David Prosser: Game Group is surely running out of lives

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The Independent Online

Outlook: Good luck to Game Group in its efforts to turn its prospects around – it is certainly going to need it.

Having visited a new branch of Game a week or so ago, I can testify that the company is making an effort. Helpful sales assistants encouraged shoppers to try new releases in-store while talking up their seconds service, whichenables customers to trade in games they've got bored with (which are subsequently sold at a discount). This is a retailer doing its best.

Moreover, few people can have failed to spot the enormous sums currently being spent on promotion for thelatest Call of Duty release, which isgetting the sort of treatment normally associated with a blockbuster movie. Nor is this unusual – the video games industry appears to be in rude health.

Why then does Game need a break? Well, one problem is the economicenvironment – computer games are an expensive luxury purchase that cash-strapped consumers do not seem likely to prioritise.

The more fundamental – and enduring difficulty – is the threat from online retailers operating without the cost base of a network of high street stores. In a commoditised market where most customers don't need a great deal ofadvice on their purchase, it's justimpossible to see how Game is going to be able to compete.