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Retail

GAME troubles are entirely its own making, says Paradox

GAME troubles are entirely its own making, says Paradox

Wed 07 Mar 2012 7:59am GMT / 2:59am EST / 11:59pm PST
Retail

"GAME has basically been bullying people around and now it comes back to bite them on the ass"

Outspoken Paradox exec Fredrick Wester has said that troubled retailer GAME has only got itself to blame for its current woes, which have seen the business fail to deliver boxed product to its customers.

He called it "karma" that the retailer is struggling to stock new releases in stores and is losing support from the game publishing community. Wester believes the only way to save the business is to jettison underperforming territories and sell to US rival GameStop.

"That's the backdoor they have," he told GamesIndustry International. "GAME has basically been bullying people around and now it comes back to bite them on the ass.

Look at EA and Nintendo, they're not even willing to help. They will take the hit just to get rid of GAME and start over.

Fredrik Wester, Paradox

"It's been abusing their situation in the UK for a long time but it always come back to you. Look at EA and Nintendo, they're not even willing to help. They will take the hit just to get rid of GAME and start over.

"One of the biggest problems is they haven't behaved nicely to other people, so it's karma," he added.

GAME is currently unable to stock major releases from Electronic Arts, including Mass Effect 3 and Tiger Woods 13, as well as titles from Nintendo, Namco Bandai and Capcom.

Wester believes that ultimately The Game Group is just one of many businesses that are failing to adapt to changes in the technology markets, pointing to digital stores from Sony and Microsoft as other examples that have been overtaken by new retail experiences.

"The problem is with the technology shift in this industry they're so quick," he said.

"Why didn't XBLA and PSN become like the App Store when they came out four year's before? It's because they don't have the same openness to new content, they have multiple filters before you're in."

For Wester, the App Store may be criticised for carrying too much content, but it's crucial to give the customer choice.

"No truly independent developers can make it through to XBLA. You can call yourself indie but you need funding, you need technology support. At Paradox we have problems getting onto XBLA with the money we have."

"On the App Store you end up with a lot of crap, but you're not forced to buy it. The customer decides. Angry Birds would never have made it to XBLA, Minecraft would never have made it to XBLA. There are so many games that are million sellers that would never have made it to XBLA."

24 Comments

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
Sadly I have to agree with Fredrick. Game have simply been greedy instead of smart and it's finally bitten them in the arse. The thing is that this statement can also be applied to EA and Activision. Costs of games have been too high for a while now and with the app stores out there, the customers like myself are simply not falling for it anymore.

So while EA and Nintendo may be willing to take the hit to see Game fall. They should be careful the consumer hasn't painted the same target on them for the same reasons.

Posted:2 years ago

#1
"Costs of games have been too high for a while now"

Really? I remember spending 50-60 on games for my NES and that was over 20 years ago. The dev costs on those games were a fraction of what it costs to make a game now.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,611 1,473 0.9
Dev costs may have been lower, but weren't manufacturing costs higher? Cartridge being a PCB, covered with a plastic shell, as opposed to duplication of discs?

Re: Wester's comments.

I can't help but think back to the rumours of Game basically saying "We're not going to stock Steamworks games", with what he's saying. Even now, I can't pre-order Darksiders 2 on Steam in the UK, because of some licensing arrangement that THQ have with "someone", that prevents the game from being on sale here just yet.

Yet another reason why I can't wait for Game to die (assuming the rumours are true, of course...)

Edit:

Found that quote about "not stocking Steamworks games". Doesn't specify Game, but it would either be HMV or Game

"Their confidence in their offering, which pays no heed to any rival in store activities, compares very favourably to that of the retail chains who recently sent a command to publishers that if they include Steamworks in their title it will not be stocked. Those guys need to grow up, stop bullying, and focus their attentions on making their offerings as attractive as the people they are obviously looking over their shoulders in panic at." ( http://www.computerandvideogames.com/304378/how-valve-shook-up-the-pc-market-1c-on-steams-true-value/?page=3 )

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th March 2012 10:06am

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
@Johnathan - That's what I always think, and games also kept their price back then. These days, if you can be patient enough to wait a few weeks after launch a game can be down to half price. On the other hand, back in the NES/Mega Drive days I used to get a game or two for Christmas, and on my birthday, and that was pretty much it. These days there's far more games, and less time between launches of the "must have" games. People can't afford to drop 40 on a game every couple of weeks, yet feel like they're entitled to those games. For me the problem with console games is that the market's totally saturated. Games cost more to make, yet everyone's trying to push more games out in shorter times. I'd much rather play a smaller number of better quality games.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,199 1,012 0.8
Oh well. Not much more for me to say..

Posted:2 years ago

#5

James Verity

132 25 0.2
care to tell us how Game bullied everyone? you didn't have to supply them, nobody forced any of you to do so... they were never the only retailer you could have supplied... or was it greed on your part too, that is possibly the gist of it...

companies are always looking into ways to screw the customer for minimal effort... and digital downloads are just such a method for some... just like the release it now, patch it later model some companies are using... screwing the customer with a broken product on day one... and as you said it to Game, I'll say it to you, doing so will come back and bite the companies that do it really hard...

the Gamer (consumer) can build up a company, pee-off enough of them and they'll break you too... you have all be forewarned...

Posted:2 years ago

#6
"Energy flows, where focus goes. Where Focus goes, Energy flows"

If any gaming specialist focus(es) on its number ONE hit - the client, in kind will most likely reciprocate

Its more than just business, its like a unspoken contract. Unfortunately, the client is now highly consumerist, and woe befall any business unable to adapt and roll with the punches, or be able to admit mistakes have been made.

A mea culpa and invitation to help restructure the business, can be a positive way through, although chances are Game have made enough detractors and negativity that it will be hard to find a strong ally to weather through these changes

Posted:2 years ago

#7

David Howard Editor-in-Chief and Founder, One Hit Pixel

12 19 1.6
@Jonathan O'Connor - It's more the cost of games against other stores and online. Whilst they can't really compete with the costs of online sales, what does a store visit provide me with as extra? Aggressive sales tactics and more than half the store clogged with pre-owned? No thanks.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Howard on 7th March 2012 10:35am

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Preet Basson Studying Mathematics with Statistics, University of Portsmouth

92 13 0.1
The thing is that this statement can also be applied to EA and Activision.

Its gonna happen soon. Soon

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Game needs to start giving publishers a cut of its preowned sales - and ideally a goodwill retrospective cut too.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
I really feel bad for the staff as it wont be easy for them not knowing if they will have a job in the morning.

Most of them are decent people but are following the company line when you walk in to the door to buy stuff.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Ben Pilgrim Studying Media and Public Relations, London Metropolitan University

19 0 0.0
So Game need to give the developers more money for a physcal product they don't own anymore? That would be like selling my car and then having to give Ford part of the sale for no reason, Game are not the only greedy business pulling the strings in the market and if someone told me Game is the only bad guy in this argument I'd laugh alot.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Ben, this argument has been done countless times. But your car is a physical product. Your game is the software, and you don't own it.

Publishers - and developers - are losing a small fortune every single year on second hand trades, and when you walk into Game (or HMV) and see a preowned game for just a few pounds less than a new one, it's a bit galling when you see how the industry is struggling. I accept the argument isn't completely black and white - Game would argue that it's trade ins that allow people to buy new titles they otherwise wouldn't, but still.

Anyway, like I said, this argument's been done to death, and given you obviously disagree, let's just agree to do so:)

Posted:2 years ago

#13

James Verity

132 25 0.2
"Your game is the software, and you don't own it." - thats right keep thinking that... with comments like that some companies don't deserve to sell any product at all...

Posted:2 years ago

#14

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
But thats the reality of it James.

You own a 'copy' or a license to use the software but the code, assets and what not that make up the game on disk, that is owned by the developer and or publisher of the title.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
James, from your earlier posting:

"care to tell us how Game bullied everyone? you didn't have to supply them, nobody forced any of you to do so... they were never the only retailer you could have supplied... or was it greed on your part too, that is possibly the gist of it..."

If you don't know how retail can throw its weight around, then you need to do some serious reading. Your profile gives you a Waitrose email address - I assume that means you work for them, I don't know though. But Waitrose are a good example - like any supermarket, they push their suppliers for the best deals in return for actually stocking their product, or stocking it in a prominent position. I think some of the supermarkets actually charge to have products on the ends of isles, where they're more visible. I assume Game has been no different - we'll sell your stock through our huge network of stores, but on our terms - and by the way, we'll sell preowned for just a few quid cheaper than new, but not pay you a penny. Don't like it? Fine, put your title in HMV, see how that goes for you.

I think you underestimate the bargaining power Game has traditionally had over publishers. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Game doesn't like - but that's what happens when you screw, by aggressively pushing preowned, the very industry you claim to love and support, and the very industry that gives you your profit.

I'll be really surprised if Game is still around by the end of the summer. In fact, I'll go a bit further and hang my hat on "I hope it isn't".

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 7th March 2012 5:14pm

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports

96 87 0.9
I think the problem of pricing is bigger than the whole boxed/digital debate and one of the key reasons why GAME is failing. The sad fact is that the consumer doesn't value our product as highly as it costs to develop.

I've done it myself; I've put games back on the shelf and thought maybe I'll pick it up if it drops in price. The problem is that at launch all boxed games are priced (mostly) the same, yet the perceived value and development cost of each title are wildly different.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Might take a sneek peek in the 2 stores in Belfast tomorrow if that is the case.
Though I dont know if there is much I want to add to my collection right now

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd

138 90 0.7
The only thing GAME ever really did to annoy me was to buy up their competitors, which I preferred (Gamestation, Gameplay). As a consumer I had other options. If I wanted cheap I bought online.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Iain McNulty Software / Game Developer, Yanxen

34 40 1.2
For anyone questioning GAME'sbullying, I feel I should repost the following comment I made on another article on this website not so long ago...


"I am calling this karma. Remember when GAME refused to stock Blur on their shop shelves for weeks, and when they did in the end priced it up higher than RRP? At the time it was a deliberate practically blackmail tactic against the publisher Activision after their dispute with them after they would not buy back copies of Modern Warfare 2 after GAME over-stocked them. Because of that, Blur didn't get anywhere as many sales as it could have.

And now look what is happening, GAME are making lame excuse after lame excuse for their not being able to accomodate the needs of consumers. I seem to remember them saying a few weeks ago that all the big titles of that week would be going on shop shelves and online, even after they took many of the big games off the list both in stores and online.

I guess what makes this hilarious is that one of their staff at the Liverpool Clayton Square store tried to tell me that after Metal Gear Solid HD Collection was withdrawn from going on sale at GAME that it was not going on sale anywhere, using the justification of "we are the UKs biggest games retailer, if we aren't selling it then nowhere else will be, so it has been delayed". Weirdly enough, most other retailers were selling it the next day. Odd, eh?"


I used to love GameStation, before GAME got their hands on it. There was genuine competition in the games retail sector, and GameStation also catered to those with a love of retro games. And what did GAME do when they purchased GameStation? They sent out a memo ordering all managers to bin any retro games unsold after a certain time. They then promised that they would not just turn GameStation into GAME version 2...a promise which was broken before long.

Besides, it would be no biggie if GAME go under, retail exclusives would just go to another retailer, and it isn't like Grainger Games does not exist (and currently match or beat the price of the same games in GAME).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Iain McNulty on 8th March 2012 3:36pm

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
Grainger Games? Aren't they the retailer that sponsored an awards event recently and behaved so disgracefully unprofessional they completely dragged their company's name through the dirt? I don't think I'd ever hand any money over to them if they filled the gap Game left.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,611 1,473 0.9
Oh, whoa... I'd never heard of them before the past 2 comments. I'm so never shopping at one of their stores.

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Iain McNulty Software / Game Developer, Yanxen

34 40 1.2
It's all nice to do the whole "I'm not going to spend my money there because of industry drama" routine, but guess what? If I, as a consumer, see Grainger Games selling games for cheaper than the so-called country's leading game's specialist then I will be happily handing over my cash, as are most other people. I do not think the actual games buying public actually give a toss about a few management types getting drunk at an award ceremony.

GAME is living on borrowed time, we all know it.

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Nick Parker Consultant

298 174 0.6
I can't believe the comments I've just read about Game. Wake up, all retailers are the same when it comes to negotiating margins and product listings. The grass is always greener; if Game goes, somebody else will fill the gap. The point here is, if your a developer/publisher of boxed retail games, besides the independents, where are gamers going to rub shoulders with other gamers and staff who know what they're talking about? We knew that eventually everything will be going on line but now that era could be closer than we think. Love 'em or hate 'em they've provided a robust platform to get product efficiently to a lot of people (our customers) for a long time and I'm not sure they deserve to have the industry spitting on their grave.

Posted:2 years ago

#24

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