UK high street video game retailer GAME set to end in-store pre-orders

Trafford Centre, Manchester, ENGLAND - September 2023: Game External Store Sign.
(Image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

TechRadar Gaming can exclusively reveal that UK video game retailer GAME will stop taking deposits for in-store pre-orders as of August 1 this year.

The change was detailed in an internal staff memo that has been seen and verified by us. It states that “as part of the continued integration into Frasers Group, GAME will cease taking in-store deposits for future releases, as of August 2024. As of this date, no further deposits will be able to be placed in GAME stores”.

It explains that "customers will still be able to pre-order new releases through for home delivery or purchase in store once released." Existing deposits and pre-orders on any products released up until January 31st, 2025 will be honored and are unaffected by this change. Customers who have placed a pre-order for a product that is scheduled for release after that date (or currently labeled as "TBC 2025") will be issued with a refund for their deposit.

The memo states that staff who are approached by the press should “not comment on this announcement” with “further instructions” regarding changes to in-store marketing displays to follow. We have reached out to GAME's parent company Frasers Group for comment regarding this document, but have not received a response at this time.

The news follows a series of sweeping policy changes at the retailer, which halted trade-ins of pre-owned games in February this year and is set to close its customer reward program and Elite membership scheme at the end of this month.

As for the reasons behind these decisions, it likely comes down to changes to the in-store tills. Sources familiar with the matter explain that stores "will all be getting the new Enactor till systems installed" that "are the same tills that other Frasers Group facias use, like Sports Direct."

"A lot of the previous systems that GAME use no longer work [on these tills], hence why we're seeing Reward cards phased out as the same functions don't exist," they explain. "On the old GAME tills when pre-ordering a game you would have to take a customer's Reward card details or sign them up for one - this was so you had their contact details." 

"On the new Enactor tills, a pre-order deposit would just go through as an ordinary transaction without asking for any customer details. This would mean that a customer would have no way of tracking or checking their pre-order and the store would have no way to know how many pre-orders to expect unless manually tracking each one."

"If a customer lost their receipt there would be no way for them to redeem a pre-order or for the store to verify it was actually their pre-order. Moving it to online only would be the only way they can reliably keep track and get customers their pre-orders without error."

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Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is a technology journalist who covers gaming hardware at TechRadar. Before joining the TechRadar team, he was writing gaming articles for some of the UK's biggest magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found listening to J-pop or feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.