UK retailer GAME has uncovered plans to look for and publish undiscovered games under its own brand name.
However, following a certain level of unrest among publishers, the company has gone public to discuss its plans for its own brand initiatives and on-going strategy.
GAME has said that while it reserves the right to challenge retail and publishing boundaries with its "own brand" ideas, it has promised there are no games in the pipeline for before Christmas.
Explained GAME's UK and Ireland managing director, Tricia Brennan: “If an opportunity arises and we think it could be a good proposition for both us and the consumer, then we will explore it. But it is not as if there are many products planned."
“This isn’t about us doing something that threatens publishers. It is about listening to developers who may come to us with titles that may not otherwise be able to get to market.
“If it works commercially for GAME and helps a smaller publisher get off the ground by GAME sharing some of the risk, then we would look at it – we have a distribution channel and we can offer a service," she added.
Exclusives have always played a major part in the games retail market, and with even more competition now, the need for them is crucial.
However, one publishing boss had this to say: “They have to be very careful. Us publishers already feel aggrieved by the fact that we lose out on the huge revenues created by trade-in sales.
“If any retailer were really to go for it with own brand games, it would be an act of war.”
Whilst major publishers will feel less threatened by retailers picking up the more niche titles and bringing them to market, smaller outfits are considerably less assured.
“What GAME or Tesco are doing is effectively what we do – bring titles to market, get them localised, and through format holder approval. But it’s hard for us to compete if a powerful chain can offer better terms and guaranteed retail distribution,” said one small Nintendo licensee.