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This review is focuses on game.co.uk, an online gaming, and gaming accessories website, that allows people to purchase games online, with it then later being delivered a couple of working days later. Now ive used game.oc.uk several times, infact in 2007, I would say ive spent roughly £350 purchasing items from their website, so I guess I seem to have some experience regarding what the company has to offer, the layout of the website, customer service, price and so on. This review will hopefully bring to attention why I like the site, and why I use the company on a regular basis.
Game, is a retailer both online and in store, they have a wide selection of consumer products relating to games, and gaming consoles, such as the PS2, X Box and so on. They initially started off with small retail outlets in Europe, namely in Sweden, Denmark, and later the UK. It has well over 800 strategically placed outlets, and is company that recently started moving into online game purchasing. The company moved into online selling because they wanted to grab a share of the market, currently held by the likes of Amazon, Play.com, and HMV and so on, however the company has now become a loyal brand name for many game buyers, including myself. Out of the 800 outlets, game currently runs most of its business from the UK, with over 400 stores, and as of 2007, the company made a turnover exceeding £800 million.
Like most people I prefer using the company website, largely due to the fact that I just don't want to go to the store. The website, which is www.game.oc.uk, offers buyers a chance to browse through and intense catalogue of different games, for different consoles, whilst at the same time also offering people the chance to view new game trailers, and download demos etc. This next section will focus on the different products they offer. With an increasing awareness of technology, with the introduction of the PS3, the X Box, many people have now moved into purchasing not only OPC games but also consol games, its a million pound industry. At present the website offers the following game consol options, all of which I will discuss, in terms of navigation, and price, and availability. (Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, Game Cube, PC Games, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X Box, X BOX 360)
Now it wouldn't make sense talking about all the options because I only purchase from the PC section, , so im just going to share my experiences regarding this, however it's the same process for the other game types.
When you first load onto the website, you will see the screen will automatically show the best offers and new releases, however on the left hand side of the page is a navigation page that shows all the possible consoles you can buy games for, buy clicking on there PC Games section, you will be directed into a section that is specifically catered for PC gamers. Going into this section, again you will see that the left hand navigation has more sub categories; this is breaking the games down into different sub section, i.e. into different types so if you're looking for fighting games you click on that, or simulation, racing, shooting and so on. Like most website, this is a common feature because it is so much easier for people to search for what they are looking for, however it's very affective because it saves a lot of time, rather than viewing a list of thousands of games, which are unsorted. The main section will have a list of the new games that are either currently out, or the company is reducing it by putting it on sale, hence the logo which will say reduced or sale. Sticking with the current page, if we were to click on one of the games, in my case Call of Duty 4, you will take you to yet another page; however this one is designed specially for the product you have clicked on. Here it will show the price of the product, and several screenshots of the game, to get an idea of what the graphics are like etc. The bit I love about this site its features section for each game, it's almost a page long and shows details about the game, what the graphics are like and how its best played. It will give you info about the game, the different levels it has, what makes it different from the past games, what the quality of the sound and imagery are like, and what platform of PC, best suits this game.
The page also has four optional tabs with it, which show Screenshots, Videos, Downloads and Requirements. The screenshot section shows what the game looks like image wise, with several battle shots, the video section shows a trailer for the game, obviously there to insight people to buy the product. Download allows you to download the trailer onto the PC, and the requirements section shows what platform of pc, graphics card etc is needed for the game to work. I like this because they are actually warning people that the game will only work on selected platforms. Finally the section also included something called Customer Reviews, found at the bottom of the page. This section allows registered users to review the game once they themselves have bought and played it, they will talk about game play, graphics etc, however the good thing the reviews are both positive and negative, therefore giving and open sided argument for buying and not buying the game.
Creating an Account:
Like most gaming websites such as Play.com, and Amazon, you first have to sign up before you can purchase anything, this section will go through how the signing up and registration process works. Once your on the website, at the top of the page, their will be several tabs, highlighted in black, click on the "Your Account" tab. This will open up a new tab in your browser, that will give you the option of either signing in, or signing up; if you're new you should click on "Create an Account". This process will go through details such as creating a username and password, entering a valid email address, inputting your delivery address, date of birth, and card details, needed for purchase purposes, you can have the option of inputting your card details to be store, however I don't as I am a little paranoid so I enter my details every time a purchase something new. Once you have registered and email will be sent to your account, by clicking on it, you have confirmed the creation of your account and are ready to start purchasing your desired products.
Once you have registered and your account:
Once you have registered you can view your account with game.co.uk, this section will show your purchase history, track your orders, change payment options by adding removing a card and just general information regarding your account. Purchasing:
Next time your on the site, enter your details and log in, once you have selected a product that you like you can click on the section that says "Add to basket", this will automatically put the product in an online basket, whilst you can shop around for other products. If your done and you can click on the checkout section, which takes you to the payment process and delivery options. Here it will show the price of the product, how much you're saving, and the delivery options. The standard free option is delivery within 2 working days, however you can choose for overnight delivery, however the prices varies. Next day delivery cost £4.95, but to be honest it's not worth it unless you're buying a gift, or can't wait for 2 days. Once you have selected delivery, click on Checkout, highlighted with a clear bold Purple. Here you will have to type in your payment options, i.e. what your paying buy, account number and so on, once this is done, your order will be confirmed, and sent a confirmation email to your registered account, and well you just wait.
Delivery Reliability: and Quality of Product, i.e. damage or no damage:
Now I guess people will have different opinions about how their items have arrived and how long they have taken, but for me using this service for 2 years now I have never received it late, which I found to be very professional and one of the reasons I always shop with them. Ive done Amazon and Play.com, but I have had a few late deliveries, which have put me off being a regular buyer. The product is packaged very effectively, and the game itself is sealed so you no if it's new or been tampered with etc. However, if there's one problem I have its when I have multiple games; they sometimes send them in different packages, which is just a waste.
I found the price of the games to be very reasonable, I tend to do a lot of price comparison because I like to find myself a nice bargain or to, now most likely the games are the same in more online retailing shop, maybe a pound cheaper if that,. However, since I have come to trust this brand if they charge a pound more I am willing to pay it, because I no I get a quick, professional service.
Other things the site offers:
As well as selling games for different platforms, the website also allows you to purchase gaming accessories, i.e. controls, memory cards and so on, however I myself have never bought them. Furthermore, there is a new section to the website that I have tried a few times, called Buy & Download. Its exactly what it says, you purchase a game like you would, however instead of getting it delivered by post, you can download it straight onto you PC, which means it comes to you instantly. However, it is advised to have broadband capabilities for this service.
Always keep an eye out for deals within the sit, because they have so many throughout the year, you can buy games at 3rd the price off, or new games for less than its competitors. What I also like about this site is that it allows you to pre order any new games coming out, they will send you an email saying if you would like to pre order, and from their you can take the next step.
This was the only aspect of the company that use to annoy me, some time my order would take a few hours to process, and this isn't unusual, however, one time it took almost 3 days, which was the only bad experience I had with them. Ringing them up, first took me 12 minutes to get in touch with someone, with the stupid music playing in the background, when I finally got onto someone, they seemed to be rued and didn't want anything to do with me, this was the worst experience I had, however im glad to say nothing has happened since.
Like most online website, Game uses a sophisticated security setting that means all the details stay safe and in the right hands, I have even a few times got phone calls just to confirm I am purchasing the product.
Navigation and Site:
For me the site is easy to navigate, the site and game categories are broken down into different sub sections that make the job of finding a game much easier. The site also has a search toolbar at the top of the page, which you can type the name and the list of related links will appear. The site is nicely laid out, with appropriate use of graphics, it wouldn't make sense selling a game without any pictures, and so they've done something right. The site is predominantly coloured with the Pinkish Purple, which is the companies colour logo.
I would recommend this site, because I have had such a pleasant experience with them, however people have different experiences and I understand that. For me, they had great prices, a great company website that way easy to use, and a fast and effective delivery service. The company also offers a loyalty card programme that charges about £3 for a lifetime, with this you can collect points on products you purchase, and these points build up like tesco points, money off next purchases etc.
The company doesn't just offer games, have a look it's more than one might think. Enjoy.