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GAME admits buying Tesco 3DS stock to sell second hand

Retailer planned to mark-up preowned consoles at same price as mint due to "supply shortages"

Specialist retailer GAME has admitted that it encouraged staff to buy 3DS units from supermarket Tesco in order to sell them second hand in stores.

Once its own 3DS units had ran out the company planned to sell the second hand consoles at the same price as mint stock.

"It has been authorised by the business that members of staff from stores are able to purchase stock from Tesco stores and then trade them back in to your store as preowned stock," said the letter from head office, distributed to stores on the evening of the console launch and forwarded to our sister site Eurogamer.net.

It has been authorised by the business that members of staff are able to purchase stock from Tesco and then trade them back in to your store as preowned.

GAME letter to staff

"It offers a great opportunity to gain 3DS consoles and games for your store's preowned stock."

The company detailed how team members were to take money from tills and buy consoles from Tesco's £175 offer, which involved buying a full price game at £34.90, but not sell them until all GAME stock had sold out.

It also included a list of the top games staff should buy with their Tesco bundle, with Warner Bros. LEGO Star Wars III at the top due to "limited market stock".

"Please note this task is not mandatory, it is only to be done when and if you have staff available and not to be done under any circumstances if you feel it may compromise personal safety. If you do this, you should consider the risks associated with this activity," warned the letter from head office.

"The price of preowned consoles will be set at the same price as mint due to expected supply shortage on the market and quality of the stock."

GAME admitted that it okayed the move in a bid to secure preowned stock.

"Some of our stores wanted to move quickly last weekend to build their preowned stocks of 3DS at the same time as their local competitors, so we gave them a process to do that," said the company in a statement.

"It was not mandatory, and happened in small volumes."

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Latest comments (21)

John Donnelly Quality Assurance 8 years ago
On one hand I think, Smart move to get their hands on stock.
On the other hand it does feel wrong.

Though its no worse than the EBay scalpers buying stock to re-sell when there are shortages at inflated prices.
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"If you do this, you should consider the risks associated with this activity"...?!
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Jonathan Davies Studying History, University of St Andrews8 years ago
@Jamie
Presumably the risks associated with sending staff out into the big bad world with a great wad of the store's cash in their back pocket.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jonathan Davies on 29th March 2011 5:22pm

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Show all comments (21)
Felix Gladitz8 years ago
"It was not mandatory, and happened in small volumes." - I love when these things get thrown around in an attempt to put out the fires.

And this one: "not to be done under any circumstances if you feel it may compromise personal safety."

- Personal safety? Like a ravaging fan boy putting your house on fire?

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Felix Gladitz on 29th March 2011 5:46pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Funny... When I worked in an independent game shop in NYC, we used to make a beeline for K-Mart to scoop up any unsold PS2's to resell because they restocked them quicker than our distributor...

@Jaime: re: "...risks associated with this activity?" Oh, Hell yeah.

I can recall having to place eight PS2's in a few garbage bags so I could make the three block trip back to the shop to avoid getting mugged. That and there was that one time when I had to pick up a bunch of consoles from the distributor on an early Monday morning and transport them by subway.

Getting up at the crack of dawn to hoof it by train and bus over to the game distributor that opened up at 7:30AM to pick up a dozen PlayStation 2 consoles then head into work a few hours early: $4.

Looking like a homeless guy with four heavy duty trash bags (quadrupled up so nothing burst through and filled with shredded paper and packing peanuts for extra safety) filled with a few thousand bucks worth of consoles? Priceless...
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 8 years ago
******* disgraceful business practice from such a big retailer. There's no wonder games developers/publishers get so angry at the pre-owned business.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
So Game was the only one who expected the 3DS to sell out? Just another nice example of the second hand market run by Game, we buy stuff cheap and resell it for the same price as new.
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Nevada Hargreaves-Madhas Studying BSc Marketing, Bangor University8 years ago
Oh GAME such beautifully underhanded tactics. Might be a little distasteful and frowned upon but then again after seeing the cost of actually making a 3DS console and the amount they charge for it I don't really feel very sorry for them.
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College8 years ago
Good on Game for playing the consumer game and buying cheap 'loss leading' Tesco stock.

Bad on game for selling 'second hand' stock on at full price.

Echo the comments above about ebay sharks, but this is a business with their own strategies and models not opportunists looking to capitalise and make a quick buck or two...a dirty tactic IMO.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 8 years ago
Are there any tax implications with the way that GAME are buying and selling.
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe8 years ago
A few things to note:
1, Betting the farm on 3DS shortage and shafting the consumer by buying stock up causing shortages at cheaper stores. Too bad, 3DS did not sell out...
2, Black screen of death
3, No consumer rights for second hand console purchases
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Alan Jack Studying MProf Games Development, University of Abertay Dundee8 years ago
The same company wouldn't even pay to have their takings transported to the post office when I worked there. You think the risk of walking to Tesco with a couple hundred quid in your pocket is bad?

Try hoofing it across town with a tiny backpack stuffed with about £2,000 in takings every day.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
Can you really blame Game for purchasing stock from a store that sells them at a loss. No one other than supermarkets could afford to sell at a loss and this is damaging to competition, the big store that sells games as a sideline sells for a price impossible for stores that rely on game/console sales. Sure, it's a shame for customers who would get it cheaper, but there is an argument that loss leading is anti- competition and is in itself a direputable practice.
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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe8 years ago
Given the price breakdown of 3DS I seriously doubt that it's a loss leader for any of the supermarkets - at least not the 3DS, but it's a good excuse to cover up shady business tactics by GAME and the like.
They simply are in a position to buy stock for possibly multiple countries (Tesco, Amazon, Dixons are all present internationally); hundreds of thousands of units while other distributors would buy in thousands at most.
The kind of discount you'd get for ordering that amount could leave even some small profit for the consoles... it might not be much or could be a lot. The real numbers won't be disclosed and won't ever be reachable for small distributors.
Should GAME risk to buy the same amount of units, they'd get the same price, unless their management is useless.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Istvan Fabian on 30th March 2011 9:36pm

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Still, the overall feeling is something somewhat distasteful and probably not a sustainable long term management practise. I'm guessing analyst will rate Game for sell.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
I don`t think the supermarkets sell at a loss, more like selling at a small profit. They don`t depend on those sales so if they get a small profit out of it it`s fine for them because it`s only a tiny part of their buisness. That`s still a lot better than the overpriced second hand sales where Game is getting 100% of the money.
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its strange, in the old days - a computer shop seemed a great haven of titles new and old and inspiring.
These days, it seems to stock less of what you want, and the ease of online sales (allowing for the best cheapest deal) and straightforward delivery means, Pc & Game retail shops are redundant, whereas shops like Forbidden planet are gold!
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Private Industry 8 years ago
In most cases I still go to shops, the general price for games is lower here than in most other EU countries and at the level of online shops. Like play.com has Motorstorm for 49.99 that`s the price it`s probably going to sell at Game and Gamestop tomorrow here and as I know HMV they will probably have it at 44.99 Euro. I like my games 100% day one. I only shop online for the odd titles like Catherine that will be out in summer in the US and no release date here so far or to fill my back catalog of games for previous consoles, so basically games that don`t come out here or a lot later or not in any store available. I just like to go in lunch breaks to shops and see what they have, not like I wouldn`t know the release list inside out ^^, maybe I find something that wasn`t on my list and got overlooked till now. :)
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They need to franchise interactive nessof the games, to draw in crowds - such as game staff vs public tournaments, or how to negotiate a tricky way through a game.

Once they draw in the more susceptible young uns, get grand ma to part the cash and sell decently cheap package console bundles, that will help save them retail shops. Probably worthwhle axing another 50-60 shops though. having 1 shop per county/area makes more sense to me anyways.

so that it becomes a really focused, game related specialty shop.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
Might also want to educate the employees better. Given the companies are purely specialized in that single content you would expect them to know more about it. I spend a lot of time reading news to be up do date so I don`t expect them to necessarily know more about games than I do. But 1 week after Sony has given a new release date for GT5 I went into Game to ask if it`s going to be released on the new date given by Sony or 2 days later, because normally 99% of the games in Ireland release on Friday and the new date was for a Wednesday, and they where still saying they don`t know if it`s even going to be released that year. Not to forget whenever I buy a game I get told to bring in my old games that I already finished. Ehhh no, I like to collect them and maybe play them again in 2 years to enjoy them again just like watching movies more than once. I still feel bad enough for selling most of my Mega Drive, N64 and PS1 stuff when I was little to get the next device while I still try to rebuild the collection and stuff like good condition WC 3 for PS1 has the price tag of a next gen game. ^^

It`s like in the movie You`ve got mail, where there is this big book store company who sells only books but the guys who sell them don`t know anything about it. :D
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Imagine a Forbidden Planet equivalent but just for Games. All formats, relics, 80s and new.
that would be like a gaming and merchandising Nirvana in London indeed
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