The Wheaton Effect

FYI – A new chart with updated statistics has now been added

As many of you know, Wil Wheaton has a Youtube channel dedicated to board gaming called Tabletop. It’s been phenomenally successful – his Small World video has garnered over half a million views. Our review has generated just over 2,000.

With such a spotlight on the game, it’s had a knock-on effect on sales (mostly). Here’s a little chart to show the ‘mostly’ for us.

As you can see, I added a few weeks of pre-Tabletop / Wheaton to all the sales figure to give an idea.  You can see there’s a lot of variation on a week to week basis for bestsellers like Settlers of Catan, so the 0 sales on release date means very little.  Yet, there’s no real change in demand there; unlike the other 3 games showcased.

My guess? Settlers is such a popular, mainstream game that is easy to find; it’s no wonder that we don’t see a change in sales.  Customers don’t need to come to a game shop to find it – Chapters, Amazon, B&N all have the game in-stock.  The other 3 though are harder to find; and thus we receive the ‘knock-on’ effect from the publicity.

Overall, the sales of these games have certainly increased.  The danger for game store owners is correctly guessing the amount of sales we’d garner; and making sure we don’t overstock when the demand dies.  If that happens, especially for really slow-sellers like Tsuro, we’d be caught with ‘dead’ stock once again.

I’ll update this chart in a few months once the current season of Tabletop is over to get a better idea of the Wheaton Effect on sales of board games in Canada.


7 thoughts on “The Wheaton Effect”

  1. The other day I was wondering if BGG “played” stats would have a “Wheaton Effect,” then I log into BGG today and see that you have an alternative way of measuring it, pretty cool!
    This covered this on BGG news this morning. A comment I posted on that column:

    “What’s up with the Settlers spike PRE-release, that parallels the Small World spike? Could there have been something else affecting store sales? (University spring breaks?) This graph is missing a “control,” like number of non-Tabletop games sold per week or something.

    That said this is a fun analysis of the Wheaton Effect.

    1. Replied on BGG too. But basically, sales overall didn’t spike that week. Nor do I see Settlers having a ‘spike’ so much as it’s usual variance. On the other hand, you can see the huge variance in Small World easily.

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