Friday, August 1, 2008

A Tale of Two Releases

One publicly traded company just released the latest version of their top game. They've re-aligned themselves to focus on independent retailers and just spent a small fortune on building a slick and powerful new website. They deny the use of any of their intellectual property to online discounters and provide hundreds of dollars of free product to customers who play their game in stores.

The other publicly traded company also just released a new version of their top game. They sell indiscriminately to anyone who can prove they at least have a storefront (although Amazon is somehow exempt). This makes them money but drives down the price of their products to near cost. They attempted to release digital tools when their new product was released, but so far the project has been delayed. They've pulled back their licensing to deny the ability of third-party companies to do things they might not be so good at, such as those digital tools. They just shut down their social networking site, an ill advised project to begin with. Their prize support is comprised of a monthly stipend of a set number of playing cards, regardless of how many people are playing their game, while support for their other games comes with a price tag. Getting hold of anyone there to answer questions is impossible and it can take many months for them to just change your address.

We're special stores for both companies (premier and partner, they call their programs). Sales for the first game, Warhammer 40K, by Games Workshop are very strong, supported by a release tournament with hundreds of dollars in prizes, while sales of Dungeons & Dragons, by Wizards of the Coast, lag far behind expectations, partially because of weak and late company support along with the product being sold online for up to 45% off, like a box of Magic cards. The bottom line is that we are a value-add to miniature gamers, and just another place to buy books for D&D players. Each of the companies that sell their product to us seem to understand this, and treat us accordingly. As we plan our company strategy, we will also plan accordingly.


  1. It was the best of companies, it was the worst of companies...

  2. What was their social networking site?

  3. Exactly.

    It was called Gleemax and it was a WTF moment when they announced it.

    This week they posted this:

    Gleemax Farewell
    Posted By: randyb, 7/28/2008 10:38:56 AM

    Wizards of the Coast has made the decision to pull down its Gleemax social networking site in order to focus on other aspects of our digital initiatives, especially Magic Online and Dungeons & Dragons Insider. We continue to believe that fostering online community is an important part of taking care of our customers, but until we have our games up and running at a quality level we can be proud of, it will be the games themselves that receive the lion’s share of our attention and resources.