It was a headline that filled me with dread: GAME acquires Gamestation.
A cry rang out from my mouth at the horror; my favourite shop on the highstreet (and bastion for retreat when Ali goes shopping) is being enveloped by one of my least favourite shops on the highstreet.
I have always resented buying games from GAME. Even before Christmas when they were the only place in town to have the Wii accessories I wanted, I felt dirty handing over my cash to them.
With some shops I have an irrational disdain for them, Starbucks, Costa et al, for example, just because they are always there. With GAME, however, I think they are soulless places for people who don’t know better, who get ripped off on prices and who just bend over and take it when offered a ridiculously scant trade-in price. They are the ultimate, streamlined, capitalist vision of my preferred hobby, not only that but their all-caps name grinds my gears too.
This is not to say that Gamestation is not after my money too, let’s not pretend they too aren’t driven by the mighty pound, but they go about it in such a nice manner by comparison. Their shops have character, a great range of second-hand/retro games, good trade-in value and, more importantly, their staff appear to know what they are on about. This could be just my own personal impression, but the difference between the two businesses is as night is to day.
The one glimmer of hope I cling to is that they will, as the press release says, keep the two brands separate. For those of you who remember Electronic Boutique, you may also remember that GAME assimilated them pretty sharpish after an acquisition, but hopefully the demographic who use Gamestation (as it is now) as opposed to GAME will persuade the two identities to remain.
The odd thing is, though, that as much as I hate GAME’s retail face in towns, I cannot fault their online service. Upon their website, prices can almost be considered competitive and their delivery service is exceptional; if ever I want something on the day of release this is the place I will go. Quite the opposite to Gamestation’s own web presence, in fact, and quite the Jekyll & Hyde. Who knows, they may compliment each other after all.