Mass Effect 3 Ditched By European Retail Chain

UK-based retailer GAME will not be stacking any of publisher Electronic Arts's March games, including Mass Effect 3, it said today.

In a statement on its website, the retail chain said it is "not in a position to supply [its] customers with Mass Effect 3", although it "may" stock copies of the game in the future.

Other EA games slotted for March release include FIFA Street, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 and The Sims 3: Showtime.

Eurogamer obtained a copy of an internal memo sent out to GAME staffers that explains the company's decision. According to the memo, GAME could not come to an agreement with Electronic Arts on credit terms for selling the publisher's products.

"We committed to only stocking products on which we could get the right credit terms, regardless of the title or the supplier," the alleged memo says. "We will not stock products if the terms are not right for our business -- a position we believe is critical to our long term health as a business -- we have taken the very difficult decision to not stock EA's March releases, including Mass Effect 3."

GAME, one of the largest game retail chains in Europe, says it will refund all preorders and offer £5 ($7) worth of reward points to affected customers.

Times have been tough for the brick-and-mortar retailer, which has been losing business to online stores like Amazon and Play.com. Earlier in February, the company renegotiated a deal with several British lending banks that would give it some financial breathing room and help it keep its stores supplied.

However, the retailer has still had trouble striking deals with some of its publishing partners. Until yesterday, GAME was not stocking any of Ubisoft's Vita titles. It still has not reached terms with publisher Nintendo to sell games like Mario Party 9 and upcoming Wii UK release Pandora's Tower.

One former GAME employee told me today that he believes the company is in serious trouble.

"They are going broke," he said. "GAME had by far the best developer/publisher relationships of any retailer in the UK, got all the support and exclusives, and now they can't even get credit for stock."


Comments

    I am just praying that this doesn't carry over to Australia as well. Is it just GAME UK or GAME in general? I have 2 copies of the Mass Effect 3 N7 Edition preordered there and don't want to have to preorder elsewhere hoping they have the Collectors Edition in stock. And if this is the case with GAME Australia, then I see any extra collectors editions EB or JB might have selling out fast.

    Damn. Does this affect Australia preorders as well?

      Perhaps the overlords will follow up with the local arm of GAME, as I get the feeling they are still struggling.

      I was contacted to be advised that my copy of SSX was available to pick up today, but the website for online orders today, all versions are out of stock, that seems very strange, to not have any 'extras'.

      Could swear also that my local GAME didn't get any Ubi titles for the Vita that weren't pre-ordered. Haven't heard anything about my ME3 pre-order, but over the last few weeks I get the feeling they are running mainly on pre-orders, buying low shipments of games and ignoring others (Neverdead, Binary Domain).

    Not so much an ME3 issue but more of a 'GAME over' issue. Interesting times ahead in the UK retail space.

    Fairly sure it only affects the Europe side of things.

    Also that headline is a total beat up. They are not "ditching" it, they are being forced to abandon it due to financial reasons.

    Isn't not stocking ME3 just going to further cause financial problems and bad relations with developers.

    I wonder how GAME AU is dealing, I'd figure by now EB and JB would of crushed them already but there still sticking around?

      GAME (aust anyways) going out of business is great news! the stuff they sell is double the cost of what you can get from imports.

        Kace you are an idiot! Every retailer (especially eb) sell games at almost double the import cost.

        If you know anything about how the gaming industry in australia works you would not be supporting your comments. To buy the same games from australian suppliers is much higher then to import.

        Sure GAME, EB etc can import but that will lose the relation with suppliers leaving us with NO preorder bonuses ever, not to mention screw up the australian economy even more!

          LOL. You go back to paying double the price for 'preorder bonuses' and Ill go back to buying my games overseas. Stealing money is not right, no matter how Australian they are.

      Isn’t not stocking ME3 just going to further cause financial problems and bad relations with developers.

      It's a difficult spot to be in. Back when the GFC first hit my company got slapped by the changing dollar and a lot of customers going broke with unpaid bills. We ended up in a position where we were ordering stock from the US once every three or four months instead of on the 1st of every month (with the occassional special shipment mid-month).
      When you don't have money you can't just get stock in because you need it. There were times when we missed some really big sales that would have seriously helped us out simply because in the period between buying the stock and selling it the bill from the supplier would have sent us broke.

      As for bad blood between GAME and publishers, it's already at the point where EA don't believe GAME can pay their bills. To publishers (not just EA) that's a far worse position to in than any disloyal stances they might take. With this news going public I'd be surprised if other publishers didn't re-evaluate their deals with GAME (nobody wants to be left holding the balls when a company goes broke).

        he's right.. your an idiot.. i bet your one of those annoying guys that goes into the stores, asks heaps of questions without buying anything.. good luck with that when all the stores shut down. It's not the retailers charging so much in Aust. it's the publishers. Yet you and so many others on here are beating up the messenger in this equation.

          ugh stupid kotaku comment system.. my comment was meant for above post

            What are we betting here btw? I'm pretty sure I've won. If you've noticed my previous comment, I DON'T SHOP AT GAME. With the wealth of information I can find on the internet, I have ZERO NEED to ask a well informed, or an ignorant salesperson because I can find my answer on release dates, how the game plays, what the costs are, all on the internet. I refuse to support a retailer that condones the activities of a publisher that overcharges at these prices, because I can get it elsewhere, and for most of the time, cheaper and earlier.

            But hey, don't mind me and go back to spilling your wallet.

        Kace, you're an idiot. "stealing money"? Are you 10? That's the most juvenile way of looking at it I've seen yet...

    wow.. I was juggling to order it from game.com because of the bonuses.. or to pick it up at JB hi fi.. I'm glad I choose to preorder at JB...

    Our local GAME is terrible. They go through staff like no-one's business.

    Also, I bought an Xbox 360 and a bunch of games for christmas. It turned out that the discs for Gears of War and Alan Wake were scratched and wouldn't run (so they clearly didn't even test the damn things). I went to take them back but it had been too long since I had bought them (BECAUSE I PUT THEM AWAY FOR CHRISTMAS) so I was pretty much fucked. Now I refuse to shop there out of principle.

      Whenever I buy 2nd hand games or systems - I test them Day one - even if I don't intend playing it. You can hardly blame the staff at game for refusing a refund if you put everything away for 11 months.

        9/10 GAME staff are generally quite helpful and willing to bend the rules to help out a customer. But they can't hold your hand for everything.

        Plus, you should have got the $3 disc protection haha :p I actually get that on my new release titles... JUST in case

      That is indeed a shame, but why didnt you at least check the discs for scratches? I always check the discs when buying preowned, or in ssome cases even new games at retailers who insist on keeping the game discs and covers seperately

        Given the prices GAME/EB charge for 2nd hand games, I just go over to JB and buy them new for less than the other guys charge 2nd hand. Seriously, 2nd hand is about $5 less than RRP most of the time.

      That doesn't sound right, GAME extends their 7 day return policy during the xmas period. During xmas, anything you buy during December, the return policy is extended to the 25th of Jan which, in my opinion, is more than enough time to check if the game is in working condition.

    I have it on very good authority that GAME Australia has gone up for sale. This discission was mad so that they could focus on trying to salvage their primary buisnesses in Europe.
    This also brings up another subject that no one seams to want to talk about, being why Australia has the pricing it does for video games, because like GAME in Europe, all retailers here have to BUY their copies of games from the local vendors, who set the Recomended Retail Price (which we all seam to want to complaine about).
    It's now no surprise why stores like JB HI-FI and Eb Games have already started importing products instead of sourcing them locally.

      unless your authority is on the GAME group board in the UK i'd say it's BS as to whether its true or not.. that stuff doesnt just get leaked out

        No its true, GAME in Australia is up for sale. They are only expected to last 2-3 more months over here.

          if it were "true/fact" then we would have something other than a couple of computer chair commentators sprouting it. link or stfu

          don't get me wrong, i'm sure a sell off is something that's potentially on the cards, but speculation and probability are bit different to fact

    I'm a little worried now. I pre-ordered the CE of ME3 from GAME and it's going to be hard to find somewhere that still has copies up for sale that I can grab. This is of course assuming that this affects Australian GAME stores.

    I think what's more interesting is why they're going broke. Are preowned sales down becuase of online passes? Is it because of digital distribution? Both? Or just a bad economic situation is europe?

    Its very tough times for not just Gaming stores but really any stores. Very hard to try sell a game that retails for $89..00 in the store but yet go on steam and they are selling a Digital Download for $59.00. or cheaper or even more so importing the game. Reason being that being digital doesn't have really any expense a store would have.

    Game has a history of trying to bully publishers into ditching online retailers like Steam. They've also got a history or badly running business. This is a common occurence in the UK and should not be tolerated here. If they can't run a successful retail business they have no right to try and bully publishers whose lifecycle is actually threatened by their fkn used game sales model anyway.

    The sooner they fold the better.

    Who in their right mind shops at GAME?

      Well I did based on grounds they would pricematch JB, and that the stupid JB of the same shopping centre opened an hr later than every one else (which is the same time that i start work for the whole day).

      The staff (at this store at least) were awesome, good to have long chats with, and every now and then got store credit mail that practically meant i could get a new AAA title for almost free

    At this stage according to GAME's Operations Department, there is no change on GAMEAus status for the release of Mass Effect 3. It is all systems go for now and the Australian wing operate completly independantly with Australian suppliers and developers. This should not affect our pre-orders. Im always happy to shop at GAME and the fact that I got a speedy response from my local store this morning shows that they are the people in the know. Screw JB Hi Fi and EB. They dont know crap! Their exclusives are low grade too. Because they direct import they dont get sweet offers from suppliers like GAME do. Look at how cool their MW3 dog tags were! Speaks for itself really

      someone obviously works for GAME

        Not a GAME employee, just over how people bag them out. I shop there cause they go out of their way to know my name, talk to me about upcoming titles, and show a keen interest in what I want as a customer. Unlike EB shirt and tie wearing retail salespeople who know nothing about games, and JB who just put stock on a shelf and offer no service.

          i agree. if i can choose i go to Game as well. I just get better service both in-store and online. i got screwed over by JB with my Skyrim order (they sent it after the release date and completely forgot to put the game disc in with the guide) and EB always charges more then both Game and JB. Game deliver in a timely manner on the release date and that says a lot considering i am in WA and we always get parcels a day later. great service is key but people just don't respect that now. its a shame. they rather go online and get and import copy to save a few bucks. guess where that money goes? well not into the aussie economy!

          i'll shop based on 2 factors, customer service and price, in that order. even if price is a little over the rest i'll still prefer who has best customer service and i agree with your statements on the other 2 companies. I often find myself buying from GAME for all the reasons you mentioned. I just find the timing of your comment rather quick considering the official announcement was made on fb first AFTER you made yours.. ergo: company internal document went out first to staff as would be standard procedure in any company, then your statement just prior to going public from the "operations department", then official statement on fb.. it's ok, i wont tell anyone ;-)

    So, uh, what exactly are credit terms? Is it how much of the sales goes to GAME?

    geez EA is worst than a obsessive compulsive sodomizer, fucking everyone and everything.

      Looking at the current state of GAME UK it seems more like a GAME problem than your standard EA attitude problem. I doubt EA just walked in and said 'we're changing your account to cash only because we're feeling evil today'. I'd wager that GAME has been having trouble paying their account lately so EA has become cautious of shipping them goods (which is fair enough, you wouldn't send me stuff if it had become clear that I was going to really struggle, and most likely fail, to pay you for them).
      Whether EA see GAME as a sinking ship they need to distance themselves from as early as possible, or just reached a point where they can no longer afford to keep the GAME account open, I doubt they took the decision to leave negotations lightly.

      The thing to understand is that both sides loose here. To EA a store not selling their games is a pretty big deal. It's a lot harder for Battlefield 3 to compete with Modern Warfare 3 if MW3 is the only one on the shelf.
      To GAME it's not being able to cash in on one of the bigger launches of the year (plus I'd imagine GAME loves FIFA and Tiger Woods because they appeal to a crowd that's less likely to go digital).
      So EA walk away knowing anyone who walks into GAME to buy a March release EA game will potentially walk out of their with a rival brand instead, and GAME knows that it's sending paying customers to rival stores by not stocking EA games. Nobody wants that.

    It's not just Mass effect 3, game will not be stocking any EA games or Nintendo to it seems.Also the Sony Vita consoles and games in GAME UK stores had a sticker saying "property of sony" on them.This would mean if GAME went under other crediters couldnt use Sonys product to redeem moneys.
    GAME are going down and the Aussie stores will follow suit.Their only hope is a buyout by Games stop(EBgames) and they don't want the Aussie stores.
    Use and credit you have in GAME right away.

    Ah, I remember working in GAME (in the UK) back when it was good, in 2004/2005 (well, semi-good). It was great, we could give whatever we liked for pre-owned and put it out at whatever we liked, which lead to loads of good deals. The most we'd ever give for a pre-owned game was £22, which would then go out at £29 (and that was for the just-released games).

    We did have a Rugby League game for the PS2 which LOADS of people pre-ordered, but then the publisher couldn't fulfill all the pre-orders (despite it being an allotted number we'd agreed with them). Lots of angry people on release day.

    Game retail in the UK now is a joke, with the exception of GameStation (but they're owned by GAME too). GAME is full of pre-owned and people trying to make you buy unnecessary things (and it now sells CDs too!). CEX is a dump and has queues an hour long as all the chavs go there to sell their stolen phones. GameStation is, mostly, genuinely good but it, if GAME go under (which is possible) they'll take GameStation with them.

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