HMV Canada owner Hilco has picked up the tab for the U.K.-based HMV retail chain, The Financial Times reports (subscription required to view). Hilco has purchased the debt that HMV UK owed to Lloyds bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, which is estimated to be around £176 million. Many speculate that Hilco paid far less than the estimated debt that HMV went into administration for.
UK retailer HMV will enter into administration on Tuesday, the company announced. The move to administration (the European equivalent of bankruptcy here in the U.S.) comes after major suppliers like Universal Music, EMI, Warner Brothers and Disney refused to provide further financing needed for the retailer to continue trading. The company has turned to Deloitte as its administrators after lackluster Christmas sales made the retailer unable to secure terms on various loans. If things go badly it could mean the loss of an estimated 4,500 jobs and the possible closure of over 200 stores.
If you didn't get a Wii U under the tree but don't have enough money for the more premium retail version of Nintendo's latest living room console, then this tweak from Best Buy might entice you a little. Best Buy is now offering the 8GB basic Wii U bundled with the game Nintendo Land for the same $299 as the basic set costs on its own elsewhere. The premium version retails for $349 and includes a charging cradle for the gamepad, a 32GB storage drive, and the Nintendo Land game.
The end has finally come for UK retailer Comet, as it prepares to close the doors of all its stores in the region on Tuesday. Administrator Deloitte has confirmed to MCV that all of the remaining Comet retail stores will close their doors tomorrow (December 18th). Many of its stores closed for good over the weekend. This shutdown of its operations will result in the loss of an estimated 6,600 jobs just days before the Christmas Holiday.
UK games Retailer GAME and IGN announced a partnership this week that will see the two companies team up in 2013. Under the terms of the new deal IGN and GAME will work on a range of community based initiatives including special events, live-streamed gatherings and events, and "special guests" at GAME store locations.
Video game retailer GameStop announced that it suffered a $624 million net loss in revenue for the third quarter that ended on October 27. While GameStop said that results exceeded expectations for Q3, it highlighted the fact that sales were down on new software, used software and new hardware. Total sales fell approximately 8.9 percent to $1.77 billion while store sales also fell 8.3 percent. Overall, GameStop recorded a consolidated net loss of $624.3 million.
Unnamed sources speaking to C&VG are sounding alarm bells today that the United Kingdom may face a shortage of Nintendo's Wii U consoles when it is released in November. A "retail source" told CVG that the company he or she works for does not have enough Wii U units to fulfill pre-orders. That source claimed that they would be receiving around 25,000 units.
Microsoft has expanded its subsidized Xbox 360 offer to include bigger and better models, according to this updated Xbox.com product page. Microsoft will soon offer the 250GB Xbox 360 for $99 or $149 with Kinect. The two new options join the original 4GB with Kinect option, which remains $99. The catch (as has already widely been detailed) is that those who buy these cheaper models will be obligated to pay $14.99 a month for an Xbox Live Gold account for two years.
Nintendo announced this morning that it has slashed the price of the Wii to $129.99 in the United States. The lower-priced SKU also comes bundled with two games - Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort along with one black console, and a black Wii Remote Plus controller and Nunchuck - of course. The two games will be included on a single disc - just like they did with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. on the NES. Look forward to seeing those packed-in discs for sale at GameStop in about a month....
Mojang announced via its website that it is now offering prepaid game cards for its hit game Minecraft at various retailers. Now players can buy the cards for $26.95, the same price as downloading Minecraft online. For now the cards are available at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, and they are only available in the United States. Find out more about them at Minecraft.net.
Yesterday we reported that retailer GameStop halted its pre-orders for both models of Nintendo's Wii U console. Today the retailer wants those who didn't get in on the action to get in on a waiting list. The problem is it's only for PowerUp Rewards members. A cynical person would suggest that this is all some clandestine plan by GameStop to boot its PowerUp Rewards membership numbers.
From the FAQ:
The Gamestation brand of retail stores are now officially dead, with GAME announcing that it will rebrand all of its stores in the UK under its main brand name. Ultimately that means that there will be a total of 341 Game stores in the UK, according to the fine folks at Tech Radar.
According to a report on Polygon, video game retailer GameStop is seriously considering including a destination inside its retail stores specifically for shoppers looking to purchase classic game cartridges and discs that are no longer being carried by most retailers.
If you've longed for using currency that doesn't come at the expense of your credit card on Google Play, then you'll be delighted to hear that Google has officially announced the availability of Google Play gift cards.
Those cards, which come in increments of $10, $25 and $50, will make their way to such retailers as Target, RadioShack and GameStop in the United States over the next few weeks. Google says that these cards will be available on Walmart.com later this month, but not in Walmart stores for some reason.
EA Games executive vice president Patrick Soderlund said during a recent interview with Computer & Videogames that brick-and-mortar retail distribution will probably be dead in the next decade. He also thinks that the new generation does not care all that much for owning physical copies of games. He also noted that the acceleration of the digital distribution space is not slowing down, even as packaged goods sales are.
In the United States, there is no law forbidding retailers from selling an M rated game to someone under age 17 and thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. EMA, that’s not likely to ever change.
But is that the way it should be?
Across the pond in the UK, retailers are legally forbid from selling PEGI 12, 16, or 18 games to kids younger than the rating indicates. Are the Europeans doing it right?
Retail video game sales fell 20 percent in July compared to sales in July of 2011, according to retail research firm NPD Group. The U.S. video game industry saw $548.4 million in July, compared with $686.3 million in the same period a year ago. July marks the eighth consecutive double-digit drop since November of 2011.
Declining sales in July are believed to be the result of a lack of new releases during the month, a disinterest in consoles like the Wii and the tail end of console life cycles. Consumers spending more on digital goods is also having an effect on retail numbers.
Packaged goods sales in the United States will drop 26 percent in 2012, according to analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Company. Creutz says that double digit declines in the sale of video games at retail are likely to continue all the way to the end of 2012 due to the tail end of the life cycle for the PS3 and Xbox 360 console, as well as the continued weakness related to the Nintendo Wii.
CD Projekt RED announced that The Witcher series has managed to hit a major milestone: over 4 million copies sold to date. The numbers come from the collective worldwide sales of The Witcher for PC and Mac, and The Witcher 2 for PC and Xbox 360. The Witcher 2 will soon be available on Mac systems. The Witcher games on PC and Mac are DRM-free, which we'd like to believe was a contributing factor in the strong sales for the series...
GAME Australia will officially shut down on July 8, with the remaining 15 stores closing across the country, according to administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Last month PwC announced that GAME Australia would be closing the remaining stores but did not offer an exact date at the time. The Administrator for GAME Australia also announced that the remaining assets of the video game retailer would be liquidated to pay down the company’s debt.
In a not-so-surprising twist, Games Australia administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that at today's creditors meeting stakeholders came to the conclusion that the best thing that could be done for the troubled retailer is to liquidate the company. Today administrators Kate Warwick and Greg Hall were named as the liquidators who will oversea the final and irrevocable sale of GAME's assets.
GAME Australia administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that it will "immediately" shut down 16 retail stores in Australia, with the remaining 15 stores to be closed in the "coming weeks." The retailer went into administration (bankruptcy protection) last month, and while there was plenty of optimistic talk about saving the chain in Australia in the lead-up to today's news, most believed the writing was on the wall for the company.
Citing an anonymous source close to the retailer, GameSpot Australia is reporting that all of Australia's GAME retail stores will be shut down by the end of next week. The anonymous source also asserts that the business is now "$120 million in debt."
Despite all the talk about a next-generation console future where consumers are not allowed to play their used games by evil platform holders like Microsoft and Sony, retailer GameStop says that such a future is unlikely. The video game retailer firmly believes that the next generation consoles from both Sony and Microsoft will handle the business of retail trade-ins and used game sales the way they always have - by mostly ignoring them. The company made its remarks during an investor meeting with analyst firm Baird Equity Research.
The Digital Media Association (DiMA), Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and National Association of Theatre Owners declare June to be "Entertainment Ratings and Labeling Awareness Month." June has been proclaimed "Entertainment Ratings and Labeling Awareness Month" by the groups since 2004. The participating organizations are encouraging movie theaters, and retailers of movies, music, and video games to highlight the importance of ratings systems to their customers.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, administrator for GAME Australia, announced plans to close a number of underperforming retail stores in the country today. PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that it will close 60 stores in Australia and lay off 264 employees. Seventeen additional employees will be let go at GAME's head office as well.
"This is a difficult time for employees and closing the stores was not a decision we made easily," said Kate Warwick of PricewaterhouseCoopers. "However it is not financially viable to continue to operate at this level at this time."
Troubled UK retailer GAME announced via Twitter today that it has canceled its GAMEfest event this year.
"I'm afraid #GAMEfest won't be happening this year - but we do have some cool things in the works! Stay tuned," the company said to several consumers who enquired about the event.
In a subsequent tweet the company said that "by the way - this doesn't mean it won't happen next year. *wink*"