GAME knows it's in trouble. Twelve months ago, it launched a series of experience stores in London and Milton Keynes branded "Belong." They included tiny "arenas" — arcades for the eSports generation — that hosted tournaments and other casual events. It's unclear if the concept has been successful, however. Last month, Game sold part of Multiplay — a company it acquired for £20 million in 2015 — to engine developer Unity for £19 million. Specifically, it ditched Multiplay's server hosting division, keeping the portion that runs its Belong arenas and the gaming festival Insomnia.
All of this masks the real problem facing GAME: digital sales. Every year more people are choosing to buy software through Steam, PSN, the Xbox Store, and Nintendo's eShop. Downloads are more convenient and a well-timed sale can beat the prices offered by GAME or even online retailers such as Amazon. There is, of course, still an interest in boxed copies — they make great gifts, you can share them with friends, and you can save money by trading them in or selling them on afterwards. The industry is shifting, however, and GAME needs a real, long-term solution to survive.