A British dating website for gamers has approached troubled retailer Game with a ‘romantic’ solution to its ongoing financial woes, in a move that is claimed could net “millions” in shared revenue for Game.
Website www.dateagamer.co.uk has contacted the struggling chain with a “unique” partnership opportunity it says could turn the business’s fortunes around — by doubling-up stores as dating venues. Considering the fact that the Australian Game group recently held gaming ‘swingers’ events, the move might fit with the company’s overall image.
According to industry analysts, Game Group is “teetering” on the brink of administration with the risk of 10,000 job losses. The company, which has nearly 1,300 stores globally, has been struggling to keep afloat after suffering from a sharp drop in sales, with an estimated loss of £18m for the year to 31 January. Additionally there has been confirmation earlier this week that three of its key suppliers — Electronic Arts, Capcom and Nintendo — are refusing to trade with the retailer over “grave concerns” about the group’s credit worthiness have further damaged the business, sending its shares plummeting in value.
Game is reportedly facing paying a £21 million rent bill this Sunday, £12 million wage bill by the end of the month and £40 million to suppliers. Any new investor would have to inject up to £100 million into Game’s accounts.
In light of recent events, dateagamer.co.uk has offered to partner with Game and help the chain attract new business by turning the group’s 600 British stores into gaming “dating zones”. Under the proposals, the website — the first and largest of its kind in the UK — would set up branded holding areas in each shop where single gamers could mingle and hook up. The dating sessions, recommended to take place twice a day and run for one hour each, would be free for the 150,000-plus members of the dating website and have the potential to see “millions of pounds” in shared revenue with Game.
Date a Gamer founder and UK entrepreneur Tom Thurlow believes the co-branding opportunity represents an “attractive” answer to boost Game’s markets, which have been hit hard by competition from online-only retailers such as Steam and Amazon.
Speaking yesterday, he said: “We are always looking for innovative new ways to reach out to single gamers and I expect that this is the same with Game, especially given the company’s current financial issues.
“By setting up ‘dating zones’ in-store, Game will offer something its online rivals cannot hope to copy and drive thousands of potential new customers through its doors.
“Given the choice I reckon many gamers would love the opportunity to socialise in a video game store.”
Tom Thurlow of Date a Gamer is waiting to hear back from Game HQ about the offer but says he remains “optimistic” about a partnership.
He added: “The Date a Gamer website was only set up because there is a clear demand among single gamers for such a service and we are now offering Game a fantastic opportunity to partner with us and tap into that huge market.
“To me it’s a no-brainer. Business partnerships like the one we are proposing aren’t that uncommon: Waterstones and Costa Coffee are a good example.”