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Mass Effect 3 publisher EA hopes GAME will rise from the ashes

But highlights ME3 and FIFA Street success without specialist retailer.

Mass Effect 3 publisher EA hopes and believes GAME will rise from the ashes of administration.

EA UK MD Keith Ramsdale said at the Westminster Media Forum today, attended by Eurogamer sister site GamesIndustry International, that he expects GAME to pull through, but called on those in charge to change their ways.

"I do hope and believe there will be a phoenix rising from the flames. GAME is full of good people, it's a good store, I just think they need a different approach and I'll think they'll have one," he said.

Yesterday Game Group de-listed itself from the London Stock Exchange and announced its intention to enter administration, although it will continue trading in the short term.

It is an important step in what has been an incredibly difficult three months that have seen GAME unable to stock new releases.

The biggest title not to be stocked by GAME or Gamestation is Mass Effect 3. After the shocking announcement that it would not be sold by the UK's biggest video game specialist, pre-orders were cancelled, deposits were refunded and gamers were pointed to alternative retailers.

But it appeared to have little impact on sales. Mass Effect 3 debuted at number one in the UK all formats chart, with stronger launch sales than Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 combined.

"GAME is one retailer out of many, albeit historically a very good retailer," Ramsdale said. "Without talking numbers I can tell you that when we shipped Mass Effect and FIFA Street we were very pleased with our numbers in the UK and GAME were unable to buy them."

Ramsdale said that if GAME survives administration, it must expand its focus beyond boxed retail, as other high street shops have done.

"Would I rather there is a GAME? Absolutely I would. I believe that a specialist retailer does a lot for this industry. One of the opportunities for a specialist is to be much more multiform than they currently are, to the point of Apple or Android.

"If you look at the current retail base, HMV seem to be stepping up and seem to be more solid. Amazon have done a good job of picking up content, so yes, there's more than just GAME. The opportunity for video game retailers is think broader than just the shiny discs."

GAME is in the process of appointing an administrator, who will be charged with finding the best deal for GAME Group's top level creditors. This may involve a buyout of some or all of its shops, or a pre-pack administration that could see GAME continue under a different name.