The Impact The Internet Had Upon British Game Stores

Until the birth of the internet traditional brick and mortar games stores reigned supreme in the whereabouts of a gamer's venue of business.Game, Gamestation, HMV and Blockbuster are all examples of corporations that once saw national daily visitor numbers in the millions. However, things have changed, and not necessarily for the best

As previously stated, it began with the internet when private retailers realised they could bypass the charges of staff employment to maximise profit, and in the case of megaretailers such as Amazon, even tax. Following the widespread explosion of the internet in the early-to-mid 2000s supermarkets followed suit by buying products in bulk to maximise profit and sell at the lowest price possible. Undoubtedly these newcomers to the gaming scene had their impact and because of these new suppliers, the traditional visit to your local independent game store on a regular basis changed forever.

Take the likes of national favourite, Game; until around 2008 Game's profits soared - they, among many other retailers were plastered on every highstreet everywhere - but things changed. By mid 2012 the intricate, interconnected web of retail dominance Game had woven since 2002 began to gradually unwind. At first the company hit massive financial restraints that led to the announcement that the company could no longer stock games published by Electronic Arts. Next up, the firm announced administration was nigh so launched a firesale to maximise profits before going into the dreaded sstatus of administration. The imminent impact of this was the cessation of 277 UK-based stored and 2,104 jobs. Regardless of these cuts, Game endured due to Opcapita's purchase of the firm. One year later just 328 of the 609 stored remain.

Around the same time a void was opened acting as a vacuum for competition. Firstly, Gamestation stores - formerly under the hood of the Game owner Rhino Group - were either closed or absorbed into the game brand. In addition, former North-Eastern retailer Grainger Games utilized the opportunity and expanded their brand name nationally leading them to the 100+ stored now in operation under their belt. Other retailers such as CEX also exploited Game's downfall and expanded across the country in order to maximise business potential.

One of the prime factors behind this chasm on Game's weak period was undeniably the internet. As Game could no longer compete with prices set on the internet their sales began to decline as more people went online thus causing an impact on their sales. The internet has become such a significant aspect to gaming that independent research firm YouGov discovered in 2011 56% of consumers buy online as opposed to 32% who remain loyal to shops and a staggering 73% use the internet pre-release to find the required information on any given game prior to making the purchase. The internet essentially contributed to a period of displacement in the UK gaming culture by being one of the key factors, aside high in-store prices, to Game's downfall that allowed formerly smaller firms to expand.

To this day Game's situation in 2012 has an impact on their day-to-day  business. With two CEX stores opening within close vicinity (METRO centre & County Durham)  in the North East within the past 12 month, Game offers no competition having added no additional stores to their roster of business outlets.

To this day it's a miracle Game still operate business healthily. Having recovered (albeit following massive cuts) from the 2012 fiasco, the megalithic company still offer no competition to the internet's pricing, however as one of the last traditional game stores gamers have little choice in choosing where to shop in their local town which boosts the firm and among that, the good old 'impulse buy' helps keep them afloat. Additionally, it's undeniable that Game haven't learnt their lesson since 2012. Their pricing has seemingly decreased by a small fraction as well as seeing a small increase in the value given to those choosing to trade in - maybe the 2012 state-of-emergency for the firms wasn't as bad as it was made out to be from a gamer's perspective...
 Although the demise of the traditional game store seems inevitable sooner or later, 2012's displacement helped reinvigorate the competition and spur the British game stores towards offering the gamer better value.


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