The Last Moments Of GAME

The Last Moments Of GAME

Last Friday GAME announced it was closing 60 of its stores, laying off 281 members of staff. Yesterday, one of those staff members had to help close a store, and he managed to capture a couple of final moments.

I always find empty stores really depressing, but particularly when it affects the industry I’m part of. Good luck to everyone who lost their jobs in the last week — hopefully something better is just round the corner.


  • Sad days 🙁

    I’m also sad they didn’t keep the stores open a couple more weeks for a stock clearance. Not only would that generate some sales for the creditors, but would also keep the staff in work for a little longer while they looked for alternatives.

    • The problem is if they’d kept the employees around, they would have been working for nothing.
      The workers were already unpaid, so they’re probably more focused on getting a new job than unloading their stock..

    • Either A) The distributors took their stock back, depending on what sort of deal they had with Game* or B) They sold off the stock to another retailer. Now that the sole obligation is to the creditors, they have to do the most financially viable option. If the administrators make a single decision that could cause more debt (such as continuing to run a store at a loss), then the creditors might vote the administrator out or they could even sue the liquidator in charge (they are always personally liable).

      *Sometimes there is a contract between a supplier and retailer stating that the supplier still owns the assets until the retailer pays their invoice in full. Good chance Game probably owes some of the local distributors money.

      • The remaining stock goes to the last 30 odd stores they’re keeping open. How they’re managing to do that and then get away with not paying employees is astounding.

        • Employees are still being paid as per contract, and the stores closing apparently got extra to complete the work to close the shop.

    • Swing low, sweet chariot. Coming forth to carry me home…
      Good night sweet GAME 🙁
      we will always love you

    • Not closing down YET.

      Unless some investor swoops in with their superman cape to rescue the franchise soon, those remaining stores will also shut down before too long.

      • Rouse Hill store is still open thankfully, just went there today, also was at the Blacktown store, poor guys, even though they’re still open, they’re still looking for other jobs just in case, hope everything turns out alright for them!

    • Actually, I can definitively state that this is the Knox City store in Wantirna, VIC (my local store). Was a great place. I went past it yesterday.

  • Not to sound like a douche i’m on 2 sides here. One for the staff who are now unfortunatly without jobs (and possibly owed money for unpaid hours), best of luck to those guys.

    But the otherside is GAME closing down doesnt bother me, the few times that i did grace their stores, they library’s wore nothing spectaculor, their prices wore more then expensive then most (for my area) and i could easily just walk over to JB for exmaple and get the same product for a good 20-30 bucks cheaper. Although the Staff wore quite friendly (albed looking a bit bored with hardly anyone in the stores)

    • I agree 100%. While no one likes seeing anyone out of a job, its hard to feel sympathy for the company as a whole.

      • Why? JB was established like 5 years ago and became a raging success in the same markets as these guys. I hope I don’t sound facetious, because someone who left business studies behind in high school, I’d like an explanation as to why GAME was so expensive compared to the competition.

        • Because JB Hi-Fi sells more than just games, and is able to undercut the competition and sell video games at a loss, while it made profits in other departments. GAME and EB don’t have that luxury being dedicated video game stores.

          • Literally every category in which they compete has a vendor making the same claims as GAME. If they’re selling every product at a loss, how are they still in business.

        • The real reason is this. Specialists stores like Game and EB cannot compete price on price with high volume operations like JB. Instead they have to compete on customer service values such as expertise and customer satisfaction (outside of price).

          The power of the internet is that you can now become an expert as information on any subject is freely available. Accordingly this erodes into business who claim to be specialists. Why bother going to a store paying $20 premium for apparently someone who offers me greater knowledge and customer service then a JB store when I can get that info for free on Kotaku?

          As EB & Game faced pressure from the competition they reduced they’re costs by cutting staff in store. This in turn meant customers wasting time/queuing searching for a representative. How many times do you go into a EB store and have to waste 5-10 mins before getting served?

          This is happening across many of Australia’s retailers as they fail to gain access to gray market suppliers. My partners business finds it difficult to even get wholesale rates as good as the retail rates offered on online stores. This is because when they order 1000 units to meet their local demand they’re smashed by the US ordering 100,000 units of the same products. These US retail operations can then afford to sell via their online portals at rates greatly reduced then the australian retail operations. Again the differential of customer service and expertise is quick eroded as the businesses chop at their staff levels just to maintain profitability at current levels.

          One of the other biggest costs in Australia is real estate. I know of retailers who are closing profitable stores simply because the big Shoping Centres are raising the leases. Its a sad state of affairs. That said companies are evolving to meet these changes. If you look for retail support jobs like buying, planning etc you’ll see a heap of adverts for jobs hunting for people to work on “e-retail Business”.

          • “Instead they have to compete on customer service values such as expertise and customer satisfaction (outside of price).”

            On this point, my local EB games fails miserably. 4 or 5 different people work there on different days, but only one of them actually seems to know wtf he is talking about. I think they went with the “let’s hire cute, young girls to work in these stores to get nerds to come in and try to chat ’em up” strategy.

            Some of the people who work at my local JB are completely disinterested in serving customers. It generally seems to me customer serving is sliding way down hill in a lot of retail stores.

        • JB’s been around a lot longer than 5 years.

          But I think his point was that JB HiFi make most of their money from the consumer electronics in the store…TV’s, stereos, laptops, mp3 players, phones, etc. It’s why you generally need to walk past all that stuff when entering a store to get to the games which are usually towards the back of the store or tucked away in a corner. Because JB make the majority of their money from the consumer electronics they can afford to sell games at reduced prices that are close to the price they pay for them. They make a very small margin (or maybe even no margin) on games because they make up that loss elsewhere in the store, and are willing to take that loss to get you in the door.

          Specialist game retailers like EB and Game don’t have that luxury…which I guess is part of the reason we’ve seen them trying to expand their product range to include stuff like magazines, action figures, “geeky” DVD’s and so on, and why they push the used games thing so hard. Hell EB are even accepting trade-ins for iPads now.

          • Actually, part of JB’s successes can be attributed to greymarket importing. Recall that Europe and Australia share a region. This is often the reason why some games are only available at JBs (or online of course).

    • on price definitely, but they would have been relying more on friendly/expert pre & post sale service as their value proposition. Unfortunately, in a market as competitive as the gaming industry, these things were simply not enough to justify their price difference with the big hitters like JB

  • Actually, based on the Tattslotto & escalator reflections in the window, my vote is on it being the Knox City store. I was in there last week talking to the staff the day before the announcement was made. 🙁

  • Long gone are the days of being shilled by these so ‘video-game retailers’; bring on digital downloading for ALL games and avoid a corrupt industry. Sure the loss of jobs is disappointing in any context, but there’s much more to be learned from these events.

    Dropping money on a pre-order has always irked me, alongside the pushiness of staff to ‘secure your copy or release’. Good retail practice, yes. Capitalizing a product’s full price/potential, even more so. The fact is when you pre-order a game, that is money upfront. Money that THEY can play with, invest, and capitalize on further in low-risk bonds. Couple this with the extremely unfair price margins, especially on Australian shores. Almost double the U.S. price for standard editions, triple or even quadruple for collectors editions. So how does this happen? How does an industry that has been shilling their customers and playing with their pre-money in a less than volatile and almost predictable market? Most probably lining the pockets of the top 1%, sitting in some off-shore tax dodge.

    That is why I would rather digital download. Bandwidth and a VISA payment direct to the developer is not only cheaper, but more satisfactory knowing that my hard-earned money is surpassing the middle-man and going to those who actually deserve my cash.

    The only drawback.. developers region pricing like those EVIL bastards at Activision/Blizzard/Ministry of Truth; whatever you wish to call them.

    • The problem is the video game retailers here are being royally shafted by the local distributors.

      There was a thing a while back where JB was warning the distributors that if they didnt start pricing their stuff accordingly then they would look at direct importing stuff themselves, and sure enough they are now starting to do that.

      It will be interesting to see what happens with game retail now, the distributors can’t line their pockets forever.

        • The middle men do result in an additional cost but for many products they are essential.

          Consider this. In order to ensure that you’re buying a reliable product a retailer will need to a heap of quality assurance. They also go out to the factors where the product is produced. Also the middle men have way more buying power. Its called economy of scale. If the middle man is buying ten thousand units to share around 10 retailers then they’ll get it at far cheaper rate then if each of the ten retailers brought 1,000 units.

          The other problem is that when exchange rate goes up guess what the international suppliers/producers do to australian business. Yep they raise the rate claim increased costs. The rate increase is of course the same % increase that occured with the current differential. Again it comes back to buying power an Australia just has shit economy of scale. We’re 20m people. If our business were bought out by American business and we got access to their products and services then sure we could price approximately the same as US rates.

          This is why the like of Apple, Microsoft and other US tech business are being utter dogs to us. But for 100% non-US or European companies you get utterly screwed.

        • I suspect those middle men are the ones getting the games through the classification board, thus making them legal to sell in the country.

          They do need to adapt though.

    • Why is it a ‘corrupt industry’? Why should we compare prices to the US? Unless you’re gaming almost exclusively on PC, there’s no way that the money spent on a digital download goes straight to the developer.

      Take off the tin-foil hat, man.

    • Haha me and my co worker discuss this exact topic all the time (we work at the most vile and corrupt game retail store in Australia according to the geniuses that usually populate kotaku comment threads). can’t wait for brick and mortar stores to end and herald in the golden age of digital only? Haha oh how naive are you bro? When the publishers have a digital monopoly they will charge whatever prices they desire and you will have to pay them. Silly man. Digital only era shall be a terrible time for loyal consumers but fantastic time for pirates and companies like EA.

      • I don’t buy it. The fact is, physical stores are the most expensive. They aren’t competing – typically digital price is increased to match. Your also ignoring the fact that digital only will have to compete with piracy, which is free.

        • Besides which, the developers and publishers already have a monopoly at distribution. All they’d be doing is moving it to the retail end. After all, wasn’t GAME’s catch cry “the publisher charges too much”?

          Personally, I don’t see much difference between physical retail or digital for the consumer. Really, all it means is that one makes more money for the publisher, if they charge the same price for both.

    • You think prices couldn’t be fixed and systems exploited in a digital only environment? Aussies get reamed on digital pricing already, it isn’t fairer for us to buy things digitally so why talk about digital downloads as if that is an obvious fix?

    • Except we now have local Australian digital distribution stores too. You might have noticed a very subtle change on Steam sometime in the past year. Namely that whilst the currency remained in USD, the prices on new items from certain major developers and publishers (EA, Bethesda spring to mind) suddenly matched Australian retail (capping out at 90 USD on Skyrim, I believe), yet remained at the usual 50-60 USD cap for American customers. Basically, we’re losing the ability to bypass regional pricing even with digital downloads.

  • That looks like the Watergardens store, which is the closest one to me.

    It always sucks when stuff like this happens. And you can bet that all the empty stores will be replaced by terrible clothing stores within the month. Why are there so many clothing stores in all these shopping centres?

      • I agree with you on that point, especially today as it is quite chilly.

        The point I was making is the sheer number of stores, it’s like a plague, theres nothing else in shopping centres these days.

  • See ya Knox store, and props to Aron for taking the pictures. That store went through a lot since opening in 2007, I had some of the best and worst working days of my life there. Good luck to Aron, Hayley, Nathan, and the others I didn’t meet, in moving on to much better (and well deserved) positions. I’m glad to know that my Heavy Rain murder bird I stuck to the wall a few years ago is going to die with the store, along with all the other crap I hid round the store over the years.

        • I thought it was the Knox store, with the Tatts reflection in the window.
          It is a shame to see it go. I never had an issue with the staff, and they actually seemed interested in the games and happy to have a chat about them. They were also allot easier to move around in than EB in the same complex. Too many kids.
          All in all sorry to see it go, and I wish the staff all the best in finding something new.

    • Thank you. As a guy who lives in the local area, I was a frequent customer of that store. I always enjoyed going there – the people were always friendly and knowledgable, and the prices were actually competitive (for the most part).

      I’m gonna miss that store. I went in just last Monday in passing, and had a quick chat to Aron (a great guy) and mentioned the whole thing – at that time, we both had hope that the Knox store would stick around. Oh, how the dreams turned to reality…

      To the staff of my local Knox store, I have to say – thank you. You won’t remember me, but I will remember that place – and more importantly, its people.

    • I thought I recognised the store. This sucks. When ever I bought a game from retail it would be from that store. The staff there were great. Really helpful and friendly. Hope everything turns out ok for them all.

    • Yeah, Aron was the best guy to get to know. On the level, and straight forward. Knox was overall the best GAME store to go to honestly

  • From the layout & reflections of the store front, it looks like my local store in the pics.
    I went there many times, but I’m sorry tosay that their service was mostly pretty shabby and I honestly don’t remember ever buying anything from them.
    GAME was always the most expensive option when compared to JB, EB, Dick Smith. They also seemed to get the worst pre-order deals, and their stock was pretty hit and miss. Ordering anything that wasn’t in store was also too hard for them, and they seemed to always get the AAA titles later than the other stores/ run out quicker. So in short, not surprised if they had not lasted in long run, even without the parent company’s problems.

  • I saw photos on my facebook of my local store. It was completely empty, and I wasn’t expecting a sale because I imagine they had to sell off stock for the most profit, but part of me was hoping for one 🙁

  • GAME was never that great anyways… for awhile though, about 2 years ago, they did 1up EB on trade value and price markdowns but then their prices jumped back up and their trade value lowered a couple of months later so I never really bothered going there again except to check the bargain bins. In my opinion people should be thinking of supporting the aussie owned and operated GameTraders more, than worrying about an european chain.

  • Sad to see them go. Spoke to some of the guys and girls of the Frankston store Saturday and it seemed that the EB Games in the same shopping center had offered all Game staff there jobs at EB, so hopefully EB was just as good at other shopping centers.

  • What I’m most sad about, if Game does go completely belly-up which it seems like it will, is that the legacy of The Games Wizards shall be forever lost. For many years they were my go-to game store, I was a gold card member there and everything. When Game set up shop down here thy bought out The Games Wizards and replaced all the GW stores with Game stores, although they still honoured the GW gold cards and stuff for quite some time.

    While the Games Wizards is now a distant memory, their legacy kind of lived on in Game…but not for much longer it seems.

  • Bad management, every time I went into my local GAME there were 3 emo/hipster staff standing around doing nothing.Two would be talking about their weekend and one playing on his/her phone and no customers to buy their overpriced goods.
    This was a small store in a 2nd/3rd rate shopping center, even on a monday morning a well known retail dead zone.If the staff couldnt see the writing on the wall they must have been blind, this was rather unsurprisingly one of the stores that closed.
    I remember once one of the nice girls that worked there made a mistake and the “manager” sent her into to store room for 30mins as a punishment to think about what she had done, so she took her iphone and said she would update her facebook.
    In comparison the EBgames in the same center was always busy and useally only had one harried staff.
    I feel sorry for the staff that lost their jobs, not because they wont find anotherone but because they will never find a cushier one.

  • I left my Store Manager position in February, getting my benefits payed out. I could see the writing on the wall, and had enough of being overworked over the just completed Christmas period and getting hammered for it being lower than the previous year’s sales. I have been looking for a gaming industry job since then with no luck. It’s hard, I want to stay in my passion area, gaming, be it in a retail environment or on the admin or supplier side of the business, but there is just nothing out there really. I have been looking everyday since I left to continue, in any way, to stay in the gaming industry. I am a PC gamer so now I am turning my efforts to PC stores for work. It is going to be hard for ex-GAME staff to continue working in the industry they have passion for, I know I have found it really hard to continue in the industry. It’s a shame because i worked my ass off for that company because I had a passion for gaming and the Australian gaming industry as a whole and now it looks like I will not be able to apply my passion to a gaming industry job. It is the same for the 281 Members laid off and I think our Industry will be worse off for not having these passionate people involved in the industry.

    • Dylan? I’m not surprised that you can’t find another job in the industry, you didn’t know the first thing about games 🙂 (or how to interact with people)

  • Some of the Game stores that are still open are having huge clearance sales, last Saturday GAME at Helensvale QLD had 40% storewide, I was able to pick up Bayonetta (listed as pre-owned, but was still factory sealed) for $15 and GTA4 for $20.

    Though I went down there today and they’re not doing it now.

  • I was a store manager and my store closed. Its disappointing all our hard work was for nothing due to incompetent HO operations, something completely out of our control. All the best for the staff who were on the front lines even when HO bailed and none of them were to be found.All the guys who stuck it out, that’s dedication and pride in its finest form and ANY business would be lucky to have them in their team . Lets hope we get what we are owed now at least

  • There was a GAME 10 minutes from my house, and one 15 minutes away. Now the closest one is more than a half an hour drive.

  • Though I do feel srry for the staff, I said this would happen when I first saw a GAME store and I’m happy they went under.
    GAME knew the market was DRASTICALLY overpriced in Aus that’s why they opened here, thinking they were onto a cash cow. GAME bought nothing new to a market that was up in arms about pricing when they first started opening stores.
    Honestly if the staff couldn’t see this coming they should have stayed at the registers in Coles. A retail store that hasn’t got customers and cant make sales is gnna fold, it’s pretty bloody obvious really.

  • i think what highlights GAME’s plight more than anything was during DIablo III release in how they could not go lower than 69$ to sell the game yet next door at Dick Smith they where selling it for 59$ which is confusing because i thought it was Dick SMith sotre which was going into liquidation?? yet here they are offering the lowest price you could find for Diablo III !!!

  • I remember setting up 3 stores that looked just like that. Although when I worked there we were preparing those empty racks for new stock. It was exciting, unpacking boxes and filling up the shelves.
    I quit working with GAME a few years ago for a whole range of issues, mostly due to serious issues with the way upper management was working. I really feel for the staff that wanted to give 100%, but were not given the opportunity. I also feel for those individuals that went above and beyond, and yet were ignored whilst the area and regional managers took the credit. The guys working the floor, from the store managers to the christmas casuals busted their asses to attempt to make unreachable targets. When I set up stores we were full of optimism. It’s sad to see them begin to reach the inevitable conclusion.

    • I hear you man, was a shame for us passionate managers that believed in good customer service for gamers like us. Guess we knew it wouldn’t last in the end

  • Well when your business model is based around ripping off your customers this is how your story will end

    Buy your game for 10 bucks resell for 50 as new.. lol

  • the Greenhills store is still open – the only franchised store in the whole company and if GAME goes completely under they will continue to trade probably under another name.

  • i walked past my local game shop the other day to see it completely empty with 3 staff members sitting inside looking very down. i felt for those guys

  • Game Greenhills sucks, I never ever see anyone in there when I go in there..and the over charge up the wazzoo.

  • lol i save more from importing my own game then by at the store think this is why the store are going out off bushiness cause of people like me and guess what they will be more people like me if prices for game in Australia are still high as shit losing GAME will not have any affect on me but i do feel for those who like it because they don’t know any better oh… the staff i wish you the very best of luck thought i did when to to game a couple of time but man they are beyond my go to buy places. only time buy from a store in pre-order for game i really like. oh well

  • That wouldn’t be GAME Bendigo would it? Thats my local store, and where I also picked up my ME 3 Collectors (thank goodness I was able to get it). They also sold me my 3DS and a bunch of those Nintendo plushies. Good times, good crew, sad to see it gone.

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