The European game retail space just got a little less competitive. American movie rental giant Blockbuster announced today that it is selling its British Gamestation subsidiary to European mega-retailer Game Group PLC for $150 million (approx. £74 million). The move will increase Game's British footprint by over 200 stores and leave the chain as the largest games retailer in Europe by a sizable margin.
The consolidation is reminiscent of the merger between Gamestop and EBGames a few years back that created a virtual monopoly on U.S. game retailers. There had been some speculation that GameStop would scoop up GameStation next, getting a larger toehold in the British market in the process, but that now seems to be a missed opportunity. "Instead of gaining traction in the market through an acquisition of Gamestation, GameStop allowed its key rival in the UK, Game Group, to create a greater barrier to entry in that market," analyst Michael Pachter said. "We are not optimistic that GameStop will be able to grow a grass roots presence in the UK for at least three years."