It's all fire and brimstone for brick and mortar video game retailers today as both HMV and GAME reported poor performance during the Christmas period.
While HMV and GAME are left to reassess their respective business models, we've come to the not-so-world-shattering realisation that most of us here in the CVG dungeons rarely buy our games from stores.
Why? Mostly because we don't like having dozens of rubbish promotions machine-gunned at us by drone-like employees that don't know the difference between Call of Duty and Call of Juarez, but also because, well - the internet exists. Everything is cheaper there, the customer service is usually better, we won't be judged for shopping in our underwear, and we're never more than a few clicks away from a video of a fat cat diving in and out of a box.
Today, GAME Group has reported a year-over-year sales decline of 14.7 percent for the eight week Christmas period ended January 7. UK and Ireland sales fell 17.6 percent, international sales dropped 12 percent, while online sales rose 3.9 percent.
Group sales fell 11.9 percent in the 49 weeks to January 7, slightly ahead of the overall games market, which declined 13.1 percent during the same period. The company said it has shut 39 stores in the past year, and aims to close another 60 in the UK by 2013.
The long a short of it is that it isn't looking good for GAME and little Nipper the dog is going to have to cram his perpetually bemused face deep into that gramophone to get away from HMV's problems.
HMV CEO Simon Fox told the Telegraph today that the company didn't lose any market share in music or DVDs, but its share of the games market dipped 16 percent across the UK over the festive period. Fox said competition from online retailers and supermarkets meant it may make sense to stock only big new releases and no longer focus on "the long tail of older software".
Our question to you is this: how relevant are stores like HMV to you as consumers? Do you buy games from walled outlets regularly or just when a particularly good deal comes up? Or are you exclusively an online shopper?
Let us know in the comments below.