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GAME Group saved by a £1 buyout

GAME Group saved by a £1 buyout

GAME Group has been saved by a buyout bid from OpCapita valued at a single pound.

Beleaguered high-street games giant GAME Group has received a last-minute reprieve, leaving administration thanks to an eleventh-hour bid from investment group OpCapita.

The deal sees OpCapita, which already owns high-street electronics chain Comet, picking up GAME Group's assets for a nominal £1. As a result, 333 stores owned by GAME Group and not yet closed as part of the company's cull of 277 properties will be remaining open - for now.

OpCapita's investment saves an estimated 3,200 jobs in GAME Group's high-street facilities, which will come as a great relief the company's remaining employees and cold comfort to the 2,104 people laid off last week as the company entered administration.

'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,' claimed OpCapita's managing partner Henry Jackson of the deal. For its investment, OpCapita's David Hamid - late of Halfords - becomes GAME Group's new executive chair.

While OpCapita's deal with GAME Group's administrators saves its UK facilities, things look darker overseas. The deal only covers the company's UK properties; elsewhere, the administration continues with around 4,000 staff across 663 shops at risk.

OpCapita now has a major undertaking on its hands, clearing GAME Group's staggering debts and turning the company's fortunes around. Whether that will entail further store closures and job losses is not yet known.

33 Comments

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IanW 2nd April 2012, 14:08 Quote
£1? They were robbed.
goldstar0011 2nd April 2012, 14:14 Quote
If they're in debut it would be worth it.

I know alot of the stores that are closed have stock in them, get this stuff sold and restructure, I'd rather see just 1 store instead of a Game and Gamestation right near each other competing.

I would be sad to see these stores disappear completely, was in my town centre other day and was gutted my Gamestaion was closed, it's part of my reasoning for shopping with the Mrs
Picarro 2nd April 2012, 14:29 Quote
they should be able to turn a nice tidy little profit from the Game shops. They just need some proper management. Have one (1) Game store in the cities. Not 3 close to each other. And focus a bit on peripherals too. My local game only has those rubbish MMO keyboard with interchangeable WASD keys -.-'
Cei 2nd April 2012, 15:20 Quote
If PwC did it correctly, the group will have shed their unprofitable shops (ie: those with high fixed costs, or those stealing sales from another shop over the road) and hence a return to profit isn't that far-fetched. The UK gaming market is still worth a lot of cash, and GAME's turnover is pretty high, they just didn't deal with multiple stores properly.

It's sad for those that lost their jobs, but equally others have kept theirs and stand a good chance of doing so in the future.
Dedlite 2nd April 2012, 15:34 Quote
£1? It's that £1 *million*?
Gareth Halfacree 2nd April 2012, 15:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dedlite
£1? It's that £1 *million*?

No, just one hundred pennies. Bear in mind that GAME is around £100 million in debt, so OpCapita is really on the hook for £100,000,001. It did something similar with Comet - except it paid £2 instead of £1 for that acquisition.
sakzzz 2nd April 2012, 15:47 Quote
1£ .. damn, why didnt I buy it ! :D
RedFlames 2nd April 2012, 15:55 Quote
Hope they got their reward points for it...
NethLyn 2nd April 2012, 15:57 Quote
I just hope it's a rumour about the plan to hire back some of the head office staff since they were the ones that made the bad decisions; might as well promote from remaining management that aren't from the old regime.
amirkomet 2nd April 2012, 16:12 Quote
I remember growing up with independent game stores, owned and facilitated by enthusiastic shopkeepers. At that time there wasn’t any Games or Gamestop, you could get a really good deal on your gaming collections that you wanted to get traded in, swapped or sold off as second hand item.

These smaller independent gaming stores got bullied out of the market by these over the top bloodsucking-money-grabbing, Cancer Company’s like Games and GameStop.

Back then there was a smaller second hand market for people that enjoyed gaming for what it was. Going main-stream, changed all that… and now these huge multi-billion corporations are going bust, and to be brutally honest! I couldn’t be happier about it!

Less capitalism in this world makes the world a better place.
Bauul 2nd April 2012, 16:52 Quote
Did anyone see the big Tesco advert in the Metro the other day? "Tesco - the home of gaming".

It basically just advertised everything Game did, including trade-ins and second hand sales. It'll be interesting to see how that one pans out.
NethLyn 2nd April 2012, 17:17 Quote
If we're talking about non-specialist trade-ins, I'd rather give Argos a go as they've had good flash deals in the past like Halo 3 down to a tenner long before it went to classics, with Nectar points reducing it even further.

Tesco would have to be selling a non-food item I actually wanted for me to give them a try if they give you store credit to spend on whatever. Their loyalty scheme is already generous enough without giving them my games as well.
LJF 2nd April 2012, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sakzzz
1£ .. damn, why didnt I buy it ! :D

I'll sell you £100million of my debt if you're in the market for some. Just sign on the dotted line (and give me a week to amass the debts).
dunx 2nd April 2012, 18:49 Quote
Funny old world isn't it ? Back in the 70's I loved going into the Comet head office/showroom in Hull, my pal was an accountant for the owners who made an absolute fortune....

Never been into a shop since the Amiga died !

dunx
Waynio 2nd April 2012, 20:58 Quote
Fewer stores, better upper management who aren't just yes men willing to adapt to changes, let some of the staff who are keen gamers with good suggestions to boost sales have a go at trying ideas out & game could be awesome with all their stores having something unique rather than a bunch of clones, lets hope they evolve else they are doomed if they stay with old ways.

And do something good for a PC section or don't bother with a pc section.
SexyHyde 2nd April 2012, 22:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
I remember growing up with independent game stores, owned and facilitated by enthusiastic shopkeepers. At that time there wasn’t any Games or Gamestop, you could get a really good deal on your gaming collections that you wanted to get traded in, swapped or sold off as second hand item.

These smaller independent gaming stores got bullied out of the market by these over the top bloodsucking-money-grabbing, Cancer Company’s like Games and GameStop.

Back then there was a smaller second hand market for people that enjoyed gaming for what it was. Going main-stream, changed all that… and now these huge multi-billion corporations are going bust, and to be brutally honest! I couldn’t be happier about it!

Less capitalism in this world makes the world a better place.

THIS!
Waynio 2nd April 2012, 22:35 Quote
When I was a regular retail shopper I always chose the independent stores with proper gamers running a small business over places like game, they aren't salesmen, just gamers making a business out of it so could get good advice on any games I weren't sure about & they never try pushing crap you don't need on you which developed respect for the shops which makes you keep going back for more, something upper management of game do not understand the value of. :D
Gradius 2nd April 2012, 23:26 Quote
So they bought for £100,000,001 in reality.
sp4nky 2nd April 2012, 23:32 Quote
Since the news about GAME being bought out came yesterday, I just assumed it was yet another April Fool's joke. I still don't know that it isn't.
PingCrosby 3rd April 2012, 00:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sp4nky
Since the news about GAME being bought out came yesterday, I just assumed it was yet another April Fool's joke. I still don't know that it isn't.

No its no joke, I was in PoundWorld the other day and saw it in there......onset.
PingCrosby 3rd April 2012, 00:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PingCrosby
Quote:
Originally Posted by sp4nky
Since the news about GAME being bought out came yesterday, I just assumed it was yet another April Fool's joke. I still don't know that it isn't.

No its no joke, I was in PoundWorld the other day and saw it in there......onset.

onest even.
enciem 3rd April 2012, 00:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SexyHyde
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
I remember growing up with independent game stores, owned and facilitated by enthusiastic shopkeepers. At that time there wasn’t any Games or Gamestop, you could get a really good deal on your gaming collections that you wanted to get traded in, swapped or sold off as second hand item.

These smaller independent gaming stores got bullied out of the market by these over the top bloodsucking-money-grabbing, Cancer Company’s like Games and GameStop.

Back then there was a smaller second hand market for people that enjoyed gaming for what it was. Going main-stream, changed all that… and now these huge multi-billion corporations are going bust, and to be brutally honest! I couldn’t be happier about it!

Less capitalism in this world makes the world a better place.

THIS!


Capitalism generated those stores in the first place dude.

Didn't really use the store but like another fella already said, it makes shopping with ladies a lot more appealing. Prices were too high and shop frequency was too high over short distances, no matter whatever the difference between game and gamestation was supposed to be. Glad for job saves though. Thoughts with the peeps who are now on the look.
SexyHyde 3rd April 2012, 00:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
Capitalism generated those stores in the first place dude.

ok less corporate capitalism in this world makes the world a better place.
but then all capitalism leads to corporate capitalism in the end.
Capitalism is like cancer, it has many forms.
amirkomet 3rd April 2012, 01:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem


Capitalism generated those stores in the first place dude.

I so agree :) that’s why we have Games & Gameshop!

Greed goes a long way in today’s society, hell…! You can almost call it a blessing, by some. I guess… those are the same people that lack any sort of morality and seeing value in owning a physical item.

Heck! The dollar was valued once in gold, now days printing money out of the federal reserve-ass makes it more real to people.

Illusion is a great word for describing digital distribution, you don’t own it, and they do.
Once those cloud-streaming-servers shutdown and the company you so dearly trust, files for bankruptcy. You suddenly realize that you’re left with nothing, but nothing…

As for me… at least I own a physical item and it has value, unlike code made out of thin air.
mighty_pirate 3rd April 2012, 15:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
Illusion is a great word for describing digital distribution, you don’t own it, and they do.
Once those cloud-streaming-servers shutdown and the company you so dearly trust, files for bankruptcy. You suddenly realize that you’re left with nothing, but nothing…

As for me… at least I own a physical item and it has value, unlike code made out of thin air.
Putting value in digital distribution is about thinking of value as not what you'll have left at the end, but what you will have had by the end. A physical copy of software will degrade & die (Wing Commander, the last of my floppy disk games died last year, aged about 20. And I've had CD's far younger than that start to bronze). Then you're left with nothing too. With any digital purchase you just have to make a judgement call & hope that the provider "lives" as long as you'd expect the physical media too. With games, with distributors like Valve & EA I don't think that's an unrealistic expectation. And some digital platforms (Steam, GOG... not sure about Origin) allow you to download the data to backup your own copies. So in theory, you could salvage all or most of your digital purchases onto physical media before the digital copies disappear anyway.
Plus with digital copies there's no risk of you losing or breaking it.
It's not perfect obviously, but I don't see how it's any more risky than a physical copy in most cases.
amirkomet 3rd April 2012, 17:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mighty_pirate


A physical copy of software will degrade & die (Wing Commander, the last of my floppy disk games died last year, aged about 20. And I've had CD's far younger than that start to bronze). Then you're left with nothing too.

It's not perfect obviously, but I don't see how it's any more risky than a physical copy in most cases.

I will make this short so not to drag out into different topic. The difference is, mighty pirate that your “Wing Commander” CD witch you owned for 20 years was a physical object.

During those 20 years you could have swapped it, sold it to second hand or barrowed it to a friend and in that sense it has value.

If you paid for it, you have the God given right to burn it if you wanted to. The point I’m trying to make… try burning your steam version of Wing Commander if there ever was one, or sell it, or change it in for a different game on steam!

And in that sense the digital copy is no more real as a property you own then an invisible elephant, it has no value.

I don’t use Games or Gamestop, because I choose not to support it. But that doesn’t stop me from trading in my physical copy of Wing Commander at a different retail and get a better deal.

The difference between a physical object and a digital item… “I have the option and freedom to do what I want with it and that brings value”

So no, I don’t believe nor do I agree with you mighty pirate that I’m left with nothing in the same way as a digital customer is… these customers are not offered same rights, and in my eyes that’s wrong.
The question you should be asking!

What happened to American Values, the freedom of choice?

Why is it that YOU CANT or more likely you are not allowed to take your digital game copy witch you purchased on steam and go to a different digital distribution company, let’s say Origin and make an equal valued digital trade in or get a discount on your digital steam game!

Think for a moment of the possibilities and what would happen to Games or GameStop if something like that would have been allowed within the digital gaming world, I would be the first individual standing at the front of the line doing my purchases thru steam as I would see value in doing so.

Look at TF2, Team Fortress 2 for the people that don’t know. Some digital hats in TF2 are more valued as in game currency then a game you just paid 60, 70, 80 dollars for, REAL LIFE MONEY!

WHY! Are you not allowed to do trade, sell your digital game but you can do so with a meaningless hat in TF2!

The answer is, because digital distribution marginalizes your freedom of choice and there for IT HAS NO VALUE after you finished with you game.
Farting Bob 3rd April 2012, 20:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
My local game only has those rubbish MMO keyboard with interchangeable WASD keys -.-'
Holy crap your GAME sold 2 keyboards? All my local ones sold zero PC specific peripherals. 400 DS accessories and a whole section for Gift cards and xbox live vouchers though.
Lethal 3rd April 2012, 21:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dedlite
£1? It's that £1 *million*?

No, just one hundred pennies. Bear in mind that GAME is around £100 million in debt, so OpCapita is really on the hook for £100,000,001. It did something similar with Comet - except it paid £2 instead of £1 for that acquisition.

Don't you mean £99,999,999; since they have put the £1 into the business therefore paying off £1 of the £100million debt?
Waynio 3rd April 2012, 21:50 Quote
Well they sure have their work cut out to turn things around, that's an insane level of debt to climb out of but no surprise with all the shops they had littered everywhere, it's games not food, only food works that well.

I bet it's doable though to turn things around brilliantly but not without awesome changes, definitely get rid of bad decision makers like the ones who got them in this crap.
mighty_pirate 4th April 2012, 01:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
I will make this short...
So you're argument is that something's only value is that of it's potential resale? Which is valid in it's own right for most items. But regarding computer games it loses a lot of it's weight due to the DRM of recent years. Most PC games these days have either a limited number of activations, or are required to tie into a specific account. Thus making any potential resale or lending impossible (without cracking, which is akin to piracy in this regard & thus as entirely different argument). Also, my tact would be different, I'd argue that something doesn't have to be tangible to have value; that I pay for the experience more than the object that gave me that experience. But again, that's just my perspective & a different argument.
So by the measurement you've outlined, something you couldn't trade or sell due to account tie in or activation limits would no longer have value? That's DRM, that has removed said value. Not to be confused with digital distribution. While grantedly they often go hand in hand, they're not the same thing.
A lot of digital distributed games could be copied, lent to friends, or sold on ebay (though the legality of this I'm not sure of). Anything from GOG.com for example. I could download any one of my installers, pop it on a usb & share it with you. A number of games on Steam are the same, the files could be copied from the Steam directory & just distributed & run from another machine. Although most recent games have Steamworks or some other DRM in place to prevent this. But again, that's DRM, not specifically the digital distribution that's preventing that kind of lending or resale.
Your original statement was that digital distribution has no value. I'm just illustrating that it does. It's value is just different. It's value might not be important to you personally, but there are still benefits that must be recognised as potential value. Also digital distribution & DRM aren't the same thing. And most of the flaws of digital distribution you've mentioned are actually the flaws of DRM.
But for the record I hate DRM too. Stupid inhibiting concept.
amirkomet 4th April 2012, 03:37 Quote
[QUOTE=mighty_pirate]

"So by the measurement you've outlined, something you couldn't trade or sell due to account tie in or activation limits would no longer have value? That's DRM, that has removed said value. Not to be confused with digital distribution

But again, that's DRM, not specifically the digital distribution that's preventing that kind of lending or resale."

Digital Rights Management – DRM, the reason you are able to find “Digital” in DRM and digital distribution is because these two go hand in hand together.

They are not separated entities!

DRM is a tool of Digital distribution, DRM prevents you from making a digital copy and as such you have nothing to share, trade, lend or resell.
However, you are allowed to make a copy for your personal use.

As such the way Digital distribution works is that it controls the flow of delivery as such it limits, hinders and prevents.
Here is an example; Let’s take one of the world biggest digital distributers “steam” and give me one digital game on steam that you can trade, resell, lend to a friend!

You can’t, because there is none.

By law you are not allowed to make a copy of your purchased digital game and “digitally distribute” by lending, trade or reselling.
There are far more negatives to digital distribution to call it draw any benefit for gamers.

If there are any benefits, it must be said the cheap-ass deals steam has now and then. But that is beside the point as we are talking about a second hand market and not deals on steam.

Ah, good old classics… I’m not talking about 20 year old games that sell for about 9.99 dollar at GOG that are free of DRM.
Retailers like Games and GameStop make their money in the most sinister way, selling a brand new game for top market price and making a poor kid trade his 5 older games for 1 new game. But, ladies and gentlemen… it doesn’t stop there, no sir. The kid is still short so he has to reach out and add 30 dollars to the pot.

How do they make a profit? Well GameStop or Games takes these 5 games and sells them for premium price. And how is it exactly that they are allowed to get away with these astronomical premium second hand market prices?

The answer is easy, control the second hand market and you can put whatever price tag you see fit. The same mentality goes for new games in digital distribution!

If you want to make something fair for the gamer, open up a second hand market in the digital distribution and we can start talking about benefits.
You see, it all comes goes back to capitalism and monopoly, control it, limit it and prevent access to trade those are the tools of digital distributions.

At the end of the day it about making money… but hey! Don’t take my word for it ask the ppl at unity of command and see what they say about steam and digital distribution.

:)
mighty_pirate 4th April 2012, 11:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
Digital Rights Management – DRM, the reason you are able to find “Digital” in DRM and digital distribution is because these two go hand in hand together.

They are not separated entities!
Yes they are.
Just because they often go hand in hand, does not mean they have to. They are not reliant on each other to exist. They are seperate things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
Here is an example; Let’s take one of the world biggest digital distributers “steam” and give me one digital game on steam that you can trade, resell, lend to a friend!

You can’t, because there is none.
Because as well as being a digital distribution platform, Steam is also a form of DRM. In this case they are linked. But that does not mean they have to be. The DRM of Steam, locking a purchase to a single a/c is what is preventing you from doing those things, not the simple fact that the games in those a/c's might also have been distributed digitally. As an example, yes, this supports your argument that digital distribution & DRM are co-dependant. And Steam certainly is the biggest digital distributor on the market.
But digital distribution as a concept HAS to work that way. And not all of it does.
If you buy games directly from small time developers online, or through humble bundle's etc. you will find many that contain no DRM, no account tie ins. Nothing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
By law you are not allowed to make a copy of your purchased digital game and “digitally distribute” by lending, trade or reselling.
There are far more negatives to digital distribution to call it draw any benefit for gamers.
That seems a blurry interpretation of the law. Or maybe a blurry misinterpretation. I'm not sure.
By law you can create a copy of a game you bought (digitally or by retail) so long as you retain the original. You can distribute the original by lending or resale, but not the copy. If you part with the original, you may not retain the copy.
There is no law preventing you from lending or reselling the file(s) of a game you acquired digitally. You should still have the right of first sale. As long as you do not keep any copies & as long as there is no DRM in place that prevents you from doing so. Again, that is the DRM inhibiting your abilities, not the fact that the product might have been digitally distributed.

Yes there are obviously negatives to digital distribution & I'm not arguing that it's better or even equal to retail purchases. That's for everyone to decide themselves. But there are benefits & while the drawbacks might outweigh those to many people, it doesn't change the fact that those benefits exist.

Obviously reselling digitally distributed games is also much harder to justify, because there's no way to prove that you didn't keep a copy without opening yourself up to investigation. Which publishers wouldn't have time for, so they're predictably unkeen on the idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirkomet
Retailers like Games and GameStop make their money in the most sinister way, selling a brand new game for top market price and making a poor kid trade his 5 older games for 1 new game. But, ladies and gentlemen… it doesn’t stop there, no sir. The kid is still short so he has to reach out and add 30 dollars to the pot.

How do they make a profit? Well GameStop or Games takes these 5 games and sells them for premium price. And how is it exactly that they are allowed to get away with these astronomical premium second hand market prices?

The answer is easy, control the second hand market and you can put whatever price tag you see fit. The same mentality goes for new games in digital distribution!

If you want to make something fair for the gamer, open up a second hand market in the digital distribution and we can start talking about benefits.
You see, it all comes goes back to capitalism and monopoly, control it, limit it and prevent access to trade those are the tools of digital distributions.

At the end of the day it about making money… but hey! Don’t take my word for it ask the ppl at unity of command and see what they say about steam and digital distribution.
I agree that a second hand digital market would be great. I don't see it happening fully, like you say, it won't make money.
Maybe something like the Steam inventory could be expanded to paying Valve a small fee for the exchange of games you've played. But I wouldn't bank on that.
amirkomet 4th April 2012, 14:28 Quote
“That seems a blurry interpretation of the law. Or maybe a blurry misinterpretation. I'm not sure.”

You will have to excuse my blurry illustration of the DRM law. I wrote the post at 04:00 in the morning.

By law you can create a copy of a game you bought (digitally or by retail) so long as you retain the original.
For self-usage, I agree.

You can distribute the original by lending or resale, but not the copy. If you part with the original, you may not retain the copy.
I agree, this is exactly what the second hand market is. The original game is passed on and no copy is being made. Here comes my issue with the digital side of it.

There is a huge but, you can’t do what you said in your above statement with any of the major digital distribution company’s steam, origin or whatever.

Why? Well we have an answer in this statement that you made

“Because as well as being a digital distribution platform, Steam is also a form of DRM.”

So you see, I don’t believe for one second the notion that Digital Distribution and DRM are 2 separate entities, two different body’s or anything of that sort.

“In this case they are linked. But that does not mean they have to be.”

I agree with you that they both don’t need to be linked, but they are!

Just as a government has links and is entwined to the police. They are both different but have the same agenda and they both work for the system. That is the way I view digital distribution and DRM, they both are the same however much we want them not to be.
Because of this, digital distribution suffers from reaching its fullest potential… creating unconscious overpriced second hand market at Gamestop or Games retails.

If there is a sinister agenda by the digital distributors to keep the two markets separated, they’re currently not providing any alternatives.
Now don’t jump the gun, I’m not saying that digital distribution created the second hand market at Games and GameStop, that market was already there before digital distribution. However what I am saying is that it wouldn’t hurt the owners of the digital distribution companies to open up a new market place.

Opening up something like that closes the gap where I see Digital distribution and DRM as one and the same. And start treating gamers as customers, with respect and not as junkies looking for the next fix in entertainment.

A reasonable digital second hand market, is that so much to ask for? And heck you keep your DRM on steam. Once you traded your digital game, you no longer have that original in your library of games so you’re not making any copies. Look at the Gift functionality on steam, damn that’s as close to a digital second hand trade market you can get.

Cheers for the lively debate : )
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