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Mechs vs. Minions» Forums » General

Subject: How can they keep the price so low? rss

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Simon Lindén
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I'm just curious about the price point. I'm getting it for 80€, shipping included. This seems quite low compared to other games with similar components (plus, in the US it's even cheaper). Apparently they are printing 30 000 copies for the first print run. I can understand that smaller companies that only print games by a few thousands can't offer the same price, but what about for example FFG? Does any one know how many copies they print for games like Imperial Assault and Rebellion etc. I'm just curious to understand the market.
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Stephan Rothschuh
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1) Riot Games's yearly revenue is roughly that of the entire boardgame industry.

2) They are selling the game direct, not through retail.

If a regular board game retails for 80 bucks, the publisher sells it to the distributor for about 35.

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f h
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I also suspect they are not making much profit on this, which they can afford to do since it is not their main business/revenue stream.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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Part of the reason is they are handling all distribution of the game. Riot Games staff have mentioned the game would be much more expensive if they were using typical distribution channels.

I don't think this is a route open to other companies either, Riot Games can probably only maintain this distribution method as they already have the infrastructure due to the massive popularity of LoL.

Edit: So, essentially what the others said while I typed this
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Chris Cantrell
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Sure, we've kept our prices low by selling direct to players. As the last 72 hours will attest, going direct isn't really the easiest way to go. But it was also the only way I could up with to get you the game at a quality we'd be proud of and at a cost you could afford.

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Freelance Police
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Celtic Joker wrote:
If a regular board game retails for 80 bucks, the publisher sells it to the distributor for about 35.


Another question is whether or not Riot could have gotten a distributor for the game at this quality in the first place. No, don't laugh. Distributors won't even talk to you unless you give them at least a 40% discount. (A friend of mine who sells out of his KickStarted Golden Skies RPG sells out a conventions yet still cannot get a distributor.) This means we're talking MvM selling for $125+ retail. Sure, the components are great, but what casual games have sold for $125+ from a company new to the boardgame hobby??? FFG sells $100 boardgames, but they certainly haven't raised the MSRP higher -- and they have an established customer base. (The Dark Souls KS raised 4.5M with 30K backers. Okay, name *another* videogame IP that did that.) Maybe Riot Games could have sold retail by scaling back the components. Y'know, like how Wiz Kids is doing for their TMNT line by selling you a base game with mostly cardboard punch-out tokens and a paper mat, and you having to collect the miniatures at $3+ per blind bag pop.

So just because you have a game doesn't mean a distributor is obligated to carry it. Distributors have so many games to choose from, they will only "cherry pick" games *they* think will sell. Anyone here familiar with HeroClix? Well, guess what game line distributors first passed on and said wouldn't sell?

This, btw, is why crowdfunding has taken off so dramatically in the last few years. For various reasons, creators have turned to crowdfunding, which also cuts out the distributor, for their projects. Riot Games is in a unique position that it already had the initial funds to publish the game, so didn't need the all the headaches, drama, and hassles of a crowdfunding project. (Their servers received all the headaches, drama, and hassles of customer demand, oops.) They're still shipping, btw, directly to customers, like crowdfunded projects do.

This video is by Reaper Miniaures, one of the largest and first retail companies to use KickStarter. You may not be familiar with them, but their president's opinion about the retailer-distributor model applies to the boardgame industry as well. (And he's an accountant, which explains why Reaper's been in business for over two decades!)


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Bruno D
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Riot Kades wrote:
Sure, we've kept our prices low by selling direct to players. As the last 72 hours will attest, going direct isn't really the easiest way to go. But it was also the only way I could up with to get you the game at a quality we'd be proud of and at a cost you could afford.



Well, with regards to the website problems, yes, that was not a good experience, but not a huge deal all considered. I understand that the delays and issues ordering the game were solved within a few hours, no?

Furthermore, it is not even clear if these were truly load issues or simply a setup/configuration problem that got exposed because of the higher than usual peak volume.

In the end, I wouldn't see these specific issues affecting your continued ability to sell direct.

Problems and all, I have been extremely impressed with everything you've done with MvM, including how you handled this "website crisis", the communication, etc. You guys rock !

PS: on a side note, MvM is giving me an opportunity to talk LoL with my two teenager sons, and through them, learn more about Riot and their commitment and priority to do right by players. It definitely looks like you guys have a great culture and business values over there!
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Kenny Johnson
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I've heard them mention it in interviews. It's mostly that they can sell direct to their customers.

If they sold through a distributor to retail, then the distributor has to mark up the price to make their profit, then the retailer has to mark up the price to make their profit.

Riot had the luxury of already having a online store.
 
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Simon Lindén
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Celtic Joker wrote:

2) They are selling the game direct, not through retail.

If a regular board game retails for 80 bucks, the publisher sells it to the distributor for about 35.

Thanks for your reply (and everyone else for theirs). This was the crucial factor I didn't think of. Now that you mentioned it it seems pretty obvious though
 
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kalvin connor
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This is the main reason I question the practices of other companies selling directly (Plaid hat, Strong hold, exex) and at MSRP.

EVEN WORSE is companies like CMoN (too long to type out the new name, even though this took even longer to type). They crowd source their games, distribute those copies themselves, then its yet cheaper at retail. The KS exclusive are not worth it but hey, easy money
 
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Kolenka
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sircaradoc wrote:
This is the main reason I question the practices of other companies selling directly (Plaid hat, Strong hold, exex) and at MSRP.


Except, if they were to sell cheaper, they also undermine the game stores carrying their stuff that needs the extra margin. While they do also benefit from direct sales in the process, the bigger concern is very likely keeping the retailers happy so you can find their stuff at local stores than it is trying to pull in the entire margin themselves.

Would you carry something in store if the manufacturer also sells direct at a discount you had 0% chance of being able to meet without taking losses?
 
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Dean Love
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sircaradoc wrote:
This is the main reason I question the practices of other companies selling directly (Plaid hat, Strong hold, exex) and at MSRP.

EVEN WORSE is companies like CMoN (too long to type out the new name, even though this took even longer to type). They crowd source their games, distribute those copies themselves, then its yet cheaper at retail. The KS exclusive are not worth it but hey, easy money


That money is essentially used to subsidise the retail version though. It's partly why CMON games have such good value even at retail - they can take a lower margin on retail sales because there's a much, much higher margin on Kickstarter copies.

I wouldn't be surprised if the KS goals were set up so that the income from that covers all the fixed costs (design, testing, artwork, sculpting) and so retail copies only have to pay for material costs + profit margin).
 
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Perry Clayton
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Riot Kades wrote:
Sure, we've kept our prices low by selling direct to players. As the last 72 hours will attest, going direct isn't really the easiest way to go. But it was also the only way I could up with to get you the game at a quality we'd be proud of and at a cost you could afford.



I hope you continue to use this approach, order difficulties notwithstanding. For one thing, I expect that you'll be more prepared for the next wave (there is gonna be another wave right?). For another, the professionalism you've shown around these parts speaks for itself. Finally it's obvious that this project has been put together by those who love what it is. It's clearly not just a money grab (not that there's anything wrong with an honest profit.)

I look forward to seeing more board games from you guys. (There are gonna be more board games from you guys, right?)

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kalvin connor
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Kolenka wrote:
sircaradoc wrote:
This is the main reason I question the practices of other companies selling directly (Plaid hat, Strong hold, exex) and at MSRP.


Except, if they were to sell cheaper, they also undermine the game stores carrying their stuff that needs the extra margin. While they do also benefit from direct sales in the process, the bigger concern is very likely keeping the retailers happy so you can find their stuff at local stores than it is trying to pull in the entire margin themselves.

Would you carry something in store if the manufacturer also sells direct at a discount you had 0% chance of being able to meet without taking losses?


Plenty of reasons. Have you bought a book at barnes and nobles lately? their very own website sells books at a cheaper cost than their own stores! This is because the stores know that people want things (NOW). A game store usually also has a place to play the games. These are all justifications to why you would pay more than online or via publisher.

In fact, you can get many goods cheaper online. By your theory, there would be no game stores as you can buy every thing cheaper online.
 
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