This past week has not only seen it snow in the UK, which seemingly brings the nation to a stand still and on the whole the country is slow to adapt to these conditions, which appear to be worse than in previous years. This can be used as an analogy with video game retailers. In the UK at least, video game retailers have been struggling, aside from retailers in general, in the current climate with the rise of Internet shopping. This past week retailers HMV and Blockbuster have entered administration.


The Business Bit:

It is important to state that this doesn’t mean that both companies have gone out of business and furthermore this is just Blockbuster’s UK business, their Danish and American companies continue to trade as normal. A business entering administration means that the business is run by an administrator on behalf of the creditors while they look at options to avoid liquidating the company. This can come in different forms like recapitalizing the business, selling the business to new owners or demerging it into elements which can be sold and consequently close the remaining bits.

I have sympathy for all of those who are or will be affected by these companies going into administration. These are two of the main competitors on the high street for Game in selling video games. Game last year entered administration but thankfully were able to come out of administration and Game stores across the country, including in my home town, have reopened. There are a couple of reasons why these shops have struggled of late. The first one being that their pricing of games is simply too high, you can easily buy the same game for cheaper online or you can download the game direct onto your console or PC. Here’s what Nathan thinks on it:

“I hardly use retail stores anymore because I found a website that has free shipping to Australia and the prices are always cheaper.”

That quote was from colleague Nathan when I asked the rest of the team about this. Jamie (all hail our Editor-in-chief) sums up the state of video game retailers in Australia:

“Australia have your general shopping stores, the games there are fairly un-organized, weirdly prices and never up-to-date. GAME went bankrupt last year from too much competition.

EB Games is expensive, but the choices are lacking and so many shop there. JB Hi-Fi is the next choice, I would contribute them to be the reason that GAME went out of business, huge stores, cheap games and taking business away from others.”

These two statements show that it’s happening throughout the world, not just in the UK. Retailers need to react fast otherwise we’ll see more stores joining the wasteland of empty shop fronts.

Now personally I like to have the physical copy of the game, so it’s there on my shelf. I understand with some games, that is now impossible to do. Yet that’s still a feeling which I cherish. I can proudly show off my PS3 games to those who come to my room. I do miss going into town and to my local Game shop to buy the game, I am deterred from doing so, aside from the price of games, because the store doesn’t have a welcoming feel to it. There are people in those stores who are clearly passionate about games and convey that as they help customers, both knowledgeable and less so in gaming.

I’ll give fellow writer George the last word on this:

“I wouldn’t like to see them go anywhere anytime soon because there are few things I like better than waiting a year and a half for a game to come out and then going down to GAME to buy that game. It’s like when Skyrim came out, the whole shop was packed with people looking to buy Skyrim. It was a great atmosphere.

The staff in my two local ones are pretty savvy about the games they’re selling so much so you can converse with them without any of the awkward “Oh, I haven’t played thaaaat” from either one of us. Plus, I like to trade in from time to time. Games are expensive and whilst I do buy most full price, sometimes trade ins are handy when you’ve got a copy of the last Prince Of Persia that you’re just embarrassed to have lying around.”

The Proposal (no not the film with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock):

There is, in my opinion, a way in which Game can improve their store aside from pricing, which would make people, like myself return and maybe spend more time in the store. This is to embrace multiplayer gaming, especially local rather than online and have set up booths with a few chairs or sofas where friends or people can sit around and play some games together. It would enable non-gamers to see people enjoying themselves in a games shop, it would add a more welcoming atmosphere to some stores and show them what gaming is all about. It’s about the experience you have playing games with friends or yourself, that experience when you and a friend score a late winner on FIFA or get the winning kill on Call of Duty. It could mean that shops open later and have small competitions or gaming evenings where people come and just play, no need to shop but play. However, by doing so you could sell more goods or people are willing to buy a game or accessories. The feasibility of doing this is possibly not that financially viable but just imagine if they became a reality? I think they would be great fun.