Apparently, it wasn’t a very merry Christmas for video game retailers anywhere in the world. As we recently reported, GameStop got hammered this past holiday season, with hardware sales dropping approximately 29 percent and new software sales declining 19 percent compared to 2015, causing the chain’s stock to plunge. Well, it turns out top British retailer GAME also had a rough go of it.
According to GameIndustry.biz, GAME’s holiday season profits were down 26.5% compared to 2015. Unlike GameStop, which blamed competition from online retailers like Amazon for its downfall, GAME mostly pointed the finger at last year’s slate of games. According to the company only three games sold over 1 million copies in Britain last year (FIFA 17, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Battlefield 1), while 2015 saw five games cross that mark, with Fallout 4 being a runaway success on the islands.
It’s not all doom and gloom for GAME though. Unlike GameStop, the chain isn’t planning any widespread closing of stores, and sales have rebounded in 2017 thanks to the Nintendo Switch, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
GAME CEO Martin Gibbs had this to say about the disappointing quarter:
"Our [past two quarters] saw another tough period for console hardware and physical software sales in the UK, impacted by a weaker line-up of new games launches and the market-wide underperformance of certain key titles. Together, these dynamics resulted in a disappointing performance from our UK retail operation. We continue to prioritize our efforts on taking the necessary actions to respond to these challenges, whilst positioning the business to capitalize on major future market opportunities. I am encouraged with the progress we are making."
Ultimately, the question is – was this past holiday season just an anomaly, or a sign of deeper issues at video game retailers like GAME and GameStop? Only time will tell.