News Gameplay finally dead


Cockb@dger / Klotehommel
FH Subscriber
Dec 11, 2003
Article in the times today:

Commander Shepard, the killing machine at the heart of Mass Effect 3, appears to have inflicted a damaging blow on Game Group. The digital games chain admitted yesterday that a big supplier was refusing to forward several new releases because of a “supply issue”, stoking fears over its future.
Shares in the company plunged by 15 per cent after it said that it would not be stocking Electronic Arts’ Mass Effect 3, the final part of the action role-playing trilogy that is about to be launched.
The struggling retailer said that, after approaching its suppliers for support, it had been unable to agree terms over a “small number” of titles.
Nintendo was also withholding a big release because over a dispute on terms. Nintendo confirmed that Game would not stock Mario Party 9. Nintendo’s The Last Story is also unavailable from Game stores and online.
Referring to Game, John Riccitiello, the chief executive of Electronic Arts, told Wall Street analysts on February 1: “We are concerned with the financial condition of one of our major European retail partners, which could lead to both increased bad debt and lost sales.”
EA’s move represents a potential hammer blow to Game, which employs 6,600 staff in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, plus about 3,500 in Europe. It was Europe and America’s biggest video games publisher in the first quarter of financial 2012.
Game Group, which also trades as Gamestation, said: “As part of the strategic plan development process which it announced on February 3, the group has been working closely with its suppliers, as well as other stakeholders. In particular, the group has been discussing with its suppliers the level of support and engagement it needs from them over the coming months.
“There have, during that process, been isolated instances where it has not been possible to agree launch plans for individual game titles.
“Today the group confirmed that it will not be stocking a small number of titles from one supplier, Electronic Arts, during March and notes that this has caused speculation in the market. This situation, which is a result of ongoing discussions between the group and EA, is temporary and indeed both businesses are already engaged in discussions about future launches together.”
It said that it would give customers who had pre-ordered a £5 voucher, as well as a full refund.
Writing on Twitter, Ian Shepherd, Game’s chief executive, said: “Well, a tough day for colleagues and customers, after an excellent [Sony Play-Station] Vita launch last week — certainly ups and downs at the moment.”
Analysts were unimpressed. Philip Dorgan, at Panmure Gordon, said: “It’s looking increasingly difficult for them. This was supposed to be a year that the product cycle was in their favour.”
Richard Perks, at Mintel, said: “How can Game survive this? Only a massive injection of cash will help and who will supply that?”
Game has been beset with poor trading, with sales ailing 15 per cent during the crucial Christmas period. It has blamed the dearth of new consoles and blockbuster games coming on to the market. It is also suffering at the hands of the supermarkets.

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