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Asmodee» Forums » General

Subject: OLGS confirms Asmodee price-fixing rss

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Michael Williams
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For whatever it's worth, an OLGS confirmed to me via email that Asmodee is fixing prices:

Quote:
Thanks for ordering with us. We strive to offer the best prices we can on all the items that we stock. Unfortunately due to the policy put in place by Asmodee of North America this is going to be the best price we are able to offer at this time. We appreciate your business and look forward to any future orders you may place.


Maybe this is great for the publishers, the game stores, and the hobby. I guess we'll find out!
 
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Yes, this was introduced April 1st of this year and has already been the topic of many heated threads and posts.

I just go to my FLGS now for their products instead of purchasing online, but I realize not everyone has a FLGS near them.
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JH
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This is not what price fixing is.

Price fixing is when COMPETITORS collude on pricing so as to not undersell EACH OTHER.

Vendors are free to set their wholesale rates; in FFG's case, the rate at which they sell to OLGS is now higher than the rate for brick and mortar stores. In turn, retailers are free to order FFG's products to resell, or not. Some retailers (like big-box stores) may negotiate different rates, purchasing a higher volume at a lower per-unit cost. There's nothing unusual about any of this.
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Arthur Peterson
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This is not price fixing. This is good business sense.
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James
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I fear that unless the price for this game is lowered to a realistic level, the game will not sell very much. There are many great games on the market that are much cheaper, and yes they include miniatures. They use to blame the price of oil for the cost of producing miniatures, but that can't be the reason any longer.Perhaps FFG should have created a MOM computer game instead, it would have been cheaper.
In Canada, every retail store is selling the game at the same high price.
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Arthur Peterson
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It's the 3rd best seller at CoolStuffInc right now. Just saying...
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Duncan Idaho
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zpeteman wrote:
This is not price fixing. This is good business sense.


Until it costs you customers.
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Duncan Idaho
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intently wrote:
For whatever it's worth, an OLGS confirmed to me via email that Asmodee is fixing prices:

Quote:
Thanks for ordering with us. We strive to offer the best prices we can on all the items that we stock. Unfortunately due to the policy put in place by Asmodee of North America this is going to be the best price we are able to offer at this time. We appreciate your business and look forward to any future orders you may place.


Maybe this is great for the publishers, the game stores, and the hobby. I guess we'll find out!


There's a VC firm that bought out Asmodee, and has been slowly acquiring the entire hobby board game market. I believe, at the most recent count, they own companies that produce ~50% of the top 250 games, as ranked by BGG. This includes DoW, Plaid Hat, FFG, Asmodee, and many more.

They're going to ride the tide up, and then sell it in a couple years. It's going to be bad for the hobby, overall. Or, at the very least, lead to a huge crash in a few years.
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Eric Christensen
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zpeteman wrote:
It's the 3rd best seller at CoolStuffInc right now. Just saying...


It'd be higher if not for the price increase. I know they'd have my money, but they won't under these terms.
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grahamj wrote:
In Canada, every retail store is selling the game at the same high price.

I'm picking my copy up later this afternoon in store. On the phone, they told me it is cheaper than their online price of $115. I'm expecting around $99.95 CAD. I'll let you know the exact price.
 
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Enon Sci
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Idaho11 wrote:
zpeteman wrote:
This is not price fixing. This is good business sense.


Until it costs you customers.


Right, but perhaps we're looking at this backwards. FFG could be doing this to (in part) help brick and mortar stores. One can say the old system was costing them customers, if you consider the retail outlets their core customer base.

 
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Fed Aykin

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Anyone know what the USA price is for local stores?
 
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JH
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$99.95 I think. In line with other recent heavy releases.

It was really nice to ride the low-price gravy train for 8 years (I started buying board games in 2008). But 33% first-day discounts across the board never seemed super sustainable to me, honestly.
Idaho11 wrote:
They're going to ride the tide up, and then sell it in a couple years. It's going to be bad for the hobby, overall. Or, at the very least, lead to a huge crash in a few years.

Could happen, but it depends on who they sell it to and what the buyer does with it all.
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Michael Williams
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
This is not what price fixing is.

Price fixing is when COMPETITORS collude on pricing so as to not undersell EACH OTHER.

Vendors are free to set their wholesale rates; in FFG's case, the rate at which they sell to OLGS is now higher than the rate for brick and mortar stores. In turn, retailers are free to order FFG's products to resell, or not. Some retailers (like big-box stores) may negotiate different rates, purchasing a higher volume at a lower per-unit cost. There's nothing unusual about any of this.


Let's argue semantics! Of course this is price fixing:

Quote:
Price fixing is an agreement between participants on the same side in a market to buy or sell a product, service, or commodity only at a fixed price, or maintain the market conditions such that the price is maintained at a given level by controlling supply and demand.


Asmodee and retailers are colluding via contract vehicles to control the prices of the games.

zpeteman wrote:
This is not price fixing. This is good business sense.


Price-fixing is always "good business sense" for those who benefit from squashing competition :) It's also illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act, but is hardly ever enforced.
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Arthur Peterson
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Price fixing requires collusion. I refer you to your own definition. This is not price fixing any any way shape or form. This is a company selling its product to retailer for a discount that you do not like. End of story.
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JH
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Argue semantics better if you're going to argue them. FFG is not on the "same side" of the market as the retailers it sells to. Your own quote proves you wrong.

Not price fixing: FFG sells games to Wal-Mart and Target at one rate and to Amazon at another. They set whatever retail price they want.

Price fixing: Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon all agree to sell FFG products at a 10% discount off MSRP. The key point here is that the PRICE, see, is FIXED. No one is selling for more and no one is selling for less.
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trevor

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I agree this is NOT price fixing, retailers are NOT on the same side of the market as a publisher

it goes.....

Publisher ---> retailer ----> customer



If all Publisher got together or all retailers then your definition would hold water
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Logus Vile wrote:
grahamj wrote:
In Canada, every retail store is selling the game at the same high price.

I'm picking my copy up later this afternoon in store. On the phone, they told me it is cheaper than their online price of $115. I'm expecting around $99.95 CAD. I'll let you know the exact price.

Picked it up in store for $92.95 CAD + tax.
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Richard A. Edwards
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bigGameGeek wrote:
I agree this is NOT price fixing, retailers are NOT on the same side of the market as a publisher

it goes.....

Publisher ---> retailer ----> customer

No. It goes Publisher, Distributor, Retailer, Customer.

Asmodee's contracts are with their distributors that aren't allowed to distribute their games unless they only sell to approved online stores at a higher cost than they sell to brick and mortar stores.

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Arthur Peterson
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To be fair, Asmodee/FFG also distributes directly to retailers (pub->retailer->customer). I used to be one (a retailer, that is).
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Richard A. Edwards
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zpeteman wrote:
To be fair, Asmodee/FFG also distributes directly to retailers (pub->retailer->customer). I used to be one (a retailer, that is).

Yes, you're correct, though I think most retailers go through distributors.
And in the case of direct to retailer sales, I think they charge direct sales to approved online store more than they do brick and mortar stores.

 
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Matt Brown
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I wouldn't call it price fixing. It's just a sales scheme to drive more revenue by raising wholesale prices to online retailers. Asmodee knows that raising MSRP across the board would cause even more backlash (although, MoM is evidence they are going about this a different way by releasing new editions of older products and selling them at a higher price point). Although they wrap it up in the guise of "helping local game stores" their actions prove that this is just cover for what is really a round about way to raise prices. If they really wanted to push customers to local retailers, they could have just said they will cease sales to online retailers altogether just like GW did back in the early 2000s. But then of course this would have caused serious hurdles to their ultimate goal which is to get their games into large retailers like Target and Amazon so that they have the same potential customer reach as mass market games such as the junk Hasbro pumps out. And of course these large retailers would love it if their competiton was diminished or eliminated altogether. That competition being the hobby game store. From the recent actions and comments from Asmodee, it is clear that they are willing to work with these large retailers at the expense of the hobby game stores. Don't be surprised if in the near future Asmodee continues to ratchet up wholesale prices for both FLGSs and OLGSs (excluding Amazon) to the point that none of them can afford to offer any discounts to their customers. And since they are rapidly acquiring an even larger piece of the industry, one big chunk at a time, it won't be long before they will be in a position where the majority of an FLGSs products will be coming from just a handful of Asmodee authorized distributors. The chilling effect from this domination of the hobby is just starting to rear its ugly head.

The thing is, Asmodee is trying to position itself as the next Hasbro. Just look at a slide from their own financial releases on what they consider to be their competition:



Now, when you look at the investment firm that is the primary owner of Asmodee, Eurazeo (79.4% ownership with 4 out of 7 seats on the board) things get even more interesting. It's clear from their investment portfolio and history that Eurazeo has little interest in the board game hobby beyond extracting as much profits from it as possible by building up Asmodee as much as it can and then selling It off to the highest bidder. Their mission statement even speaks to this:

"Purpose:
The purpose of Eurazeo is to identify, accelerate and enhance the transformation potential of the companies in which it invests, even long after its exit. An active and committed shareholder, Eurazeo assists its holdings in the long term – 5 to 7 years – with control over exit timing. An extensive role enabling it to combine business development and corporate social responsibility."
(Emphasis added)

Exit = sell.

So the long term play here is to grab as much of the hobby as possible, raise the prices as high as they can to generate as much revenue as possible to bolster the value of Asmodee and then sell it off to the company willing to pay the most for it. Which in this case is most likely Hasbro.

I don't know about you, but as a long time fan of this hobby, this all leaves me feeling more than just a little bit concerned and queasy.

(Eurazeo Asmodee info: https://www.eurazeo.com/en/societe/asmodee/)
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Krzysiek Domański
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otakuon wrote:
(...) So the long term play here is to grab as much of the hobby as possible, raise the prices as high as they can to generate as much revenue as possible to bolster the value of Asmodee and then sell it off to the company willing to pay the most for it. Which in this case is most likely Hasbro.

I don't know about you, but as a long time fan of this hobby, this all leaves me feeling more than just a little bit concerned and queasy.
I am very concerned about this.
In the past I was a big fan of Wizards of the Coast. At some point they were acquired by Hasbro, and basically everything I liked in Wizards games was mutilated in a short period of time.
Years later the situation improved but I don't think it reached pre-Hasbro era.

The world we live in is getting closer each day to what can be seen in the Android franchise. The corporations will merge and merge, until just few biggest players remain.
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Matthew M
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Moved from game forum to Admodee forums
 
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J Aahz
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What game were they talking about before it got moved? MoM maybe? I don't know what that is.
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