Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Upper Deck Apology

Ass pain award winner Upper Deck apologized for releasing the latest Yu-Gi-Oh premium packs to the mass market before the hobby trade. Unfortunately, many retailers who do well with their products (not us) are stuck with unsold boxes of the boosters.

As discussed before, CCG customers are mercenary, and they'll buy product from whoever has it first or at the lowest price (or both). At our store we have weekly Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, requiring customers to buy one pack to play. They almost all buy exactly one pack, the bulk of our weekly Yu-Gi-Oh sales. These aren't seven year olds; these are guys who drove themselves to the store.

The game industry trend with street dates now is to break them by giving product early to the mass market, then apologize, then break the date again. It sounds cynical, but it's almost a mark of pride that a company can do this and get attention. Cross Target or Wal-Mart and you're out a lucrative deal. Cross the hobby trade and you just piss people off who will sell your product anyway, as long as it makes them money.

That animosity is mostly invisible as long as that product sells itself. Where it undermines the company is when the demand for the product softens and the company would like the retailer to strengthen the brand. Organized play, game demos, product placement, the retailer honoring street dates etc., are not important for a game that sells itself, but watch what happens as the brand softens. It takes years to re-build and most companies are gone before they get the chance.


  1. Tell it Brother Gary!

  2. In situations like this it's very easy to tell if a company is seriously sorry or not: are they offering to buy back unsold stock from the hobby trade?

    If they're not willing to put their money where their mouth is then it's just empty words.