Game Group, the UK video game retailer who was forced to enter administration earlier this year after steadily declining sales, has seen their Australian branch follow suit. The move is the equivalent of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. After entering administration earlier in the year, the UK division of GAME soon saw OpCapita purchase all of GAME’s 333 stores, although the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
A recent notice that was released on the official GAME Australia web site states:
“Kate Warwick and Greg Hall of PricewaterhouseCoopers were appointed Administrators of TGW Pty Limited (Trading as GAME) on 14 May 2012.
GAME will trade on an “as close to business as usual” basis as possible while the Administrators obtain a clearer understanding of the current state of the business and actively pursue options to secure its future.”
Currently, the retailer will still honor valid gift cards as long as they are only used for 25% of a purchase, although deposits for pre-ordered games such as Max Payne 3 and Diablo III will not be able to be refunded.
Analysis: As someone who hasn’t set foot into a GAME store in years, this move doesn’t affect me greatly. Even in retail, the prices of new titles at GAME are significantly more expensive than their competitors, and soon after I discovered this fact, the company quickly lost my business.
Nevertheless, I do hope the company can pull itself together as I’ve had pleasant experiences with customer service, albeit from a fairly long time ago, and having options at the retail level always benefits the consumer. The store seemed fairly reasonable with their trade-in offers, and I suspect for a long time now it has simply survived on the used sales market. But with entertainment retailers, rather than specialty game stores offering similar trade-in values and generally lower prices on new titles, it was only a matter of time before GAME Australia found themselves in some trouble. The other problem here is that I don’t really foresee a substantial investment coming from an outside company to save GAME Australia like what the UK branch saw, making the situation significantly harder for the company to recover from.
Although its disappointing deposits of pre-ordered games by customers can’t be refunded, it’s a somewhat decent gesture to still allow gift cards, even though many, myself included, would much rather have the refund.