GAME is once again in the headlines, this time Down Under, as the Aussie arm of the business enters administration just a month after the UK branch was saved from its similar fate by a purchase from OpCapita.
As part of the announcement, Australia's Game Group has apologised to customers as it won't be able to refund any pre-order deposits for Diablo III - a game it won't be receiving any stock of - despite the fact that for now stores will remain open.
"Due to the appointment of an administrator to our business this morning, it is with regret that I inform you all that our stores will not be receiving any stock of diablo 3 (sic)", a text message sent to customers read. "Because of this, we regrettably will be unable to fulfill any pre-orders. Also, we will be unable to refund any deposits paid towards a pre-order of diablo 3. If you need any more info, please email firstname.lastname@example.org."
The only recourse disgruntled customers have is to sign on as an unsecured creditor, but you'd be joining a long line of people with their hand out. Not only are there are other out of pocket customers, but banks and creditors are also hoping to get a few dollars out of the firm in case it goes under.
"Initially we will continue to trade in all stores, operating these on as close to a 'business as usual' mode as possible whilst we get a clearer understanding of the current state of the business and actively pursue options to secure its future," said a spokesperson for administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"Prior to our appointment, the company's management had been exploring interest in investing in the business with a number of parties and we will look to see whether this interest can be harnessed to continue the business or part of it through the voluntary administration process."
Similar to the European and UK arms of the Game Group business, the Australian side of things has been plagued by stock problems. The biggest perhaps - after Diablo III - was Mass Effect 3 which sold over three million copies in the first weekend, none of which made GAME any money since it was granted no stock by the publisher.
During its own problems, GAME UK stores missed out on games from Microsoft, Tecmo Koei, Capcom and several other companies that refused to provide stock. This ultimately led to the closure of several hundred GAME stores, though not every worker took the news sitting down.
Fortunately though, in the end, the UK GAME legacy was saved with a purchase from Comet owners OpCapita, that though courting the retail chain for some time, left it almost to the last minute of the administration to make its final offer. It's thought that in the end GAME may have been sold for as little as £1 due to its mountainous debt.
Whether such an ending will happen Down Under now, remains to be seen. Video game retail sales aren't the strongest they've ever been so if a firm does decide to pick up the chain, it will need to do some revamping to return it to profitability.
Source: Kotaku Australia