game-logo.gifA month ago UK retailer GAME bought out its only rival specialist chain GameStation an proceeded to reassure everyone that it wasn’t looking to build a monopoly. Now the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is looking into the deal in case Game does anything that could be deemed to be anti-competitive.

I used to work for GAME, so I kind of know the company. I may have been a lowly sales assistant but when I started it seemed like a decent company to work for, the perks were good and it seemed like they actually cared about the products they sold. Just before I left, things started to change. It became all about the money, we started getting weekly targets for specific games, The staff lending program was dropped, and the management became focussed on the numbers rather than the needs of the customers. Another thing I’ve noticed is that, in my old store at least, where the manager used to be a gamer, our first manager was a passionate player of anything that came his way, the current incumbent doesn’t know a joypad from a headset. He used to manage a shoe shop of all things. another problem is that if he doesn’t know something when asked a question by a customer (my wife in this case) he doesn’t admit his ignorance and try to find out, he tries to blag it and only succeeds in making himself look even more of an idiot.
As things stand now it seems that the big publishers are calling the shots instead of the customers. Huge amounts of shelf space are set aside for games from EA, sequels and movie tie-ins with less marketable titles hardly getting a look in. Once you’ve opened a game you can’t return it, which is a big switch from the ‘no questions asked’ returns policy in force when I started.
In my opinion GAME has gone from being a great games retailer to being one of the worst, and now there is the risk that it will be the only high-street games chain. I hope the OFT finds something to take them to task over and their reign of incompetence and greed over the high street is ended.

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