“Just a few years ago the games industry was considered recessionproof
months, and reached a deal with suppliers last month that enabled it to stay in business.
Things have since taken a turn for the worse as Game struggles to resolve supply issues, which have prevented it from stocking some of the bigger game titles. Game missed out on EA’S massive Mass Effect 3 launch week and was forced to cancel pre-orders for the limitededition version of the game, damaging its relationship with customers. Ubisoft’s Vita titles were also unavailable at launch, although Game subsequently stocked them. A limited number of other titles were also not stocked by the company.
“It’s unfortunate that Game is having challenges with its suppliers,” EA commented. “However, consumers have many alternatives, both in-store and online. Our first priority is to inform our consumers of the many other retailers carrying our games. We don’t anticipate any delay in getting our titles to market.”
What’s not clear is how many other titles this will affect, or if it will put Game’s already uncertain future in further jeopardy.
Just a few years ago, there was the general theory that the games industry was virtually recession-proof because, the thinking went, in times of economic trouble consumers would turn to more inexpensive forms of entertainment that gave good value for money.
But retailers are definitely feeling the pinch. And big games companies aren’t immune either. Sony’s videogames business may be growing, but Nintendo last year predicted its first annual loss for 30 years – a 20-billion-yen writedown that has since been revised to 65 billion.
The winners may be mobile gaming firms. Social games such as Farmville and low-cost mobile titles such as Angry Birds have captured a casual market that may not be buying consoles and physical games, but will happily hand over a euro or less for a game or in-app purchase.
It may alter the shape of the games industry.