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Behind the Counter

The Weather Changes...

by Marcus King
Nov 11,2003


The Weather Changes...

By: Marcus King, owner of

That was a phrase that allowed me to stick it out in the Army for 12 years, serving my country, when I really didn't enjoy my job. I guess a lot of veterans may feel like I do, that they are proud to have served their country, but didn't necessarily enjoy their time in the service. I wasn't an athelete, so being in the Infantry was a difficult job for me, running 3 to 5 miles five days a week was the worst for me, as I was never really a good runner, and after breaking my ankles, and my knee, it was even worse. But, I did pretty good at it because I knew one thing: The weather would change.

And, like the weather, having a commander I didn't like wouldn't last forever, one of us would be reassigned eventually (like a change in the weather).

This weekend I was at PentaCon in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Nice convention, lots of gamers, and they run it really, really well. A GREAT staff! Being a big old gaming geek that I am, I walked the 40+ vendors in the room, and shopped at several. I actually brought more games HOME than I took with me to sell. Eh, what'cha' going to do when the price is right, the price is right. :)

I even managed to trade for an ORIGINS Knit Cap (shaving my head in Michigan this time of year means I really NEED a knit cap!).

Buying up some of those oop games, and overstock deals, I realized that, in this industry, the weather changes too.

I bought up several hundred sets of dice with "The Armory" on the blister-carded packaging. The Armory, of course merged with Chessex Distributors, and became "Alliance Games Distributors" a few years ago. I also got several dozen puzzels by Iron Crown Enterprises (or ICE) which also went out of business a few years ago, and has since been resurected.

It seems to me that the weather will again be changing in the "Game Industry" in 2004, and I think it will change a LOT. I personally think a LOT of D20 companies are going to either have to adapt, change tactics, publish other products, or find themselves out of the loop, and possibly out of business.

Buying up products at a couple booths, I came home with about 1100 pounds of D20 Stuff this weekend, most bought at 92-98% off MSRP. That kind of "flood" of products at huge discounts cannot be sustained indeffinately, and when it shakes out, there will be companies who have found themselves outside the industry.

I guess the same can be said of retailers, too. We buy up the inventory of failed retailers all the time. 7 this year so far, which is far less than last year (we bought up all or part of 23 shops last year). I think we will see some shakedown in retailers this year, too. Retailers who have been hanging on due to a few strong products (Yugioh and Magic and Clicky stuff) may find that Yugioh slows down, as may a couple other products, and that drop in profitablility will make the difference between hanging on, and giving up. A lot of shops that hung on due to Pokemon, went belly up when it crashed.

Is this all Doom and Gloom?

No, far from it, actually. Some failed retailers will be replaced by better ones, and some will adapt and grow due to the changes. Some publishers being pushed out of the D20 marketplace will (I Hope) come up with the next big thing, some may merge with others. Some may do something totally unexpected, and surprise everyone.

One thing is for certain: The weather, and the game industry, will change.

We, for one, hope to change with it, and not because of it.

Marcus King
637 Capital Ave SW
Battle Creek, MI 49015

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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