End of a gaming era

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , , , , ,

It is a sad, sad day today. Game Group, that is the company that owns the GAME and Gamestation brands, has gone into administration, resulting in over 350 shops to be closed in the UK and also over 2000 people losing their jobs? How terrible is that? I can not decide which is sadder. Obviously the job losses are worst, but the closing is still shite.

MJA Jervis and SD Maddison have been now appointed as joint administration. I am pretty sure that means they now run the place as they are the ones who has slashed and burned the group, effectively ended the brand I reckon. I have decided to do some research into these two names. Five minutes after typing that I have found absolutely fuck all. All I found was news saying those two are now the administrators for Game Group. So two unknowns. I think they are investment firms, I read that in the paper. The plan is that they want to keep some of the store open until they sell the business onto a buyer. Right now the websites are down whilst the transition is being made, and probably wont be up for a while. Watch them be up as soon as I post this.

From what I read online a few days ago there are four potential buyers of the group; OpCapita, Walmart, GameStop and Hilco UK. OpCapita is the investment firm that brought Comet for £2 last year and then proceeded to turn it around. It is not a massive company but its doing well. They have expressed interest in the loyalty of the customers and the pre owned business, and have a proven track record, but lenders have refused to agree and also the firm would most likely cut more from the company to save money. Walmart is the big American corporation that owns Asda, and it is unclear what they want. There is some speculation that they will only have one store in each city and turn the rest into Asda Express to rival Tesco. So that is bad. GameStop is the big game company I am sure you know about. I also found out it owns Kongregate recently. I love that site. Anyway, what they want to do is wait until administration (i.e. now) and pick the pieces of GAME it wants. They do not want any places in Australia or France so will focus on UK and Spain so they can branch out and get more money. The good news is that they would apparently leave the store staff as they are, but seeing as stores has already been shut I don’t know what will happen now. Hilco is “retail restructuring firm” which means it helps retail shops, obviously. So they are well-known, however all they want is the international businesses, so we in the UK would miss out.

Out of those four, it seems that OpCapita or GameStop would be the best. Losing some employees would suck but at least the places would stay with OpCapita and with GameStop then the UK would stay open but International would suffer which is bad. But, seeing as GameStop is largely online based then it is not a certainty that they could run store based businesses well. So that leaves OpCapita if a deal can be made. Either way, will it make much of a difference? In all honesty this seems like the beginning of the end for Game Group.

More game buying is being done online, mainly because you can find everything. HMV is getting into trouble as well due to this, so it is only a matter of time before media is all brought online. That is a shame really. I like having the stores, you get some interaction that way when you buy things, and the staff at the Gamestation in Southport where all fantastic, I loved them. I find it fun as well wandering around the shops browsing, doing that online takes away the satisfaction somehow. So yeah, no matter what happens it seems that media shops are going to be gone soon if business keeps going this way, it could get so bad that only food shops stay open. That sucks quite a lot. So I shall leave you on this bleak note. Farewell.

Comments
  1. scootar says:

    Hey there,
    I am a white goods service engineer who works for “Comet” and just wanted to add a quick comment re your article. I can tell you now “OpCapita” would be a bad move for GAME as when they “bought” us for “£2” it was a cover as they were paid by the parent company owning comet at the time, they officially took over Feb 6th and we were put on notice of redundancy on the Feb 9th – over 600 people nationwide !!, also what we didn’t know at the time was they conspired with the previous owners and changed a small clause in all our contracts re redundancy payments which means ordinary workers on lower than the national average wage lousing thousands of pounds, they have said it is a financial decision as they have no money.
    I only Googled them and GAME to get some info as I heard this on 5live wake up to money and find the penniless OpCapita are in a bidding war to buy GAME, these “people” call themselves “venture capitalists” they are not they are asset strippers who have no interest in customer satisfaction or employee t&c.
    I’m of to write a stage to grievance letter to my HR dept (which they are taking no notice of either btw) but we as employees, some in a union have tried to get this raised to the public domain and the link below is from a national newspaper in Scotland if you want a read.

    All the best,
    Scootar.

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/fury-as-comet-workers-to-miss-1m-redundancy-boost-1.1155239

  2. zeron7 says:

    Hello.
    Thank you for the reply, I did not think to do research into the situation with Comet and OpCapita. From what you wrote they sound like a bunch of con artists, shocking and terrible news. I read the article, it is disgraceful that they are effectivly stealing one million punds from their workforce. Unacceptable. Especialy the covert clause change, that sould really be illegal. Evidently OpCapita is not the way too go for any bussiness, sound terrible.

    You say that a union is trying too raise awareness of this? What is the name and do they have a website? Also, have you or the union or anyone started a petition against this? If you give me the name and any website I will try to circulate it as much as possible. I don’t have a big internet presence but I can at least put it on here and Facebook. If there is one or an online petition is made I will get it circulated around my university and hopefully lots of students and teachers will sound it. Dreadfull news.

    Thank you for reading, thanks for the post and link (both quite interesting) and I wish you well.
    Shaun

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