An old-timer perspective

I wonder how those who have been in this industry for 20 / 30 years feel sometimes? I know in the last 8 years, the changes that we’ve seen have been immense ourselves.  More direct competition from retailers, more direct competition from publishers and distributors.

We’ve started seeing more and more publishers selling direct – whether on Kickstarter or via Amazon or their own online stores.  It’s pretty much a given that if a game goes through Kickstarter, it is not going to do that well for us.  Sure, we might sell a copy or two if we’re lucky but the vast majority of products that come through Kickstarter are dead-on-arrival.  (As an aside, the various Kickstarter publishers who spam us about their product and supporting their Kickstarter – you’re just annoying me).  Publishers who are on Kickstarter and seriously discount their product are just another competitor, sometimes the worst kind because where a retailer has a ‘floor’ in terms of the product cost (generally about 50% of the product price), a publisher’s floor is often significantly lower (about 80% of product price).  That means they can (and in some cases, have) sold product below the cost that we can acquire the game at.  No surprise that publishers who do that  are added to a list of publisher products that we will stock significantly less of.

Anyway, it’s just interesting to see how the industry has both grown significantly and how many new players have come on-board and how many have left.  New retailers pop-up every few months now it seems all across Canada, jumping on the giant cash bandwagon that they envision the industry is.  And there’s no doubt that the industry has grown. At the same time, other; older retailers have dropped out of contention – whether because they’ve never been able to make money (and have been eating losses for a while) or just that their margins have become so tight, it’s time to move on.

In addition, new formats for gaming have sprung up – gaming cafes and gaming bars are everywhere it seems. There’s no guarantee these guys will last, but a few seem to have become breakout successes like Mox Boarding House or Snakes & Lattes or the Stormcrow in Vancouver.

On top of that, we’ve now grown to a point where Youtube reviewers who are paid to do reviews are viable.  There’s our very own sponsored reviews of course, but there’s also others like Shut Up & Sit Down or Rahdo or the Dice Tower.  The options keep on increasing, and the quality and options seem to be expanding at a very decent rate.

Lastly, talking about communication – we’ve got even more avenues for getting information than ever.  There are a slew of gaming sites and reviews, though BGG continues to be the main website.

All these changes and more, all in 8 years. I wonder how others feel about it?