News Article

UK Retailer GAME States Ambition to be at the Forefront Of Download Content Sales

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"The amount of digital content is going to keep growing"

GAME is the prominent specialist video game retailer in the UK, with some stores around Europe, but has endured difficulties in recent history with administration and a transition to new owners in 2012. Since then the company appears to have found a degree of stability, and in an interview with MCV magazine stores director David Howard has explained how the download industry is a major part of the high-street retailer's plans.

GAME does sell plenty of goods through its website, of course, yet since its shift to new ownership the company has focused on high street events and new products to drive sales, moving beyond simply offering boxed discs on shelves. As part of a trend that's starting to be seen at retailers worldwide, digital content is available in stores through download cards. Howard explains that adding demo units and download products is vital for GAME's ongoing business.

It never stops. The digital world will constantly develop and we will continually invest in our store estate to give the best possible digital service. If you've been in any of our stores in the run-up to Christmas you'll have seen our dedicated Sony and Microsoft bays which have dedicated digital sections, touch screen technology and digital content for customers to engage with.

This is about offering an incredible physical experience to help customers understand and engage with digital on their terms. We have also launched Nintendo experiences in our top stores for Wii U and 2DS and 3DS.

Corporate hyperbole aside, many of the larger GAME stores — in particular — do now have a reasonable range of eShop download cards for both the Wii U and 3DS, as well as demo units for each system. These include some Virtual Console and download-only games (recent additions include Wii Sports Club options), as well as codes for retail titles; while the pricing can be steep — typically the maximum price — they do provide an alternative and, for those less savvy or confident with the technology, an accessible entry point to the platforms. Howard points out that by having download content on the high street, it can open up these markets to new consumers.

The amount of digital content is going to keep growing and we embrace that.

We help people to access that content. Could we have better visibility? Yes. We're working with our supplier partners on that and getting better visibility will help us develop the best possible customer experience. In short, we are already a very significant proportion of the market and are selling a huge amount of digital content - with better visibility we will sell even more.

Nintendo has certainly been improving its distribution of download content to retailers, though there's always room for improvement. Have you seen many Nintendo download products for sales at retailers in your region, and do you think bricks-and-mortar stores have an important role to play in selling these eShop games? Let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments (48)



Guybrush20X6 said:

For people wondering about the logic, there are a lot of people who like downloadable games but hate storing their credit card info on the console. After the PS3 hack fiasco it's not hard to see why.



unrandomsam said:

Pretty obvious they will be at the forefront when they have a Europe wide exclusive monopoly on the lowest prices for eshop codes.

(So basically that amounts to a subsidy from Nintendo for which they get nothing. My mother said she wanted to get a game as a present for one of my brothers but didn't want to be around smelly people so I recommended Game as it is usually clean and it is on the high street. They didn't even know what a Circle Pad Pro was and all the Nintendo stuff was facing away from the door and everything was used as per normal so I just sorted it for her from Amazon). What purpose does this company serve other than scamming NIntendo. (Which is what only stocking used games at more than the retail price from e.g Amazon amounts to).



vattodev said:

@unrandomsam That's why I think digital games are so important. There is no shortage of digital copies. This used market speculation (Oh, Xenoblade..) is going to end. I'd rather pay full price in a digital old game than pay even more in an used one.



JimJam707 said:

Always nice to be able to buy eShop games with loose change while out and about rather than having to drag it to the bank



unrandomsam said:

@vattodev Me too I don't like buying used.

(I avoid buying from as well where possible which at the moment means I don't get many 3DS Retail Downloads - I would buy at the same price from Grainger Games / Greenman Gaming / Amazon / Gamersgate anywhere that hasn't tried to rip me off or anybody who I am close to).



GuruOfGreatness said:

Nothing against downloads, especially when it's the only option with classic games in VC etc, but I personally, will never buy a digital download for a game that I can get a hardback copy for (until the day finally comes in 10-20 years when you don't have a choice). Plus I like seeing my games on display and like having the option to trade them in if I need to. Even if new games were £30 to buy digital, or £40 to buy physically, I would rather pay the extra tenner and get the box, disc etc.



BinaryFragger said:


That's true, but sometimes digital games get removed from online services. For example, if you want to buy TMNT: The Arcade Game for the Xbox 360, you're out of luck. It was a digital-only game and it's no longer on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Physical copies of games can always be tracked down (sometimes at a high price, I admit) but once a digital-only game is removed from an online store, that's it, it's gone forever.
Physical games and digital games both have advantages and disadvantages.



GC-161 said:

@Guybrush20X6 - You can use Nintendo eShop cards, Debit or Gift Cards in the US. You don't have to store your credit card info on the system. You have options.

I personally just buy gift cards sold practically everywhere. So I don't need to stop by a dedicated gaming store to get them.



zool said:

I was in my local game yesterday. Hard copies of Bravely Default, Zelda A Link Between Worlds and some other current 3ds titles were only available to order at a cost of £39.99. It seems that they no longer want to tie money up in stock because they are not able to compete price wise with the Superstores.
Even second hand copies of Zelda A Link Between Worlds sell for more than a new copy from the Superstores.

Yes space was given over to the Playstation and Xbox, but very little space is given to Nintendo.



GC-161 said:

When it comes to dedicated gaming stores, Nintendo is considered a provider of niche products. While Sony and MS take care of mainstream gamers who are into FIFA, CoD and GTA. You know, game for the masses.

So it makes sense that they dedicate as little space as possible to Nintendo. Since they're not catering to niche gamers that much. If at all.



unrandomsam said:

@zool That is what doesn't seem right to me. I can see if they were making sure the full range of Hardware / Accessories and Games were available new as much as possible. Then it could be partially subsidised via the eshop monopoly. (HMV have similar sort of relationships but it is a two way thing in that case for DVD/Blu-Ray/Music).



unrandomsam said:

@GC-161 Yeah but that being the case it doesn't make sense for Nintendo to give them a preferred status. (When Grainger Games / Amazon do a much better job of keeping stuff available).



Sean_Aaron said:

If there's a download code on their website, I usually go to GAME for the discount. If they can make money doing that, then they have a place!



kamifox1 said:

Shame GAME seem to be more interested in Xbox... Granted, they have a lot of e-shop codes but they always push the Xbox the most in their adverts and e-mails and seem to have a bigger Xbox section than anything else (at least, in my local branches, of which there are two).



DESS-M-8 said:

Plus they sell digital codes for normally £10 less than the digital copy on the eShop direct



Grumblevolcano said:

@kamifox1 Yes it is a shame, I've even been told at my local GAME stores (there are 2) that for new Wii U games they only order in preorder stock for launch day (e.g. there were only 2 copies of Sonic Lost World at launch as only 2 people preordered it). As for Xbox/PS, my local stores are pretty even on that front although focused on last gen (360/PS3) rather than current gen (XB1/PS4).



unrandomsam said:

@DESS-M-8 Yeah but nobody else can due to the artificial monopoly they have been given. They are scum they treat Nintendo like dirt (And potential and actual customers). Best for the customer is always competition. (Or just Amazon on their own as they actually behave in a customer friendly manner).



Anguspuss said:

I detest game not only do they always try ripp off nintendo customers. Sale on COD (except nintendo). My biggest gripe in two stores we have is some of the arrogant staff. Who I am surprised haven't disappeared up their own rear ends. I hate to break it to you but your not any different to the person next door in the coop. Not targeting all staff of game just the two in my city.



McHaggis said:

This is actually one area where I think GAME are moving in the right direction. I purchased my first full retail download title, Bravely Default, at the end of December and got it for £32.99 instead of the eShop's £39.99. One of the few times that I've applauded the price points at GAME.

It's Nintendo that need to move forward with digital content. They charge so much but there are so many disadvantages over buying cartridges. The 5 3DS XL consoles in my home make downloading retail games a no go because we can't share them, so I'm still sticking with game cards for the majority of my purchases.



Captain_Gonru said:

How amazingly short-sighted. "Hey! Let's get people used to buying their games through their console's digital market place. How could that possibly come back to hurt us, a retailer that serves as little more than a middle man in the first place!". Stupid.



sleepinglion said:

One of the perks of a physical store: sales. Yes, the eShop has some from time to time but why buy Zombie U for 40 to 60 bucks digitally when Amazon has the physical disc for 20 (and has for months).



luminalace said:

Nintendo really need to expand in the area of downloadable cards. In Australia they are still very difficult to get and the ones you see are eshop cards with Wii and 3DS logo's with no mention of Wii U. This is something relatively easy for Nintendo to solve and the only signs they are taking this seriously is Gamev UK's selection of downloadable cards.



CureDolly said:

It seems to me like a weird phase in history - placing a completely unnecessary middleman in a transaction that actually takes place directly between the Customer and Nintendo via online connection.

I guess it keeps bricks and mortar stores alive a bit longer, which makes them happy, and eases people over the psychological barrier during the transition, which makes Nintendo happy.

However, it serves no real purpose. I wonder how long it will last.



SPUD said:

After losing all my downloads when I transferred them to my new 3ds xl , which was faulty. Nintendo didn't want to know, and GAME were no help either. I don't trust downloads, I will stick to physical games.



JetForceSetGrind said:

LOL, aren't they the only place that tries to sell games for RRP in the UK, among other bad business practices (they are your Gamestop/EB Games.)

Also, I'm sure Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft would prefer to keep all the digital game profits they can and not dealing with an intermediary that exists only to eat at Nintendo's digital profits. I don't buy digital, but I'd never buy digital from GAME.



Bass_X0 said:

@SPUD I want to get an XL and transfer my games across too. But I would be devastated if I lost all my downloads... Was your new XL a second-hand one or completely new never been touched before?



ledreppe said:

I can see why GAMES's doing this, when games are mostly digital there'll be few reasons to go to a high street shop to get a physical copy. But yeah, the sooner GAME goes out of business the better, they're a bunch of crooks who couldn't give a toss about gamers.



Artwark said:

Nintendo isn't that great in my place which is India. Although there are stores that sell these pre-paid cards but I never got it from them.



Humphries90 said:

Living in China with an EU 3DSXL, Game are a great way for me to buy games digitally without paying the premium price that Nintendo ask for. Game are usually £8 cheaper for their 3DS eshop downloads.



FineLerv said:

@luminalace Those 3DS ones work on Wii U. I bought $210 worth of them a couple of weeks ago. They have Link on them and they sell them at JB.



BestBuck15 said:

I'm really surprised people are embracing download games. Downloads suit Nintendo, Sony and whoever, they eliminate the distribution issue but the consumer is getting less for their money.

Going to a shop for a download code, then going home to download it seems a bit ridiculous.



smikey said:

Game for me are at best an absolute joke when it comes to Nintendo and any of their products.
I have 4 stores within an hour drive of our house and they all seem progressively worse as they go.
For the wii u launch I pre ordered the zombie u premium pack they told every single person that ordered that pack Nintendo land was included with it.
On the day of launch I and a few others were told actually no it's not give us your money.
I declined of course and they said they could only give me my deposit as a voucher I did actually get a cash refund once I pointed out their false advertising some of which they actually still had up in the store at the time they sent one of the xmas temps to quickly rip them all down.
they only stock a maximum of 10 wii u disc games at a time (and a few pre owned) most of are launch games.
3 of the shops have wii u demo units none are ever turned on even if you ask you get an arrogant reply.
last time I tried to buy a wii u game in there just after xmas all they did was try sell me an xbox one along with my wii u game and offer me trade in deals for my wii u in the end I left the game and told them where to go.
the 3ds section is getting nearly as bad despite being the highest selling console in the uk in 2013.
for me if you want a high street store Grainger games in the uk is the best (I know they don't have that many stores) they are usually at least £5 / £10 cheaper on most wii u / 3ds games compared to game and online often even beat amazon.
only issue with them is they don't always get very game at lauch some they do some you have to wait a couple of months for them to stock.
still worth checking out.



SPUD said:

@FineLerv .
I can only speak about my own experience. I contacted Nintendo head office in slough, they told me as my downloads were attached only to The 3dsxl that I had Game replace they couldn't help me, even though I had the serial number for the faulty 3ds. went back to game but they said they couldn't help..



SPUD said:

@Bass_X0 . It was a brand new 3ds xl I bought at game. if I was you I'd wait and transfer your games a few days after you get your new 3ds xl, just to make sure it's not faulty.The faulty 3ds xl froze after I'd just finished transferring all my downloads. Game said they'd never had this happen before so I was probably just unlucky. If I had returned the faulty 3ds directly back to Nintendo they said they could have repaired it and saved my downloads, but why should I pay full price for a faulty 3ds xl that I would have to return to be repaired? Good Luck with whatever you decide.



WiiLovePeace said:

I've bought a few download codes for games from them on their website. Take a few hours to get the codes though & I did have one problem where the code took around 48 hours & a couple of support chats but the download codes I've bought were 5 pounds cheaper than on the eShop so I went for it. Worth the wait in the end I think.



LunaticPandora said:

I still can't see why GAME couldn't have just stayed dead instead of being rescued from the scrap heap. Overpriced store, and in my experience I pretty much never get sealed games when I was clueless enough to buy from them. And of course they give Nintendo as little shelf space as they can get away with.



Luna-Harmony said:

Booooo Hissssss boycott Game,com i pre-ordered mario 3d world 3months in advance and they sent standard edition and said would send the bonus items yet sent another standard game.
I tried to support game for years but that was the final straw they ship games in a silver vac-pack bag and games get damaged & card box's get squashed and they don't listen to gamers.
Not only that but they had PS4's in stock and refused to sell them as basic packs instead selling them with extras for £600-£700 ripping off gamers.



CureDolly said:

@Humphries90 May I ask if you have a NNID and if registering a NNID from out of region causes any problems. I have an out-of-region 3DS too (Japanese in the Americas) and am a little worried about signing up.



Cinaclov said:

"UK Retailer GAME States Ambition to be at the Forefront Of Download Content Sales"

Well, when their only competition is often download shops themselves, it's not really that ambitious to be 'at the forefront', is it? When I downloaded Animal Crossing on 3DS I had a choice of either paying the £40 Nintendo were charging through the eshop, or the £35 (iir correctly) that Game were charging- that's it. It's good to have options, don't get me wrong, but equally don't be too pleased that you're the bigger fish in a closed off pond.



unrandomsam said:

@LunaticPandora I could accept the pricing if they had everything available at all times. (They do have a reasonable network of stores but if you want something there and then you are better off paying for Amazon priority shipping than trying to bother going to the city centre).



Gonzo1 said:

Well let me see, Super Mario 3D World £49.99 both on the eShop and in-store Game.
However Game online download code is £39.99, also you get Game Reward Points and Nintendo Premium Points too.
I did the same with WiiSports Club Bowling which is £8.99 on eShop and the same via Game so it just made sense to get the extra Reward points from Game.
I thinks I will stick with Game online eShop codes for now, unless of coarse I find much cheaper elsewhere.

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