“Just a few years ago the games in­dus­try was con­sid­ered re­ces­sion­proof

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Games & Apps -

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.

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