the name of gaming, I realise now that they're not being terrible people either. The past 2 years have been very difficult for them, and now we stand to lose our only major gaming retail chains.

The UK gaming scene isn't in trouble, but this could mean that there are dire consequences coming. If supermarkets step in to fill the gap in the market, then prices are going to bounce around as they compete with one another. If independant stockists can't stem the bleeding, then what will happen to the UK gaming scene?

We do have online retailers, but that is an almost specialist thing. What of parents who take their children out to buy new games for their birthdays? What of non-gamers who fall into the hobby? They are left with the supermarkets, with tech stores, with trade-in centres.

Those of us who market ourselves as real gamers will continue to buy online, but because of the declining physical trade, prices online will eventually suffer.

To say the least, I'll be upset if GAME do eventually go under and cease to exist. Thousands of people are out of jobs because their parent company made stupid decisions. The UK will lose a lot more than just it's retailer.

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