Troubled UK retailer GAME continues its death spiral today as they announce they will not be carrying a few key Capcom and Tecmo games in their shops.
It's unclear at this point if this announcement might also lead to news that Capcom and Tecmo will be pulling out of GAME entirely or not. At the moment though, the news is bad enough. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Warriors Orochi 3 will not be anywhere online or in store for both GAME and Gamestation when they are released at retail.
That's a pretty big hit for the chain as NG3 and the new Resident Evil title are expected to do quite well and will more than likely be big sellers. Eurogamer is also reporting that anyone who has pre-ordered any of the above titles should immediately contact GAME/Gamestation for a full refund.
Also interesting to note is a statement made by Dr. Richard Wilson of TIGA (the UK trade group) to the industrygamers website, in which he stated that "GAME's difficulties are due to a combination of factors: the economic downturn which has hit the high street generally; intense competition from other physical and online retailers; the decision by big global publishers not to stock GAME with new releases; and the shift by consumers from purchasing boxed products to digital games."
Now, I have no doubt that all the factors he sited are completely legitimate and probably all led to what's happening to GAME right now. I also have no doubt that there's more to it than that. Namely, customer service.
There is no greater attractant to people in general than quality consumer relations. I've seen many a thread on many a website here in the US about GameStop losing tons of credit with shoppers thanks to the fact that their prices are not really competitive at all with other chains (personally, I think they rely on used game sales way too much) and that the personnel they stock their stores with are careless and non-attentive.
As someone who shops at GameStop on and off, I can attest to all that being accurate. In an era where not only can you buy everything (at usually better prices) online, and actually download your games without ever stepping into a retail store- this is a climate that simply has to change.
Gabe Newell of Steam said it himself- give buyers a better experience. He was referring to why he's not worried about piracy even though his Steam platform would seem to be directly threatened by it. Newell believes that the superior shopping showcase that Steam offers trumps the amazing amount of hassle that hunting for 'free' content would entail. The statement works here too.
Give people a better experience and they'll shop with you. Simple as that. Don't... and well, just take a look at GAME.