GAME retail panic could hit Vita sales, destroy gaming for a generation

UK Retailer GAME is in financial trouble, of this there is little doubt. That has set panic stories flying around sites and forums. True or not, people are getting itchy feet and are threatening to or will be pulling their pre-orders for Vitas and software. Speculating on this bad news I can only see further, worse, problems for gaming in general.

Worse still, if GAME does collapse in the next couple of weeks, and it happened to Zavvi and other stores quite recently, a huge amount of PS Vita stock could find itself in GAME warehouses locked up until the bankruptcy professionals are finished sorting out the mess.

NOTE: GAME has told Eurogamer that the launch of PlayStation Vita will be unaffected in its shops. via Twitter

My own thought is that, while Game is probably (banks can be right bastards if they smell wounded prey) unlikely to collapse any time soon, the worrying spectre of no specialist retailer on the high street is really quite scary. With the likes of music/games retailers HMV under threat too, gaming retailing is left to the Tescos and other supermarkets of this country. So, only the the Top 10/20 games get shelf space, only official and first-tier add-ons get stocked.

Niche games will not get a sniff of a shelf, their publishers go bust and the new focus for developers is purely to get their games in Tesco - like a million Zumba clones cried out in suffering - just like magazine publishers had to bow to supermarkets in the early noughties. I'm not saying content of the top games will be affected, supermarkets loved Modern Warfare 3 as much as everyone else, but down the line, mid-tier developer decisions will focus on what gets on the shelves, not what is a good game idea.

Also, there is nowhere for young new gamers, getting into their first consoles, to focus. Even though chain retail stores are a bit naff in the eyes of a modern core gamer, GAME makes a good focal point for these novice gamers who, by accretion, can learn a bit more, and find other games outside the top five. They aren't forum junkies, or multi-mag readers, they're just kids with some cash to spend, for them Amazon might not be an option. If games fall into the supermarket's clutches too, gaming becomes just another top-five brand commodity, which is really bad news.

Opinions please...