Friday, November 9, 2012

The real reason gaming and RPG Retailers fail…

Yesterday Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games put this post up in his blog and from there they has been a FIRESTORM of comments from people on the topic of kickstarter and what it is in reference to the  retailer, what is kickstarter's responsibility is in the gaming market, loyalty to the retailer distributor model and so on. If you go to Gary’s facebook page, I commented in the thread about it.  Bur here is the comments that kind of changed it all for me:

Louis Porter Jr:  OK I have to ask as a Kickstarter publisher: Since you say "my" (I am talking in small publisher terms here) product will not sell in our store so you don't order it. But some of your customers seem to want to pick it up and fund my kickstarter. Better yet, I offer retailers a way to pick up my kickstarter project so you can have exclusive item at our location over your competition. But still you think I am "stealing" customers? I am confused...

Jim Crocker: Louis, I think it's reasonable to say you're 'stealing' the front-end excitement and heat that otherwise comes from a new product release in our stores. I am a little (a lot?) more forgiving than Gary on the long-tail value of KS product, but it's definitely not a 'win-win' for retailers. It's a compromise with the new model. (And by 'you'. I mean any publisher who uses KS as an end-run around the channel but expects their stuff to be carried there post-KS, not just you personally!)

Gareth Skarka: Now, now, Louis. Don't expect logic.

Louis Porter Jr: But here is the issue, we don't have to give you all the option as kickstarter. We could just leave you out completely AND just "take" your customers leaving you in the cold. But we are NOT doing that. We are being inclusive, and for some reason you are getting mad at us? I am sorry, WHAT?

Dusty Deal: Louis, you may be being inclusive, but the majority of Kickstarter projects I've seen lately have not been retailer friendly.

Gary Ray: I've never really carried your products so the point is moot. They haven't even been offered to me through standard channels. What we now see are many, if not most, small publishers who we used to be able to support, no longer work for us, and new ones, no longer rewarding us for taking chances on them.

Gareth Skarka: " I've never really carried your products so the point is moot. " And yet they wonder why retailers are being "cut out." Incredible.

Dusty Deal is the owner of MythPlaced TreasuresSince she is near Denver, I am going to have JP go over there and run some NeoExodus Legacies games to help build a customer base of those who might be interested in NeoExodus. Jim Crocker is the owner and operator of Modern Myths, Inc.

And with this I realized what the retailers want: They want to make ALL the money, they want to take no risk, the want to complain when they can’t get a product and they want to tell you it will not sell in their stores. 

I am sorry, but no.  Gary, I think you are a smart business man and understand your business well, but I hate to break it to you on this one, you are on the wrong side of history.

Kickstarter is the disruptive technology that retail AND distributors fear. It completely removes them from the Manufacture > Distributor > Retailer > Customer system.   With kickstarter is just Manufacture to Customer and best of all, you can raise more money than you asked for and have an actual profit on a products.  I used to support the distributor & retailer model because that is the way it was done. But now as a publisher I have MORE options: online digital sales, Print on Demand services and crowdsource funding to name a few.  Any retailer who thinks and acts like Gary, I am sorry but the future is going to get tougher and tougher for you.  I am sorry you see this as a point of conflict instead of a place for innovation, since this is going to be a LONG and painful road for you if crowdfunding continues to explode in success, like everyone suggests it is going to. Talk to you later…