After a shockingly rapid final descent, GAME Group formally gave up the ghost yesterday, handing its debt-ridden business over to administrators. EA's refusal to supply Mass Effect 3 at a discount was by far the largest nail in GAME's coffin, but the publisher's UK managing director Keith Ramsdale insists there's no animosity between the firms, and hopes there's more to reports of a brand new company launch than idle talk.
"I do hope and believe there will be a phoenix rising from the flames. GAME is full of good people, it's a good store, I just think they need a different approach and I'll think they'll have one," he told Games Industry International at the Westminster Media Forum yesterday.
EA is ready to move on, however. "GAME is one retailer out of many, albeit historically a very good retailer. Without talking numbers I can tell you that when we shipped Mass Effect and FIFA Street we were very pleased with our numbers in the UK and GAME were unable to buy them.
Diversification may be key to the survival of high street specialist retail, Ramsdale opined; shops need to embrace more than just the game discs themselves if they're to compete with online rivals.
"Would I rather there is a GAME? Absolutely I would. I believe that a specialist retailer does a lot for this industry. One of the opportunities for a specialist is to be much more multiform at than they currently are, to the point of Apple or Android.
"If you look at the current retail base, HMV seem to be stepping up and seem to be more solid. Amazon have done a good job of picking up content, so yes, there's more than just GAME. The opportunity for video game retailers is think broader than just the shiny discs."
How can GAME save itself? At present, we doubt it can.