This weekend, countless UK Switch owners will flock to their local GAME store to pick up a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, despite the fact that the rest of the country – not to mention much of the world – is currently in the grip of a coronavirus outbreak which is forcing people to remain indoors for fear of spreading the infection.
However, like US store GameStop, GAME – the UK's only video game-focused high street retailer – has stated that it will remain open to deal with the hordes of Nintendo fans who seek a copy of the popular life sim.
GAME has instructed its stores to remain trading and staff are becoming increasingly concerned about how they are going to cope with the increased footfall for games like New Horizons and DOOM Eternal – two of 2020's biggest releases so far – as well as handle the impending UK school shutdown, which will reduce staffing numbers as parents have to remain off work and could potentially increase the number of younger players entering stores in search of games to keep them entertained.
Speaking to our friends over at Eurogamer, one GAME store manager – who wished to remain nameless – said:
My colleagues and I are increasingly getting worried by the seemingly lack of action or concern from our head office. This is before we even consider the new releases and the increased volume of phone calls as people enquire as to whether we are open for the new titles so it's likely to be a very busy weekend.
The big concern from staff is that by remaining open during what will be a very busy period they are increasing their chances of picking up the virus from a customer. One GAME staffer told Eurogamer stores were supposed to be supplied with hand sanitisers, but this hasn't actually happened as yet:
In our store we are bringing our own where we can or colleagues have been kind enough to share to make sure we are as clean as possible, and I've been told from friends in GAME stores across the country it's the same there too.
It would seem that the whole thing echos the aforementioned GameStop situation in the US, where the company is putting profits before the health of its staff. GAME – which has yet to comment on Eurogamer's findings – runs a network of social media accounts via its stores, one of which informed buyers that digital was always an option.
While the UK government has yet to force shops to close, some GAME staff are hoping the management will take the step anyway in the fullness of time – such as another unnamed source from the shop floor:
We are all hoping that they make the decision soon before the government essentially forces all non-essential companies to shut but right now that doesn't feel like it's happening. I'm only continuing to go in because the company nor the government have made any assurances that we'll get paid if we go off and we all have bills to pay.
give people a break. go digital
I honestly can't remember the last time I ever saw my local GAME busy, I suspect they'll be ok
Just order online.
I thought the company was rebranded GAME OVER
"GAME – the UK's only video game-focused high street retailer"
Yeh, but other places are selling it too. Picked my copy up from Smyths this morning. Cheapest place too being £45 and then £5 off if you do click and collect like I did.
Game head office were never that worried about their staff or stores when I was there. Doesn't surprise me that things haven't changed. Stay safe all.
Go digital. If only for the next few months.
My body is ready... for Corona.
Got mine today off studio, I usually use boomerang rentals for my games but they are unreliable at the moment. I may have to go digital only for the next few months for persona 5 Royal, final fantasy 7 remake, trials of mana and sakura wars.
Also animal crossing is £39.99 for a digital code from cd keys
Despite the city I work in shutting down all public transport and closing shops, my place of work forced all staff to come to work, despite it not being necessary for our profession, and against the constant requests of the staff. It was only when the government forced the place to close that we were allowed to work from home. The employees at Game and Gamestop are just some of many staff bases seeing their employers put profits first. In the case of Game, all we can do as consumers is to call the company out on social media and go digital to further reinforce the point.
This isn't hard people! Either buy it digitally or buy it from a website and have it shipped. Don't risk infection or infecting some poor retail worker. There really aren't many stores you should be leaving your house to go to. The grocery, pet store, and pharmacy are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head and that's if you can't get that stuff delivered.
Hopefully they work this out and allow them to close their stores. I realise that a lot of people want to go in on release day and get their hands on the game. which poses a significant health risk when there are queues of people waiting to be served.
Please just order it online if you want a physical copy, or get it digitally which will be delivered to you ALMOST INSTANTLY from the likes of CDkeys and Shopto.
I was looking forward to the new Animal Crossing, but considering how things are at the moment, I'll be waiting before I get a chance to play it.
@Kineas I did as well, the problem with digital is using it on multiple switches.
I went digital and named my island Quarantine too. Cant get more reliable than that lol
@Kalvort if it was xbox and ps4 with tons of space on hdd and easy rights management, but this Nintendo and digital is real pain with them.
Also people want the pre-order items that they won't get with digital
I'm all about physical, but when it comes to Animal Crossing, it's nice to have it living there on your console, where you can earn a few bells whenever the mood strikes.
Oh my. Game staff are generally young aren't they? These are the same people that will be moaning when Game goes into liquidation due to lack of sales - which is coming anyway, coronavirus or not.
Ordered mine from ShopTo yesterday afternoon. Arrived today in less than 24 hours. A couple of quid cheaper than GAME too.
And this game price is currently increase in high speed 🤦♂️
Wouldn’t p1ss on Game if it was on fire
I don't blame them at all for staying open. The employees lose their income if it shuts because the UK government hasn't provided sufficient support.
Just glad I bought the game before the government decides to shut down my whole state
This is one of the few games I prefer to have digital anyways. Since I generally only play it a little each day and everyone in the family enjoys it, it is much nicer than having to constantly switch out cartridges.
I did find out that this morning you can't just move software from the Switch to the SD card without archiving and re-downloading which annoyed me.
In reference to several comments above, people buying digital won’t protect these employees jobs, they’ll just be unemployed.
Not a surprise, I can say at least that GameStop has never cared about it’s employees and of course it would be extra apparent now.
If I was a GAME staff member I would be very worried, not about staying open and catching the virus, but that my job would be at risk because the entire business is poised to collapse at any point.
GAME and Gamestop are both out the door very quickly, corona is just the nail in the coffin.
Hmm, if only Nintendo would develop an "e-shop" for the Switch...
Anyway, if you only need it on two consoles then download + game sharing should work.
Gamestop in America are now being told to close after labelling themselves as "essential". I think Game and similar stores will be next
Our Game disappeared from our town just a couple of months ago which I was just saying in another post.I think it's about now when the chaps that used to work there are glad they now dont..
seriously guys,go digital and keep everyone safe.
The petty mentality of petty retail operations like this cannot be compared to war profiteering, I suppose. Even so, the general public may remember with immense anger which corporate chains blithely subjected their employees to a fatal virus without the least precautions.
I fail to see why GAME/stop or UK retail in general does not control the number of occupants in the store at any time and enforce distancing, as European supermarkets are doing. And I certainly hope everyone buying physical copies insists on shrink-wrapped game cases!
I can use my digital games on multiple Switches just fine. Google is your friend.
Like I said before, all these games might be infected now.
Animal crossing feels better to me if you get a digital copy. If it was on a cartridge, it’d become unappealing to pop it in and out just to do a few daily chores, but downloaded, it’s always there, you just need to open it.
I never go digital and went digital on this.
Here we go again the worthless debate Physical vs Digital. People get Physical for reasons they own it and have no problem using it. Digital you don't own it and and eShop can terminate your ownership of it. Also it takes up valuable microSD space or internal space that is best left to saves and DLC/updates on microSD.
A lot of my friends on Switch have already been showing as playing Animal Crossing the moment it came out so looks like they went digital.
I think GAME will be forced to close soon.
cant get my copy till gamestop reopens in my area after closing down because of the emergency order in my state.
I hate to think this is the new world we will be living in. Virus fear 24/7. According to Wikipedia the Spanish Flu(h1n1) lasted from 1918-1920 and killed millions. Compared to that, is this amount of fear etc really needed? The regular flu probably kills more or just as many elderly and preexisting conditioned people every year as Covid19. This new fear based society is wack. Edit: FYI my heart goes out to all those families of the deceased, Im only just saying what it seems like to me.
@tylerryan79 The problem is too many sick people at once overwhelming the hospitals. If you get in a car accident tomorrow and you can't be helped because all the intensive care hospital beds are already occupied by people having Covid-19 you will probably think differently about this.
This is scare mongering. Let's close all food stores and petrol stations, let's not have no more haircuts and do not order stuff on line because it has to be delivered by someone. What about the police or factory workers who produce stuff we need.
Animal crossing will keep hundreds of thousands off the street for months.
Game stores like other stores can ask for card only payments, two or three at a time in the shop. In the UK 80% of a person's salary is being paid by the government for employees who are told not to come to work by their company. So there may be an element of staff would like to be at home to be playing their own copy of AC.
Getting real tired of every dying business trying to justify staying open during a global pandemic cuz' they don't want to miss sales. I know plenty of you like physical games. There's a pandemic going on. Either buy it on Amazon or get a digital copy. This is not worth spreading a potentially lethal illness.
@zool The issue with buying physical is interacting with others. Deliveries are generally safe because they aren't exposed to crowds, and usually the virus won't survive transit. Ordering a game on Amazon is way safer than waiting in line. Ordering digital, while probably not your preference, is safer than going out and infects fewer people. I implore you to stay at home and flatten the curve.
Almost all my physical games, I buy from online stores. The Game store here in the UK charge about £5 more for a game, they are one of the most expensive outlets to buy games from.
But this post is referring to gamers that go to the store on release date to buy their copy of AC.
Of course health and safety comes first, but some of the shops when they close, will never open again. If rents and upkeep have to be paid with no profit being made then it will become unsubstanible.
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