According to a report by the folk at Eurogamer, UK retailer GAME will stop accepting trade-ins from next month, marking a massive shift for the business.
Over the years GAME has been defined by the ability to trade-in your used physical games in return for store credit, but according to Eurogamer that long-running tradition will cease on February 16th. The news comes via staff members who reached out to Eurogamer, and Eurogamer also state that they have corroborated it with numerous branches across the country, although as of yet GAME has not made any official statement.
Over the recent years, the slow decline of physical games has resulted in GAME having to alter its business model by bringing in larger amounts of board games and videogame-related merchandise, including a seemingly neverending supply of Funko Pops.
It seems like GAME still wants to continue selling physical games, though, unlike UK supermarkets like ASDA and Tesco which have drastically reduced stock or stopped selling them altogether. Speaking to Gameindustry.biz last year, GAME CEO Nick Arran said, “Gaming is our core business and we will be last man standing selling physical video games. We see our place in the market as proving that there is a place for physical, whether that be the collector’s editions, which we see as the vinyl of video games, or the gifter who doesn’t want to wrap up a download code for Christmas. But we need to be realistic.”
With that said, the last time I visited a GAME store, which was toward the end of 2023, it did look far more like a toyshop than a videogame store. With second-hand games being phased out, I can only imagine the resulting shelf space will be taken up by more Funko Pops.
Interestingly in Eurogamer’s own comments, someone claiming to be a former GAME manager chimed in with some potential explanations, having reached out to current employees. Going by the name JJGAMESTER, they said, “I worked as a manager of GAME for years, only recently left. Spoke to my old colleagues and they say it’s due to the new tills. (If anyone has seen, the GAME tills are from 1995.) Frasers Group couldn’t figure out how to program a trade-in feature on the new tills as well as a loyalty programme so they may be going as well.”
JJGAMESTER also stated that the GAME rewards scheme was also be retired, along with gift cards, digital products and a few other things.
Replying to other people, JJGAMESTER also confirmed that while GAME’s biggest profit source was used games due to massive margins, it’s now toys due to Frasers Group, who own GAME, securing a great deal with Hasbro.
Unfortunately, I have no way of corroborating what this user has said, but he/she presents a compelling case. God knows I’ve certainly noted the ancient tills whenever I’ve been in-store at GAME, including employees occasionally being eaten by said tills.
On a more personal level, GAME was a big part of my childhood. I was in there constantly, trading in games to help buy new ones. Watching its decline over the years has been sad, but inevitable. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine GAME’s future is going to be much better as they almost always seem to charge more than anyone else for new releases.
But if there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that perhaps there will be a few bargains to be hand in the pre-owned section while GAME tries to shift the remaining stock of second-hand titles.