We reported on our Facebook page last week about the clearance sale currently taking place across the UK in various Tesco stores. As well as stationary, household goods and other miscellaneous items, there are a wide range of video games that they have been offering at what can only be described as ludicrous prices. PS3, Vita and other console games starting at just £1.25 each, accessories priced the same and similar offers on DVDs, CDs and even blu rays. It’s caused a buying frenzy amongst gamers throughout the nation with some incredible bargains to be had on some genuinely top games.
While this has been great for games looking for a cheap way to boost their collections, especially Vita owners with games like Tearaway, Little Deviants and FIFA available for £1.25 and even 4Gb memory cards in some stores for the same cut-down price beating even their previous shock bargain deal of £5 for Tearaway before Christmas, it’s not been without its issues. As with any sale like this, availability of these games across all formats has been limited and many less scrupulous buyers have gone into branches clearing shelves of every game they could find purely to resell on eBay. While I have no qualms with gamers buying multiple copies for friends (I did that myself with the previous Tearaway offer to get some as presents and friends who weren’t able to find them), buying to resell is just depriving gamers of the chance of a bargain.
Just looking on eBay for any of these current games will find sellers not only with these titles but many of the other sale bargains and more worrying, multiple copies of each. I have seen sellers with several copies of Tearaway, FIFA, Little Deviants, numerous PS3 and WiiU games and accessories and for what? To stop others from enjoying the same bargains they no doubt did a few days earlier.
Sales like this have more serious ramifications though. With the sheer volume of games on offer in these sales it raises a number of questions. While branches of Tesco up and down the country are still stocking games, it does make you wonder whether this is the first step for the supermarket giant to move away from games completely by clearing out their older stock before moving on to all of their current products a few months down the line if it doesn’t sell at full price.
Of greater concern is that of the potential attitude of customers towards the store. In selling off so many titles at such low prices, one has to wonder how the store will be perceived from now on. When Tearaway was dropped in price before Christmas, people were astonished to see such a new game slashed to just 20% of its RRP and if other games can be reduced to such low prices, many gamers will no doubt ask themselves whether or not Tesco will do the same again. Every retailer has sales from time to time and Tesco is no exception, but never to this degree before and this could be very damaging. While it may not damaging sales on the high street for all games outlets, it could put gamers off purchasing anything from Tesco with the chain generating expectations of future sales like this again.
The store has put themselves in the delicate position now of having to rebuild faith in their games department. Another sale like this could cripple long-term full price sales leading to the end of video game sales in Tescos completely. The store is a valuable source of income for the industry that they do not want to lose and a bad judgement call reducing prices so dangerously low again could well have a permanent effect on us all.