Gamestation is a chain of UK retail shops selling used and new video games, and was the second-largest specialist video game retailer in the UK until they were bought out by GAME, a group which owns many different gaming stores throughout the UK and Europe. It is fully owned and operated by GAME, which bought the chain in 2007. This deal was referred to the competition commission and was finally cleared many months after, much to the frustration of many smaller video game outlets and websites, GAME now operate and control a very large part of the UK market and are expanding in Europe.
The business was originally sold by its founders during the peak sales period of PlayStation 2 to American video rental giant Blockbuster who invested heavily in an aggressive store roll out program. This, coupled with competitive pricing subsidised by the buoyant video rental market of the time, elevated the chain to second highest market share in the UK games industry; only peaked by GAME themselves.
Opinion is still divided whether the company's reversal of fortune was driven by the wane in demand for video rental mid-decade or the cyclical nature of the games industry but 2006 saw their American parent company file massive debts in the region of $550 million, leading to widespread speculation that the company was either rife to a take over or brinkering on the edge of administration.
Gamestation currently have over 240 outlets in the UK. Their smaller "concession" stores, that operate inside of some Blockbuster stores, were not involved in the GAME takeover and are now owned by Blockbuster exclusively. These stores have since been rebranded as 'Blockbuster Games' stores and no longer operate under the Gamestation logo. Their current base of operations is Stirling Park in York.
The chain focuses on the current generations of consoles: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, Wii, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable as well as the PC. They also sell, and accept as part exchange, games and consoles from older generations, such as the Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, NES, Super NES, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Game accessories for the older consoles are also available. They were one of the first UK stores to reduce the price of the PlayStation 3 to £399.99 (from £424.99) including X-Men: The Last Stand on Blu-ray. This rivalled a similar offer from play.com, bundling a PlayStation 3 with a free HDMI and Click on Blu-ray for the same price.
Gamestation advertise their Christmas promotions with 'Fat Chris' which is a parody of Father Christmas (advertised as "What's half of Father Christmas?" - "Fat Chris!"). He was used for Christmas 2006 and made a return for Christmas 2007.
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