Game’s Not Over For Game, Now The Industry Wants It To Go Digital

The video games industry has urged the new owner of Europe’s largest plastic-box video games retailer to develop a stronger digital distribution strategy, after it was granted another life by a rescue buy-out.

Turnaround firm OptCapita, through Baker Acquisitions, will buy its UK assets, comprising the 333 out of 609 that weren’t closed last week and almost 3,200 staff.

“This is good news for Game and for UK consumers,” says games industry umbrella group TIGA’s CEO Dr Richard Wilson. “This deal should save many jobs and stores and will buy Game breathing space during which it can develop a new business strategy.

“Game has suffered from physical and online competition, the shift from physical to digital games, and the decision by big global publishers not to stock Game with new releases.

“Given the rapid transition to digital gaming with consumers spending money on platforms such as Steam, Origin, the App Store, PSN, XBLA and Android market, Game will have to develop a digital strategy – fast.”

Last week, paidContent:UK reported how Game Group, several years ago, declined to adopt a proposed strategy that identified a 2012 tipping point from physical to digital sales and that could have given it a viable digital strategy.

It has since been pointed out to us that Game tried a digital strategy a decade ago when it bought online multiplayer gaming service BarrysWorld, to create its own such service, which it later closed.

OpCapita managing partner Henry Jackson: “We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in a £2.8 billion market in the UK.

“We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed. There is a huge amount to do but we look forward to the challenge of restoring Game’s fortunes in partnership with its employees and suppliers.”

PwC shut 277 of Game’s 609 UK and Ireland stores and made 2,104 out of 5,126 staff redundant when it was called in as administrator last week.