U.K. Retailer GAME Loses Mass Effect 3

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U.K. Retailer GAME Loses Mass Effect 3

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U.K. retailers GAME and GameStation have announced that they will not be stocking any new Electronic Arts releases in March, a lineup which includes the inevitable mega-hit Mass Effect 3.

February was a bad month for U.K. retailer GAME and March doesn't look like it'll be much better. After losing Ubisoft's launch titles for the PS Vita and canceling pre-orders for The Last Story, the retailer announced today that EA's entire slate of releases for March will be absent from its shelves. That means no Tiger Woods 13, no Sims 3: Showtime and, worst of all, no Mass Effect 3.

In an internal email obtained by GamesIndustry, the company told its employees that it had convened a meeting with various industry partners last week, during which it "explained the challenges we are facing in the short term" and "asked them to trade with us using manageable credit terms" while it undertakes a strategic review and refinancing of its business.

"We committed to only stocking products on which we could get the right credit terms, regardless of the title or the supplier," the email said. "We will not stock products if the terms are not right for our business - we will not sacrifice long-term credit requirements for short-term sales opportunities."

But for reasons unknown, EA wasn't willing to play ball and that means no Mass Effect 3 for Game customers. "As a result of us taking this position - a position that 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," it continued. "As a specialist retailer dedicated to games and gaming, it is never easy to make a decision not to stock a title, particularly one with such a strong fan base. But it is imperative that we treat every supplier evenly, that we stick to our commitment and that we don't sign up to payment terms that will hamper us in the future."

To make up for the mess, Game is offering its customers 5 [$8] of "reward points" on top of their deposit refunds. It has also issued a statement to shareholders claiming that the situation is temporary and that discussions with EA about "future releases" are ongoing.

"Today the Group confirmed that it will not be stocking a small number of titles from one supplier, Electronic Arts, during March and notes that this has caused speculation in the market," the company told shareholders with a remarkable tone of understatement. "It is always a matter of regret when customers are inconvenienced, and both the Group and EA are committed to ensuring that this situation does not occur again."

"As part of the strategic plan development process which it announced on February 3, the Group has been working closely with its suppliers, as well as other stakeholders," it continued. "In particular, the Group has been discussing with its suppliers the level of support and engagement it needs from them over the coming months. There have, during that process, been isolated instances where it has not been possible to agree launch plans for individual game titles."

Talking about a "isolated instances" and a "small number" of games might be meant to soften the blow [or at least fool people who aren't really paying attention] but there's no way that the absence of Mass Effect 3, Mario Party 9, the new Tekken and Ubisoft's entire PS Vita lineup can be seen as anything but deeply troubling. And it certainly wasn't enough to calm twitchy shareholders; following the latest bad news, the Game Group PLC share price suffered a single-day drop of more than 16 percent.

U.K. gamers concerned about the state of their pre-order can find out more at EA's Mass Effect 3 U.K. Launch Update page. Mass Effect 3 comes out in Europe on March 9.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Andy Chalk:
"As a specialist retailer dedicated to games and gaming, it is never easy to make a decision not to stock a title, particularly one with such a strong fan base. But it is imperative that we treat every supplier evenly, that we stick to our commitment and that we don't sign up to payment terms that will hamper us in the future."

How about payment terms that will insure that you HAVE a future?

It's worth noting that they're hoping to stock ME3 in the future, according to their webpage on the subject. Although I for one won't be holding onto my rewards points, going to spend them instore tomorrow morning (assuming my local stores haven't been burned to the ground(!) because I don't see them being open for very much longer.

Got my email confirmation earlier and spent a frantic hour tracking down a copy of the N7 edition for xbox.
Final got hold of a copy through
http://www.blockbuster.co.uk/product/buy-online/xbox-360/game/277564/mass-effect-3-n7-collectors-edition.htm

Then sighed and started drinking... it was that or heading toward my nearest GAME with me pitchfork!

This has really f***** me over as the only money I have to buy Mass Effect 3 at the moment is on a GAME Gift card, so now I pretty much can't buy it...

Yeh, just got the e-mail about this there - that's my online pre-order cancelled. So, that gives me what, a week or thereabouts to try and source a copy of ME3 from elsewhere.

I'm no expert on the business, but surely there are some other, less significant titles they could have missed out on instead of giving up such a likely moneyspinner as Mass Effect 3?

Now, I've always liked Game and have tried to support them by making all my gaming related purchases from there wherever possible, but really Game, this sucks and I'm afraid a 5 voucher code just ain't going to cut it this time around.

Time to check my reward points to, see if there's anything I can put them towards. I heard that game Mass Effect 3 should be pretty good - might see if I can pick that up....

putowtin:
Got my email confirmation earlier and spent a frantic hour tracking down a copy of the N7 edition for xbox.
Final got hold of a copy through
http://www.blockbuster.co.uk/product/buy-online/xbox-360/game/277564/mass-effect-3-n7-collectors-edition.htm

Then sighed and started drinking... it was that or heading toward my nearest GAME with me pitchfork!

Looks like this might be my next port of call (the website that is, not a Game store with a torch and pitchfork at the ready...yet!). Hope it's not too late!

I happen to have the week off work following the 9th March. While ME3 isn't the full reason for that, it would sure put a dampener on things if I didn't have the game by then!

Wow. That really REALLY sucks. Gameplay.co.uk cancelled my Pre-order for no reason last week, adn I was pissed off royally, but managed to get a copy from somewhere else. Since they're owned by GAME I guess I dodged a bullet there.

Currently you can get ME3 collector's editions only from these websites. I got mine from the RoI.

So are the preorder refunds only coming in the form of GAME gift cards?

Like I said in the other thread on the same topic.

This is good news for me :D

See, the Collector's Edition was a GAME exclusive, and I don't want GAME to see a penny of my money. Now they're circling the shitter, it looks like EA has redistributed their stock to other retailers.

I've preordered my CE today :D

Well, shit. Looks like the game is (currently) up on the preorders on gamestop and blockbusters uk sites and amazon are sitting with a "notify me when this becomes available" message for the 360 version of the CE (I'm hoping this is just a temporary thing and it becomes available shortly). Will keep checking!

Game, you have indeed made a powerful enemy today. Well, an enemy, anyway. I'm working on the powerful part.

GAME will be dead entirely by the end of the year.
In another ten physical retail will be the stuff of legends as internet speeds soar and digital distribution becomes financially beneficial en masse, and infinitely more environmentally friendly.

I never buy from GAME anymore anyway, since I tried to trade-in some games, including over 30 old PS2 titles varying from classics to utter shite, and around 15 above-average to amazing 360 games I never played anymore, and got just over 27 for it.
I really wish I hadn't been so desperate for money in hindsight.

GAME seems to be displaying a trend of ticking off their customers AND just not stocking games people want. I'm sure this business strategy won't backfire on them in any way! /sarcasm

Wow, Game is really going down the shitter.

Andy Chalk:
So are the preorder refunds only coming in the form of GAME gift cards?

Unless you ask for money. I've had this issue with Game in the past, unless you specifically ask them for your money back, they tend to pretend they can only give you gift cards by way of refund.

Game have been tieing the rope around their necks for years, every super market, electronics store and website sells games but they build their entire strategy on gouging prices as much as possible. For more than a decade they seem to have thought they operated with a total monopoly on gaming in the UK and it's steadily led them to this position.

fix-the-spade:

Andy Chalk:
So are the preorder refunds only coming in the form of GAME gift cards?

Unless you ask for money. I've had this issue with Game in the past, unless you specifically ask them for your money back, they tend to pretend they can only give you gift cards by way of refund.

Game have been tieing the rope around their necks for years, every super market, electronics store and website sells games but they build their entire strategy on gouging prices as much as possible. For more than a decade they seem to have thought they operated with a total monopoly on gaming in the UK and it's steadily led them to this position.

Now if their creditors could just hurry up and give the chair they're standing on a solid kick...

How much money do they have to be handing back though?

OT very bad news, I have a lot of friends who work at my local game store and it doesn't look like this is having a happy ending for them. They're not only staring down the barrel of unemployment but also the abuse they're going to get over this from the less well educated clientele.

Wow, they really do get completely screwed when it comes to new games don't they? Shame the publishers didn't feel like simply offering better terms so they have another store to sell from, especially since GAME offered to cut them in on the used sales profits if they [url=http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/retail-stop-online-codes-and-we-will-share-pre-owned-revenue/089603?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mcvuk%2Fstream+%28MCV%3A+Home+Stream%29&utm_content=Google+Reader%22got better deals[/url] on new games.

I wonder how this'll effect sales in the UK...

Yesterday. I paid for my preorder yesterday!
Even had some friendly conversation with the staff. I normally give Game the benefit of the doubt but this is getting ridiculous now.
I quite like shopping with actual people, I don't want to have to do everything online, which is looking like the future.

Cpt Corallis:
Yesterday. I paid for my preorder yesterday!
Even had some friendly conversation with the staff. I normally give Game the benefit of the doubt but this is getting ridiculous now.
I quite like shopping with actual people, I don't want to have to do everything online, which is looking like the future.

Well this is the problem. Game is on its way out, HMV is circling the drain. We're going to be left with blockbusters or online...

Well, considering I wouldnt wipe my arse with ME 3 after the way Bioware has gutted the RPG elements from the series since part 1, i could really care less.

As to EA being dicks about credit terms, is anyone really surprised?

Quellist:
i could really care less.

So you do care a bit? Sorry couldn't help myself.

cookyy2k:

Quellist:
i could really care less.

So you do care a bit? Sorry couldn't help myself.

Whatever, Bioware/EA just make me too angry to use proper grammar i guess

Quellist:

cookyy2k:

Quellist:
i could really care less.

So you do care a bit? Sorry couldn't help myself.

Whatever, Bioware/EA just make me too angry to use proper grammar i guess

Yeah, I totally agree with your main point. EA took one of my favorite games stripped all the fun out of it and made a cover based TPS with some RPG elements and an attempt at a continuation story. Good old EA: buy IP, make IP into samey rubbish, sell, make profit and repeat. Side effects may include massive stagnation of gaming.

But how is this BioWare's or EA's fault? Neither of them have anything to do with GAME, their only contribution to this mess is EA's apparently refusal to give GAME better credit terms.

Andy Chalk:
But how is this BioWare's or EA's fault? Neither of them have anything to do with GAME, their only contribution to this mess is EA's apparently refusal to give GAME better credit terms.

We got off topic due to the stagnation of comments...

Well, that's really gonna cripple them, since GAME own gamestation, if they go that would largely be the end of specialist games stores in the UK.

Hookah:
Well, that's really gonna cripple them, since GAME own gamestation, if they go that would largely be the end of specialist games stores in the UK.

Or a huge enough opening in the market for new retailers :D

Daystar Clarion:

Hookah:
Well, that's really gonna cripple them, since GAME own gamestation, if they go that would largely be the end of specialist games stores in the UK.

Or a huge enough opening in the market for new retailers :D

CEX stores that stock nothing but used games, movies and electrical goods at cheaper prices than both Game and Gamestation are cropping up and outselling both.

way of the future?

Wow, I feel so very bad for you guys and gals in the UK, that sucks, I would lose my mind.

mattttherman3:
Wow, I feel so very bad for you guys and gals in the UK, that sucks, I would lose my mind.

I preordered a whole month ago with GAME. needless to say my rage is so incandescent its illegal to sell in the EU.

However good job EA for redistributing what were Exclusive collectors editions to a ton of other retailers like Amazon and Play for us to get them from. (i have mine preordered from Amazon now :D)

Andy Chalk:
So are the preorder refunds only coming in the form of GAME gift cards?

I believe it depends on how you pre-ordered it. If it was online then you get a code that gets you 5 off on their website. If it was in store, then I believe they will offer you it in the form of a gift card, but you can ask for your money back. I'm not sure if that's definite though, so I wouldn't take my word as the gospel.

Besides that, a friend is pretty much furious as he had the Collector's Edition pre-ordered as early as possible, then missed out. What added to his frustration was that, he thought he had ended up getting a copy from Play, but they had trouble with his card details AFTER he'd placed his pre-order down and by the time he'd been told everyone was out of stock for it. Suffice to say, he is not a happy camper.

NOTE TO AUSTRALIAN GAMERS (and to an extent, non-UK gamers):

After reading this article I called up GAME and asked what the situation was; I was told that their orders had already gone through and had been fulfilled (as in most of their stock was already in store and ready for purchase on release day). This is because aside from name and monetary relationship (regarding profits and franchising) their relationship with dealers is different and handled seperately.

This implies that all the notices we have recieved so far relating to GAME UK has been limited purely to the UK and not all of their branches across the globe. Keep in mind that although this is the implication other countries may also be affected and it might be a good idea to call up your local store, check and forward the information to others.

Wait a couple of months. We'll see a different headline here: "U.K. Retailer GAME Closes its Doors Forever".

I feel sorry for those poor U.K. gamers. At least here in the U.S., we got choices if one retailer were to shut down. :/

The Last Story is still a niche jRPG despite the media attention it got thanks to Operation Rainfall, but Mario Party is a popular family game, Vita launch titles supplement system sales, and Mass Effect 3 is March's blockbuster release. At this point, I don't see how GAME can think it can negotiate better terms when it will certainly die if it doesn't stock the top selling games.

Such a shame. I like GAME, I rely on them to trade in unwanted games for something else (I traded in NCIS game for 25 and brought brand new SR:3 for 20)

I can't see a good future for them though, they've already been bailed out, the Gamestation in my city has gone, there's two GAME shops there that might disappear and we won't be left with any shop specialising in games. The also reported having a really, really poor Christmas sale.

The only place to really buy games then (excluding on-line) will be HMV, which are shit, been bailed out and will probably close down too; not to mention the weird, shitty way the randomly price things, or the Supermarket which only stocks a certain amount of games.

I honestly hope something can be resolved, because it would suck to see them go.

Finally, a place to vent.

This is a absolute fucking disgrace. I had my copy pre ordered months in advance, only to learn that Game is into selling products it hasn't even secured and be told 'fuck you'. Whether this is EA's fault or Game's, they should never have stocked a product that they didn't know for certain that they'd have, let alone quit on a deal made with a customer. All the other places stocking it have already sold out, so unless Game's retracted copies are being shipped to other distributors as we speak, that's it.

Honestly, in my enraged state I hope they do go bust. Perhaps the market hole will be filled by a new store that keeps its promises. Once you agree to sell something, you bloody well sell it, not 'oh I'm sorry we didn't actually know we'd be able to but we agreed to take your money anyway just in case'.

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