GAME UK Needs To Raise $A269 Million Or Face Collapse

GAME UK Needs To Raise $A269 Million Or Face Collapse

GAME in the UK has had a tough few months, but things are about to get tougher. The retailer needs to raise £180 million (approximately $269 million) in a week or face going into administration.

GAME Group has 1300 stores worldwide and is believed to need £180 million to pay creditors, suppliers and banks. According to the Press Association, GAME faces a £21 million rent payment next Sunday and a £12 million wage bill at the end of the month. It owes more than £10 million in deferred VAT (similar to the GST in Australia) and £40 million to suppliers. Approximately £100 million is owed to GAME’s banks.

GAME UK has signalled that financial losses for the month of January alone are likely to be around £18 million.

It is believed that the struggling retailer is looking for a buyer, although no deals have yet been struck.

The Australian arm of the retailer has not reported similar struggles to the UK arm. We have reached out to GAME AU for comment.

[Press Association]


  • What would the implications be for the Australian division if the main UK arm was to go into administration? In fact, if they’re performing well here, wouldn’t that make them a valuable asset to sell off to someone else to raise some of this capital?

    • The question becomes: Who would purchase GAME AU? GameStop already have EBGames, so unless a big chain over here (KMart, Big-W, Target, etc) wants in on gaming, or a US firm wants to spread its reach (BestBuy for example?), I don’t think we’ll see any other commercial interest in GAME AU.

      My question is what will happen to GAME AU if GAME UK go downhill?

        • They might be to busy man handling new consoles or hiring prostitutes and playing video games with them to answer that query.

        • word on the street from the industry 18months ago was that they have struggled since day 1, and it was believed that without the UK arm they would have packed up awhile ago.

          I’ve been out of the industry for 18 months though, but with how retail has performed I don’t really see how their fortunes could have changed since then.

          I really hope that isn’t the case as it is good for the Australian market to have them, then again I haven’t bought a game in a bricks store for awhile now, so it’s certainly no skin off my nose either way.

          • I doubt that… GAME practically cannibalised a lot of local chains (Games Wizards being one of them) when they got set up here and most of those shops were doing fairly decently at the time

            Unfortunately somewhere along the line GAME decided to take the EB route of mass ordering “popular” games only and at the same time not really giving any incentives to choose them over EB. In fact there was even times when GAME was more expensive than EB. Which was fine in short term but w/ JBHifi in the scene being a real competitor pricewise, GameTraders making a name for itself and EB adapting by getting release exclusives GAME just didn’t evolve in time. They spent more on a failed PR excercise than working on what was going wrong w/ their business model (ie. the shift from providing a wider selection to putting all their eggs on the ‘popular game’ basket and then making up for it w/ preowned sales)

    • I don’t think they are performing well in Australia. I’ve never seen anyone do more than browse in the one near where I live. Granted, it’s right near an EB and a JB though.

  • When I heard this was happening, I thought it best if I cancel my pre-orders with GAME, and I used the credit to get some other games. It’s a real shame though, as my experiences with them has been first class in the past. EB Games not so much 🙁

    • This is excellent advice. If the Australian stores were to go into admistration they would not be required to honour any pre orders or gift cards even though they would continue to sell stock.

      • I just felt it wasn’t worth the risk, even though GAME may not go under here in Austalia. I actually ended up getting Sonic Generations and some PSN cards, as I couldn’t get the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus pack and Jak and Daxter Trilogy at any of the stores in Canberra.

  • The UK version have been having a “Spring (maybe Fire?) Sale” and there have been games like Dead Space 2 going for about AU$5 and/or less… so I’m still very cautious of the local GAME shutting up shop also, especially if the UK go under. Made sure that I’ve used all my credit as I go with the loyalty points

    Also only have 2 things on pre-order with them (pre-ordered long ago, Diablo III & Max Payne 3, so I don’t really mind if I lose that $20), both of which I have since pre-ordered with EB as a backup.

  • I have $70 credit waiting for RE:ORC – kinda scared to leave it there.
    Tracey a follow up would be great, but unlikely. People wont know til it happens, otherwise you have everyone running there pulling their credit out.

  • So when do we congratulate GameStop/EB Games on the newfound monopoly control? or maybe they always had it?

    Despite this fact I still won’t care if the company faces insolvancy, I never liked GAME.

    • EB will never have a monopoly as long as jbhifi are there. Plus if it came down to an all out war between the two JB would win because it has dvd/bluray, music and tech to back up game sales

  • With digital distribution and the fact that games are largely commodities (i.e. the copy of ME3 I buy from GAME is the same as the one I order from ozgameshop) you would have to be very skeptical about the future of brick and mortar games stores – so I am not sure who would want to buy the business, even at fire sale prices.

  • I wouldn’t care in the slightest if GAME AU falls as well.

    A few years ago they used to be any okay store to shop in, pricing a bit better then EB (maybe not as good as JB). But they’re nothing like that now.

    New stock levels have decreased versus pre-owned stock, in the last week I’ve gone to a couple round Perth, and they have at most 30 different new games in a store (compared to the hundred odd at other stores). Forrest Chase GAME is extremely bad, they almost have no new stock left, huge gaps on walls missing stock, and their pricing is terrible compared to EB or JB. Plus I can actually go into an EB or JB and not get accousted by a staff member. Seriously GAME, if I want help I would go and ask a staff member.

    Plus there is the whole advertising campaign run by GAME in the last year, with the two idiots living in a basement, and the terrible swingers campaign. They literraly have no understanding of the age of their target market. Gamers are >30 and can’t be bothered with childish advertising.

    • I’ve never been approached by a staff member at JB and it rarely happens at EB Games, however in less than a minute I’ll be approached in GAME it really is frustrating not to mention even if you buy anything its still not enough they ask about additional pre-orders that wrthless rewards card of theirs and warranties/Insurances it feels like I’m at a Time Share Conferance.

      I share your hate for the current GAME AU.

        • You think aggressive sales tactics are customer service? I guess it can be argued both ways however personal preferences you know.

          Don’t forget you can only say no so many times before it becomes frustrating.

          • Sounds like Games Workshop stores – I stopped going into their stores because I’d be mobbed within seconds.

          • Note I said ‘accousted’ by a staff member. Stores should train identification of customers intelligently.

            Middle-aged or older female comes into store, then yes, great, go ask them if they need help. Young kid comes into store, then yeah they may need some help.
            15-40 year old male or female comes into store, then no, they probably do not need help immediately, as they would actually know what they doing.

            I’m not saying that the employee needs to be rude and not helpful, but there is a big difference to ensuring customer service for when the customer wants to ask a question, to running up to a customer as they walk through the door asking inane questions.

        • that’s total BS, my family no longer travel anywhere near the Parramatta store, because on the last 3 occasions we were hounded by 3 separate staff members who refused to just let us look.
          i enjoy shopping at Game, i just do not like getting told what to buy.

      • agreed.

        EB has never once asked me the whole “oh you could buy that new copy pre-owned and save money”, GAME has done that multiple times. If I wanted the pre-owned copy, I would have picked up the pre-owned copy.

        The one area GAME could improve (as could JB as well), is listing of brick and mortar stock online. As everyone knows about online shopping (UK specifically) and how much cheaper it is, but there is the delivery time period. If brick and mortar shops ensure that each stores stock levels (both new and pre-owned) run back into an online realtime system, this gives them a positive over online shops for a buy-now.

        As many a time, I think of a game that ‘Hey that’d be kind of cool to buy and play today”. If I could go online, find the closest store that has stock, I can then head there and buy it immediately. If GAME was to implement this, I’d be a lot keener on going there, as I could guarantee that they have a copy of what I want to buy, and at a price I know.

        The only store that does this is EB. It is a great feature, and has got EB sales from me that they probably would not have got otherwise.

  • Goodbye and good riddence hopefully. GAME in the UK were doing some pretty rotten things to UK gamers. They refused to stock any publisher who would also use digital distrubtion to the point of preventing UK gamers from being able to purchase games from the likes of Steam and Origin, hell even direct2drive and gamersgate.

  • Thats not customer service – I worked in a store like this, and its a mixture of promotion and “theft-prevention”.

    Usually when I go to a store I’ll ask if I want help. Nothing will make me leave faster than if they start blabbing on about some lousy rewards program I have no interest in.

  • I don’t think they will be around much longer in Oz, the one in the Adelaide city center closed about a year ago.They seem badly run to me the last store I was in had three staff, two just sitting around talking to one another and one playing on her iphone and no customers, this was on a tuesday morning a well known retail dead zone.
    If the UK bizz goes down so will the Oz stores.
    Needless to say if you have credit/vouchers/reward points cash them in NOW as by the end of the month they will be out of bussiness.

  • Personally, I would be disappointed if GAME AU were hurt by this. I’ve got a pretty good rapport with the staff at my local game, they’re all good people, and just run of the mill core gamers. I don’t get hassled with any special offers or pre-orders, and they don’t mind just talking shit about games while I’m in there.

    If GAME AU go under, I’ll be going online, or to the JB in town.

  • Hope Game AU stay on thier feet i buy a few games a year from there online site. They are really good with release date delivery infact i brought Mass effect 3 from them and when i got home from work on the the release date it was waiting for me.

  • There are rumors from the top of EB that Game AU are also closing – yet, the manager at my local Game got a phone call from Head office expressly assuring them that they’re staying open. So, until it actually happens one way or the other, we won’t know.
    And on the customer service / being hounded issue, I ask a simple question – “Anything I can help you with, or are you just looking?” “Just looking, thanks.” “No worries man, give us a yell if you need anything.”
    Simple, easy, I don’t bother them, and they know if there’s anything they don’t know they can ask. Asking if you can help isn’t bothering people, and I’ve never had someone react badly to this approach.

  • ABOUT FRAKING TIME! Really theyve made so many bad calls in the UK with the treatment of mass effect 3 customers must have really hurt them. On top of all that their always trying to change their image here in aus (and its failing horribly campaigne with phil and ed couldnt have picked 2 people worst to appeal to their target audience ).

    (in AUS)They cant compete with jbs pricing 78-79 dollars on mass effect 3, modern war 3 the closest them can come to is 84 (its still money and every purchase they cant match is a loss of $ per customer). considering the aussie dollar is so strong thats atrocious. i have to admit some stores briliant customer survice right amount of info serice and sell great vibbing environment. But majority of the stores are a blow out (sad really for the name).

    I do have to agree with SARUJIN about their Forst Chase store in Perth its empty, for such a large store their biggest store in Perth its a shocking example of their company branding. Its bay are always half empty staff are not relatable too and ill informed. Seams dull and boring.

  • Boom Woot Galore, if you’d bothered to do any fact checking you’d know that until Thursday (15/03) in my local GAME ( in Vic) COD MW3 was at $78 for over a month. Personally I like being asked if I need anything. It’s the staff, not the TV and particularly not the Internet fanboys that influence where I shop. If I’m in western Melbourne ill go to one of three GAME stores I know of, cause they’re informed and nice whereas the two EB’s near me have the unfortunate negative of having appallingly rude and uninformed staff. If I’m in north or east Melbourne I go to EB Broadmeadows cause of the excellent service there.

    Essentially, and I’m sure this has been said before in an infinite capacity, try and actually think and do research before you blather on with a massive generalization and further degrade he already horrible stereotype of ‘gamer’ in this country.

    End of line

  • Haha people will always find something to complain about. If the staff didn’t ask you if you need help you would whine that theyre ignorant and slackers.

    A simple “hey did you need help at all mate or just browsing?” “nah just browsing thanks.” Is that truly such an atrocious breach of customer service. I work at a certain large gaming retail store here in Aus and if you don’t ask customers if they need help it’s considered you’re not doing your job. I’m a sales assistant, don’t hate someone for doing what they’re paid for. F*** I knew us gamers were an irritating stereotypical bunch but far out kotaku comment threads take the cake. Next time you desperately come begging to have that final CE which has been on pre order for months I’ll smile when I say it’s sold out.

    • ^While a rant, I agree with the guy above.

      You people commenting need to seriously take a step back and read over what you’re posting. It’s honestly like I’m watching a child throw a tantrum.

      Seriously, you spit on a retailer simply because their prices are slightly higher than that of the mass chains such as JB or Big W? When really in most cases (when it comes to new releases in particular) their prices are roughly on par, albiet maybe a little bit higher? In the last 12-18 months especially, GAME has been pretty decent with their prices. Most new releases are $78, $88, $98. Not the best around, but definitely on par with that of JB HIFI.

      And you decide to condemn them again simply because you’re receiving standard customer service? The guy above is right. You would be the EXACT same people complaining if you walked into a store and were ignored completely until you walk up to the till. Personally, I’d much rather shop at a place where I’m “swarmed” by 3 people in a matter of seconds than a place where I’m completely ignored.

      You do realise that those people that “swarm” you are only doing their job right? And I can bet you any amount of money that they’ve been told unless they DO approach every customer, it’s their head on a plate. Same goes for the “Do you want fries with that?” service at the till. Yes, they have to ask you if you need anything else, if you want a warranty, if you want a pre-owned game instead, if you want to pre-order something, if you want to check out an accessory thats on sale etc… because if they don’t – it’s their job on the line. Do you honestly think for a second that any normal human being in retail would WANT to hound a customer with all those questions trying to upsell? Of course these guys don’t, but they have to! They’ve been told to!

      I’m betting figure wise, that $3 Disc Warranty that you just decided to get and will never use means a hell of a lot more to that sales person than it ever will to you.

      While I can’t defend every store and every salesperson, because I have no doubt there are some horrific ones that work there and some terrible stories too, STOP hating on something just because YOU didn’t get what you want or because some other place does something cheaper.

      Look back at all the hateful above comments here. That is all by you, the gamers: The very demographic that make up a large portion of GAME’s customer base/targeted audience. And yet, the sales and customer service people that you dump on have to deal with EXACTLY that attitude on a daily basis FROM people like you. If you worked in retail and got (ON A DAILY BASIS) screamed at, threatened, or made to feel like crap, all simply because the prices at the company you work for aren’t as good as the place around the corner, or because you can’t pricematch $78 on an $88 item, or ask too many questions; I’m betting you’d be struggling too.

      If you must hate, hate on the company, not on the people inside the company. They’re just doing their job. And don’t hate just because you couldn’t have your way. Stop clapping for a second and think about how many of those people are going to lose that same job if GAME AU goes under. That’s not something to applaude.

  • GAME AU have their own problems, believe me. Also they *are* a division of the UK company regardless of how much they are telling the local press and customers otherwise. You would honestly not believe the lengths GAME AU are going to on the PR damage control front in the face of all this. They actually recently forced employees to sign non-disclosure agreements stating they would not talk about the company to *anyone* EVER or risk termination & also made employees sign an agreement stating they would not ‘fraternize with former GAME employees’ as doing so is considered potentially harmful to the company. Area managers and HR now also have the right to inspect employees Twitter/Facebook/Other social media accounts upon request and if an employee refuses they can face termination also.

    A former long-time GAME AU employee

  • I walked into my local GAME shop in Maroochydore on Sunday and walked straight out after 3 seconds. They only have literally a handful of PC titles, and their selection of console games (both new and pre-owned) is miniscule to say the least. I’ve noticed this over the past 12 months too, which is a bit worrying. Some 20-30m away at EB Games, there is actually a bit of a selection.

    If GAME UK go under, the Australian arm will surely go under too.

  • I love the angry kotaku crowd, damned if you do and damned if you don’t… are you so socially inept that a staff member approaching you to ask if you need assistance offends you? You aren’t going to last long in any job if someone having a minor exchange of words gets you into a state of nerd rage.

    I made the error of stepping in to a major Apple store a few weeks ago and wasn’t approached for over 20 mins. I was ready to spend a good amount of money on gift as well. After waiting around to be served and even asking 2 staff members but told “they’ll be right with me” then continue talking to a grand mother that was ranting about the school her grand kids went too, I left and they didn’t get my money. At least when I go in to a GAME store they give me a few minutes to browse and when they clearly could see I couldn’t find batman arkham asylum on their shelf a staff member assisted me and they got my money. It’s called customer service. That it offends you so much says more about your self than the financial state of GAME.

  • With the recent sales going on, and the lack of any stock on games, i have a bad feeling Game AU are at risk of going under unfortunately.

    I feel bad for them, my local one has great customer service. I asked the guy if they had any copies of Ico + Shadow of the Colossus left (they were $30) he said he didn’t, but he did mention psn had it on sale (which i already knew about), and other times which made me happier to shop with them than EB and many other stores around here. Most shops the staff seem to ignore people unless you are completely clueless which at times i find them selling them stuff more than what they wanted to buy.

    Best wishes for the AU and UK branch

  • I stopped shopping at GAME since they changed the rewards system from $28.50 for every $500 spent instore to $1.00 for every $100 spent in-store, this for me was the thing that kept me there, agreed the Perth store is hopeless the cannington store was really good but the head office pushed out the really good staff they had in there now its just full of clueless staff 🙁 JB is now my retail store of choice.

    • They do have 1275 stores worldwide.If there was a decent margin on new games and hardware they would be fine but the mark-up on new stuff is like 10%.Add to this no new console in 5-6 years and a growing digital and E-trade future.
      Its not just GAME, game-traders stores are closing as well as Dick Smith and WOW sight and sound and GameStop(EBgames) had been flat for years.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!