For the past 5 or so years Steam has gained major traction with gamers and game developers, enabling a cheap platform of distribution that pays developers a good share, probably around 70%. The article linked states that the rates are competitive with Apple’s 70%, which is a healthy slice of the profits for the publisher, and in the case of indie developers, the developer.
This has not gone unnoticed by brick and mortar stores, especially given that Steam is more profitable for developers. Steam has grown rapidly in the past few years, and this will not have gone unnoticed by brick-and-mortar stores such as GAME and the US GameStop.
GAME has been under fire in the past thanks to rumours about them denying Steam access to games and pre-orders such as Skyrim for UK users (source). But anyone with any level of scepticism and knowledge of the practices of GAME will hopefully reach the conclusion that GAME does not play nicely and does not treat employess well. I’ve personally had some very bad experiences in the GAME stores, especially with respect to age verification. I find it easier to get a drink at the local pub than I do getting rated games.
GAME also has some awful anti-competitive behaviours, such as having two different branded shops in the same town within 50 meters of each other. That town is their HQ town of Basingstoke. They had both a GameStation and a GAME there, and both acted as if in competition with each other, killing the third game shop in the town, which could not afford a better location. The other two shops were located in the high street of the town, the other was located on a more outskirt location.
I suspect that the rumours about GAME attempting to damage Steam in the UK are true, and this is probably true of places like GameStop in the USA and other large game retailers around the world, hence major variations in regional prices based on publisher discrepancy.
The death of GAME is a good thing. The less unfair pressure on Steam from lobby groups, the more competitive prices we will get. It also sends a message to other game retailers that being unreasonable towards your customers, having absurd pricing and being unpleasant towards your employees will not stand in the eyes of the consumer.
Although, I am certainly sorry to the loss of jobs for the thousands of GAME employees and hope that they can all find employment again. Given that the GAME HQ is in my town, it is quite close to home.