EA: GAME collapse a "temporary dislocation", won't harm Mass Effect 3 sales

Other shops will fill the hole, reckons Riccitiello.

GAME Group's perilous situation won't stop EA selling every copy of Mass Effect 3 made, publisher boss John Riccitiello has declared.

"I'm really confident that the consumer that wants to buy Mass Effect or Madden or FIFA or whatever, if a particular retailer is gone, other retailers will absorb the business," said Riccitiello at an investment conference last week (reported by MCV).

"In the fullness of time, I am extremely confident that, whether it's UK or France, or United States et cetera, the retail marketplace will absorb that business.

"I don't think we're going to - we might lose 20,000 copies of Mass Effect 3 in the UK for the consumer that can't figure out another store to go to, but that would even surprise me.

"I mean I think we'll sell every unit," he added.

"We love great retailer partners ... They're great for us. If one goes away, the other guys pick up the slack. I really don't see it as anything other than a very temporary dislocation."

Sales of Mass Effect 3 appear to prove Riccitiello's point. The acclaimed space RPG raced clear at the top of the UK all-formats top 40 chart this morning, outselling the combined opening weekends of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2, despite not being stocked by either GAME or Gamestation.

But mega-budget, mainstream blockbusters like FIFA, Battlefield, Mass Effect and Call of Duty are those most resistant to GAME Group's demise - they'll be stocked by supermarkets and be in high demand online.

Riccitiello apparently predicted this would be the case.

"So what's happening in our world is that the actual packaged goods business is under a lot of pressure, but if you're at the top of the charts in HD [consoles], you're in a great spot.

"We anticipated that HD was going to do better. We anticipated that the top of the charts would do better, and we doubled down on that part of the business and it's helped us gain share, drive profit. And that's what we want to continue to do."

A month ago, Riccitiello said EA was "concerned" about the health of a "major European retail partner" - mentioning no names.

Last week, Riccitiello said what was a risky situation before - subtext: GAME Group's possible collapse - "now looks like all but a certainty".

GAME Group's share price was below 1 pence this morning. The shop-chain has apparently put itself up for sale. Stock has been sold off at huge discounts in GAME and Gamestation lately.

Earlier this month, Eurogamer investigated the short-term and long-term ramifications of what would happen were GAME to collapse. How would it affect you on the high street, we asked?

Mass Effect 3.

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