Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bye Bye Game Focus


We're all about being open and transparent with YOU, the homeless transsexual checking the Internet when you should be working and this post, friend((ette)?) is going to be a short one.

London indie game store GAME FOCUS has closed its doors (EDGE has the scoop).

This is a fucking tragedy and much more sad face for us than the whatever-the-fuck-is-happening-with-GAME. 

Game focus was a lovely little store that we'd frequently go to just browse. Not only did they have OLD FORMATS, pretty much every GBA and GC game I bought was from here but they used to have amazing displays of limited edition games, consoles and peripherals. Also they sold PlayStation promo copies for like a pound each. They did not give a fuck even though they were emblazoned with "PROMOTIONAL COPY NOT FOR RESALE". 

The shop took a bit of a dive when they moved all the DVDs upstairs and the games to the basement and for some reason their amazing display cases got culled and the display merch significantly reduced. To hear that they are closed is a sad day indeed.

Sad AND FUCKING MENTAL. We live and work in central London and now there isn't a game specialist* within walking distance of the heart of the capital. If Sir Lord Alan Sugar wants to fuck next year's Apprentice candidates on the here's a lit of stuff you need to buy task he should just ask them to track down a copy of, I don't know, that rare and obscure game Super Mario Sunshine.  

The gaming community is constantly banging on about how games are the biggest growing, highest grossing entertainment industry so why is it that there's now nowhere to physically go to consume games? That's important so we'll say it again, there's nowhere for the millions of people who play games, more people than have ever been interested in games, to go to buy games from a 'specialist' in the motherfucking capital^. Sure you can go to CEX but what if you don't have a fucking clue about games because you don't sit all day F5'ing www.allthosegamesites.com to find out about what's going on? The customers don't have a clue about what's good and what's shit and guess what? Second hand games don't represent the best that gaming has to offer because they're the games people don't want to play anymore. I wish that devs would stop using platforms like MCV to blame the pre-owned market for the failure of poorly marketed and distinctly average Clone Shit Shooter 3: Like that other shooter but less fun which has a man dressed in grey walking along with a bunch of guns in an army suit. On line retailers have hammered a couple of nails into the coffin of high street retailer but a lot of the time, savvy sellers keep prices updated (Metroid Prime Trilogy on Wii for how much?) but the 'market' prices aren't competitive, they're ridiculous. Generally speaking, sealed critically acclaimed or limited release titles' prices inflate on line whilst anything outside of the top say 10% of games depreciate in a matter of weeks. The excellent Bit.Trip Complete is down to half price with most retailers and it isn't even a fucking month old. Critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution is now £5 in HMV. £5 after just seven months! Oh the big developers are fine you might think. Name any other industry that has such poor stability, frequently a game developer will make a good game, do well, get bought out, release a less than stellar game and then get broken down. We're not just talking about the little guys we're talking about some of the big players. Inevitably they will then go off to form a new studio, rinse and repeat.

'What about digital product?' you might stop rooting around in your nose with your thumb just long enough to suggest, however it was only last month that digital only PC games sales ticked over to 50% and that's PCs. The format where you're already on line.  This last couple of weeks twitter has been awash slightly damp with people tweeting developers and publishers with "Where can I buy your game that is out this week?". Why aren't publishers going to stores and taking the likes of GAME to task for being out of stock, hiding new releases or just being generally incompetent. I'd be down there saying, look our game is fucking amazing and if you sell it like this it'll sell a shit load. Your customers will be happy, you'll be happy and we'll be happy. Oh wait it isn't all doom and gloom the supermarkets are here to help that is the best fucking joke I've heard all century. Have you been to a supermarket to buy a game? They're clueless.

It makes us so angry for the industry that occasionally throws us a bone to make our hobby worthwhile seems to be so backward when it comes to getting its product to market effectively. In the rush to become culturally relevant and technologically impressive it seems everyone forgot to take How To Run A Business 101.

Are we the only ones angry about this? We're this close [-] to just giving up on gaming altogether and we fucking love gaming but its constantly us bending over to support the industry that at times seems to think it is too fucking cool and aloof to behave like a grown-up industry. We're so mad we're not even going to re-read this for typos because we'll just add a ton more swears and probably give ourselves a heart attack.

NB Wow that turned out quite long we should probably change the intro.


* Video game or board game. Two of the ace board game shops and two comic shops in the capital closed down in the last twelve months making casual geekery window shopping very tough after you've wandered around Forbidden Planet.

^ If you do know of anywhere that isn't a crack den could you let us know? Thanks.

No comments: