GAME announces record sales, intends to self-publish games

GAME revealed their trading statement for 2008 year-to-date sales and it appears that this year is set to surpass the record-breaking sales of 2007. Like for like sales for the first 22 weeks of the year are up by 28.1% when compared to the same period last year.

This announcement caused GAME shares to plummet as many analysts have seen this as proof that the games industry has reached it’s peak. Analyst John Stevenson predicted full-year profits of £139.5 million for the GAME group and said:
“Unless we see new hardware launches into the UK market over the next two years, which appears unlikely at present, then we believe profits will peak this year and fall consistently over the following three years.”

GAME Group CEO Lisa Morgan said the games market was “absolutely not” at a peak.

“The point to make is that we haven’t seen any new console releases in the first half of this year, and (sales are up compared to) the launch of the Playstation 3 last year,” she argued.

Morgan also said that unlike previous console generations which have mainly been driven by one major console that “demand is now fuelled by a number of consoles, and new games are appealing to bigger audiences.”

GAME also announced plans to self-publish games themselves. Although they stressed that they certainly weren’t planning a whole host of blockbuster releases.

GAME’s UK Managing Director Tricia Brennan explained, “If it works commercially for GAME and helps a smaller publisher get off the ground by GAME sharing some of the risk, then we would look at it – we have a distribution channel and we can offer a service.”

It appears that PC and DS are the platforms that GAME are looking towards to test this strategy on. And of course the games they publish will only be available to buy exclusively at GAME…

According to MCV, GAME will have to exercise caution with this strategy to avoid antagonising game publishers, who are already unhappy that they make absolutely zilch from the lucrative trade-in market.
Smaller publishers are also feeling threatened, as GAME may be seen to be moving in on their business of collaborating with smaller developers.

Despite this potential controversy, things are looking good for the GAME group, who are planning to open 60 new stores throughout the UK and Europe by Christmas. They also recently hired the Managing Director of Google UK to help expand and develop their online business.