Newest Review: ... box. He obviously didn't get it and gave the impression that he thought a 50 year old customer really didn't belong in the store and... more
Scrupulous Staff / Underhanded Company
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Advantages: Rewards Card, Deals, Staff, Stock, Pre-orders
Disadvantages: Trade-in prices, Selling above RRP, Pre-owned standards, the music!
As a gamer who has seen 4 generations of consoles come to pass, I have gained some experience as to what the shopping part can entail, purchasing games in several stores new & preowned as well as trading in now and then. GAME shot to fame, as it were, rather quickly due to its worthwhile reward card scheme and appealing deals I suppose.. that or the conflictingly simple name and fluorescent purple logo.. Either way, I have been an on/off customer with them for just over 10 years (even shopping in its then-parent Electronics Boutique beforehand) and the experience has hardly changed at all - except perhaps seeing that different GAME stores are larger, having a broader selection of games. After the debacle of 'cashflow problems' relating to a fallout with EA (and eventually several other large publishers) GAME's reputation was severely tarnished and went into administration for a week before it was bought by OpCapita. Its clear by the speedy sale that there is money to be made in video gaming, but why did they struggle to make ends meet in the first place? They'll most likely blame people pirating games but frankly a handfull of long john silvers wouldn't make a scratch on profits. Here is what you'll find when you casually stroll into one of its retail outlets.. or sprint in nervously in an attempt at swiping the last copy of nerdy game you sought..
The closest store to me is a fairly small, one tier room (the default store). The first thing to note is that they only offer the most up to date generation games (desperately trying to get rid of the previous gen games as of late). So that means you aren't going to find PS1, PS2, NES, SNES, MegaDrive, Gameboy Advance/Colour, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, GameCube or original Xbox games - unless it is the giant store found in the largest of Britain's Cities which may include a basement level full of old treasures. As for specific games, I find that 9 times out of 10, they do indeed stock the game which I am looking for, however, the price can be shocking depending on its knowability. For example, they stocked ONE copy of 'Dynasty Warriors 7' (A franchise big in Japan, Minuscule in Europe) which was on sale for £45. Now I'm aware that this has been the RRP in the past, but as of late its actually £40 and even though one could argue that it was a 'specialist' game, other stores and sites offered similar games for £25. Another example is the polar opposite type of game but with the same outcome - on release day, GAME fiendishly raised the recommended retail price of 'Skyrim' to £55 - that's £15 over the standard - all to take advantage of impatient, eager fans who had no faith in online promises of release day delivery. No, I did not buy it, I waited for the price to go down.. way down.
NEW & PREOWNED
With only 1 or 2 walls dedicated to the new releases (per console) its understandable that the preowned shelf is busting a gut with games up to and from 5 years ago. However, I'm not usually one to buy games brand new unless I am fully aware of what I am buying or if I have stuck with a series/franchise for a while before ('Deus Ex' & 'Final Fantasy' spring to mind) so I hardly ever buy New - at least not in GAME. Why? because the retail stores cannot compete with the online market, it's as simple as that. You'll find that sites like Amazon & Play offer prices just under the RRP (and offer pre-orders) in order to knick any customers from anyone else. So it seems that the majority of GAME's New sales are by those unwilling to wait a day or two for a better price or by plain ignorance. A fact that is made even worse by knowing that the big release games are available just down the road in your local Tesco/Asda for under RRP as well! So by that logic, all you're getting is the GAME experience and the possibility of reward points... Although, if it's Preowned games you're after, prepare to come out with more than you bargained for. Countless times have I walked in with the intention of buying just one game I had checked out beforehand, picked up ignoring all stickers, only for the store clerk to tell me "you know for an extra £5 you can get 2 more games in the same deal" - que carefree splurging. This is why I still use GAME today, the offers can be idyllic with ideas as plain as 2 for 1, to the bundles of 5 for £30.
Not worth it. Even with relatively new games. I have never been quoted a good price in store and probably never will be, so my recommendation goes to swapping with mates or even the greedy eBay. Reasons for why you get such poor value? Well the only excuse I can think of is the clerk saying the game was "Not in the charts". Other than that I only imagine its the quality of the disc, case and manual that matters, along with the demand for the game. Sure, the exchange for cash is just criminal, but the trade in for store credit may, I emphasize *may*, be worth your while as you edge slightly closer to a realistically fair deal. The policing of the condition of games is also rather shaky as you see games far worse for ware get sold there compared to the one you're getting taken for. Then again, whenever you purchase preowned, they show you the disc and ask if it's satisfactory to your standard.
I have never really had a problem in store as I have either been left to my own perusing or approached by staff and asked if I needed any help, which is always nice now and again. I usually find myself dawdling with staff who spot what game I'm eying up or get into geekish conversations of epic proportions when paying, making everyone waiting eyeball me. That's fine though, it's because of the genuine experience of games that you can share and have a pleasant conversation with relative strangers. Staff normally point out any deals you may have missed, declare any additional products related to your purchase (be it for more money or out of interest, it's a good thing). It's when you find a game that you and the cashier have a common interest in, that you'll find yourself feeling truly welcome. One negative of visiting has to be the choice of music played.. its usually electro rubbish like dubstep or mediocre radio tat, but hey, that's just my opinion! There are usually GAME brand accessories for cheaper prices like headsets, controllers and charge kits which are usually of similar quality so they are nice to consider also. Thanks to your reward card, you'll occasionally find that when they swipe it, you'll get a fiver knocked off your purchase, which makes your day a tad better. Also on offer are a rack of strategy guides and walkthroughs, playing cards like magic the gathering and pokemon, stuffed toys and figures all game related, xbox live memberships, Microsoft points and gift cards.
Summary: Worth browsing for a pre-owned bargain, worth defecting to online stores for new releases.