Despite the fact that it's the only high street chain that sells brand new games, GAME seems to be struggling. Revenue is down, and it has to compete with the convenience of online chains like Amazon as well as digital storefronts operated by games publishers. It's done a lot to keep itself relevant over the past several years, and now the latest ideas it transforming into a phone shop with a bit of help from Three.
15 London-based GAME stores will start selling smartphones, SIM cards, MiFi devices, and PAYG top-ups. That's in addition to the second-hand phones that the chain has been selling for years, in what always felt to me like an attempt to mimic CEX.
It's being described as a trial, which means if it's successful you can start expecting to see your local GAME turn into a phone shop in the near future. If not, well, GAME is going to have to try and find another way to keep itself relevant during 2018.
Recently the retailer has done a number of things to try and increase interest and beat back competition. It's partnered up with WH Smith and Maplin to install GAME concession stands within those branches of those chains, and it launched a series of 'Belong' stores in London and Milton Keynes. Those branches included 'arenas', which was a fancy way of saying arcades, designed for esports, which hosted tournaments and other gaming-based events.
You can't fault GAME for trying, but I'm not sure phones is the way to go. There are dozens of phone shops on the high street, usually at least one for each network and then some, so what's going to make GAME stand out? Maybe people would take interest of they started bundling iPhone with games and/or consoles. If Carphone Warehouse can do that, there's no reason GAME can;t. [GameIndustry.biz via Engadget]