Game Group on the market – breakup of Australian assets could be on the cards

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Gaming retailer GAME could have its assets broken up as the company is reportedly trying to find buyers before it goes to administration – while publishers have decided that it will no longer stock several high-profile games to their UK and Irish stores.

It isn’t able to sell Mass Effect 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, Mario Party 9 and Street Fighter X Tekken as publishers have now given up hoping the company could save itself. They have also pulled out over fears that they will not be able to reclaim stock if it files for bankruptcy – a big loss in confidence in the largest gaming retailer in the UK.

And now, reports are swirling saying that it could have as little as two weeks to live and could potentially be worthless. It’s shares have lost as much as 95% of its year-on-year value.

But who is looking to buy GAME? MCV and UK’s The Independent have pointed out that US-giant GameStop (owners of EB Games here) is interested. But The Independent has claimed GameStop is looking to buy all, or some, of its operations in Spain and Portugal.

The Financial Times, on the other hand, is claiming two more potential buyers – Hilco and OpCapita. Hilco is reportedly interested in its international assets – including its Spanish and Portugal stores – while OpCapita is more fixed on buying its UK assets. OpCapita is more famous in the UK after buying an electronics retailer for just £2.

Game’s sad demise will reverberate as more and more games are heading digital and avoiding the physical store. It was just too large to compete in a digital era. Mobile gaming has been rising, with the help of the iOS App Store and Sony’s efforts with its PlayStation brand on Android. Then we have Origin and Steam, who make it possible to download games on PC and Mac. Consoles, not so much.

But they are slowly getting there – you can buy games via Xbox 360’s Games on Demand service, but most of titles are old releases and newer titles are released a few months after their physical release.

Music experienced this already, with a fundamental shift from releasing singles to releasing a track on iTunes to purchase. Games, on the other hand, don’t require such a fundamental shift since its already there, and they are still making money from physical copies. The better question is, when are they going to go digital only?

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