Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 at 9:00 AM by Guest
It’s been a known fact – unless you’ve been in a Mass Effect induced coma for the past month – that GAME haven’t been having the best time with regards to their money handling in recent months. With EA being one of the first publishers to pull out the stocks of their titles, was this the start of the end to GAME?
In this article I’m going to be discussing my thoughts and views on what could happen to the world of gaming if GAME are to vanish from our high streets and never to be seen again.
The obvious thing would be that there would be no GAME to pop down to and get the latest games.How many of you reading this prefer going into town and spending a good while looking through all the titles that GAME have to offer compared to online shopping. I for one like to do such a thing that way I can have a browse around what’s being offered in the shop such as good deals or gaming merch such as guides or figurines. With the decrease of high street stores supplying us with games, most of us turn to online shopping instead. Yes the likes of HMV, Tescos and Asda are sure to stock some games however, I find HMV cost an arm and a leg for their games and the supermarkets are never really up to date with the new releases albeit when they are in stock, can sometimes give GAME a run for their money when it comes to some deals. One issue that can revial itself from less game devoted retailers is that I don’t think many people will do as much browsing for games online compared to what they would when in a shop and all the games are physically there on the shelves.
Some online stores don’t offer much in the way of a description of what the game is about compared to what’s on the back of the box, although the counter argument to that would be “Just go and Google the game to find out more!” – fair play but to be honest, I reathink that all of the information should be presented to you in the first place. My argument to those who are reading this is how many of you will know the game you’re wanting, go online, purchase it and then just log off again without looking through the games that are also available to you. Unless there is a clear indication of a sale or promotional offer, I feel that most people will bypass any browsing for new games that they think they might enjoy and wish to add to their collection. If you do wish to browse for a new game through, one has to go through countless page and page after page of games via an interface that sometimes isn’t the best – the computer monitor.
Online stores may offer better prices at the moment compared to the current high street game retailers, although there is the annoyance of waiting for your game to come through your letterbox. Today, people want everything , in their hands as soon as possible and the same goes to getting our beloved favourite games via mail. For people in the UK, dare I even mention the annoyance that is the Royal Mail? By all means pay the extra couple of pounds for quicker delivery service so you can get the game through your door at an earlier date however, there is a quicker method than mail delivery. With this, I question the fact that is , are we going to see gamers more willing to download games compared to buy the hard copies of them?
Steam is a perfect example of this. Buy agame and you can play it within half an hour or so and that’s you a happy bunny for the rest of the day however, console users don’t get such a good deal with downloadable games. Microsoft and Sony have both set up their own online stores to which gamers can download titles onto their hard drives and play through their Playstation or Xbox however, I know when it comes to the Xbox Live Games on Demand service, they do charge quite a bit, especially for the older titles to which you would think they would reduce the prices more due to their age. If Sony and Microsoft start reducing prices on the games then more people could be inclined to start downloading digital copies of their games which is, in my opinion, going to become the norm sooner or later. Take a look on the amount of people who are now downloading their music rather than buying physical copies compared to five years ago. This is all fine and well downloading games onto your hard drive but what happens when it comes to going round to a friend’s house for a gaming session and you’re required to bring that game round? This is where I feel digital downloading is going to be a downside to gaming simply because without a physical copy of the game, that games usability is limited to one console which is going to end in one of two ways. The first being people are more reluctant to buying new games due to the reduced availability of passing on that game onto someone that could enjoy it and/or trade in at a later date or secondly, more people purchasing the game since it’s received good reviews. I’m not a big fan of choosing what game to play based purely on other peoples reviews on it, after all it’s their perspective of the game, not your own but considering what I’ve highlighted, reviews will be playing a much bigger role in our decisions of ‘What game shall I buy now’. The latter option is drastically going to affect developers for better or for worse.
Moving forward with how the reduced number of gaming outlets will affect developer, the lack of which is sure to bring around a significant decrease in trading in games which we all know, the money was going straight into the shops back pockets and not the developers. This led the developers to start coming up with ideas to try and get their money back through such things as online passes which when a pre-owned game was bought, it couldn’t be played online without a pass. With the reduced number of shops offering this trading in service; more people are going to be buying their games direct from the developer, so to speak. This will obviously bring around a better profit for the developers however; online sites such as eBay, Amazon and Play all offer a trading feature where you can sell your games online. People will be getting more money for their games compared to if they traded them in at a shop but, on the other hand, with the hassle of putting up your listing, making it a reasonable price in comparison to the other prices that are being set by other sellers and then sending off the game itself – is this too much hassle for people? In my opinion, with the lack of pre-owned games being made available to us, a lot of the smaller, unknown titles are going to struggle even harder to reach some light of day in the gaming community and which of these online game retailers will even bother stocking it in the first place? Pre-owned games were an excellent way of picking up games for dirt cheap and giving them a try to see if they were any good or just complete and utter crap which, if you paid a tenner for – you weren’t exactly bothered about if it only gave you less than ten hours gameplay. This and with the added problem that I raised earlier of games getting bad reviews, some lesser known games (that of which I like to call ‘Hidden Gems’) will be crushed under the weight of the bigger and well known games more than ever.
In conclusion, I think that the lack of GAME within our high streets is really going to affect gamers and developers in a bad way to a certain degree. Smaller, unknown developers are definitely going to feel more of a pressure towards making their game good enough to get gamers to actually consider purchasing their game in the first place whereas for the more well known developers – this can only be like justice for them after loosing money through the pre-owned services GAME offered to it’s customers.
This isn’t all about what I think though – I want to hear your thoughts on the matter in hands. Leave a comment below expressing your opinions.
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