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Subject: Is Kickstarter the end of the "little game store"? rss

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Steve Finn
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I just exchanged an email with an independent game store owner who mentioned that Kickstarter is probably the "slow death" of independent game stores. As someone who has used Kickstarter to fund my 3 most recent games, I have to say the comment evoked a sadness within me, as I really don't intend to be participating in such a killing process--but it makes me wonder if I am. As an independent game designer, I had a very hard time publishing my own games before Kickstarter, so for me, it is a kind of savior. However, perhaps it does do damage to the brick and mortar shops by setting up direct sales.

In short, I'm a little confused about what to think and curious to know your thoughts.

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No.
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David Debien
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No. The internet is. This applies to brick and mortar in many ratail spaces. When was the last time you went to your local mall? Were there more boarded up shop fronts then active ones? That's what I see here in Austin and the economy here is booming. I can only imagine what it's like in other places.
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Tony Krahn
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I would think the more savvy independent game store owners would use kickstarter to get copies of games that aren't available at big box stores.
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Scott Johanson
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I personally don't think game stores were ever really a safe venture. Board game hobbyists aren't a big enough niche to sustain a lot of stores over the long term.

Kickstarter is allowing a lot of independent games get published, but where it kills stores is when established companies and publishers fund through it - that directly takes money out of dedicated stores. You could argue that the independently published games may never have been published without kickstarter...and were never part of a store's revenue stream. Large publishers and established companies going the kickstarter route does directly take those sales from physical stores to online.

But so does Amazon. It's not all Kickstarter's fault.
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Pete Goch
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Kickstarter is probably the least of a small, independent game store's problems. Most games of note are still published and distributed through traditional means. Not that many kickstarter games have had much life past the kickstarter - at least as compared to higher profile traditionally published games.

Amazon and other online retailers (CSI, MM, etal) are a much more direct and palpable threat to the brick and mortar game store.
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Zeb Larson
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No. Amazon and online retail is much more likely to be the end of the physical game shop. But I suspect that gamers will always want to have a community space to organize in, and the store will find its niche there.

Kickstarter is being used to sell games which in many cases may not be printed otherwise, so I'm not entirely sure how that would take away business from a game store.
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Michael Carter
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I don't think Kickstarter will ever reach broad acceptance.
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Eric Johnson
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No, not completely. The Internet can actually save the little game store if they are smart and sell online themselves. My favorite neighborhood game store is Funagain games. They have an excellent online store and use their retail location as their warehouse. A small store can also sell on Ebay, Amazon, and BGG to stay afloat.

The small stores that just want to sell games locally are probably going to have a hard time. Digital games are going to encroach on their profits as well.
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Lacombe
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No, the Internet wasn't and this won't be either.
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river tam
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twispby wrote:
I would think the more savvy independent game store owners would use kickstarter to get copies of games that aren't available at big box stores.


The majority of FLGS i go to do this. Several of the FLGS do a good job of getting hard to find essen releases.
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Paul DeStefano
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Will this be the last thread of people thinking kickstarter has an impact on game stores?
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Tim Misiora
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The key to success with any small business is the environment. If a staff goes out of their way to be friendly and helpful and to provide the best service they can then they in turn will have loyal customer. Like it was said before, small stores need a digital store front to sell their wares, in turn if those customers have a place to play the games they will buy and play at the same place. I go out of my way to buy things from certain stores because too many instances I've been ignored by apathetic or rude staff.
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Matthew Soares
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Much like everyone has stated, online retail would likely be the killer for game shops. I doubt kickstarter would truly be the killer of game stores when more often than not there are pledges for multiple copies. These are catered for game shops...
 
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Man thinks, the river flows.
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    P500 has been around for years. Kickstarter just has irrational exuberance attached to it right now.

    By the way, some KS products have retailer options where you buy six or more at a reduced price. If I was a retailer I'd be contacting KS designers offline to set up deals for the ones that don't.

             S.

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Aaron Morgan
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twispby wrote:
I would think the more savvy independent game store owners would use kickstarter to get copies of games that aren't available at big box stores.


My FLGS does.
 
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Stephen Eckman
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Maybe Kickstarter will help create a successful game company that will then establish a model to help the independent game stores. Oh wait, that happened:
http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/retail/
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Nathan Bentley
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drfinn wrote:
I just exchanged an email with an independent game store owner who mentioned that Kickstarter is probably the "slow death" of independent game stores. As someone who has used Kickstarter to fund my 3 most recent games, I have to say the comment evoked a sadness within me, as I really don't intend to be participating in such a killing process--but it makes me wonder if I am. As an independent game designer, I had a very hard time publishing my own games before Kickstarter, so for me, it is a kind of savior. However, perhaps it does do damage to the brick and mortar shops by setting up direct sales.

In short, I'm a little confused about what to think and curious to know your thoughts.



I feel like it's just the opposite, especially if used correctly.

Right now the biggest threat to brick and mortar stores are big online retailers, like Amazon. It's not a bad thing. I've seen it help knock an FLGS from grubby little hole-in-the-wall to actual welcoming store. Brick and Mortars need to focus on things that Amazon cannot provide. In-store demos, friendly, helpful staff, a better browsing experience, players to actually play the games with, things like that, because they simply will not be able to compete on price. They do have the edge on delivery speed though.

Where does kickstarter come in? Well, lets see where it disrupts the normal B&M store. It's not in the publishing, or printing. It only really comes in with distribution, and even then, not so much, as successful kickstarter games often end up on the shelves next to professionally published ones.

But kickstarter does also offer some opportunities. I know I've seen games on store shelves advertising "Kickstarter by Local Developers!" But imagine taking that further, maybe having a Kickstarter day every month where hopefuls could come to showcase their projects. Or the game store could get proactive, contact the developers directly to see about a showcase, or work out some sort of deal to cross-promote. Never in history has there been an opportunity to forge such a close Store/Developer bond.
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Michael Carter
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Sagrilarus wrote:
    P500 has been around for years. Kickstarter just has irrational exuberance attached to it right now.

    By the way, some KS products have retailer options where you buy six or more at a reduced price. If I was a retailer I'd be contacting KS designers offline to set up deals for the ones that don't.

             S.



I'm not sure I would really bother unless it's a game that has an unusual amount of hype around it. Kickstarter games don't seem to stick around for very long and I wouldn't want to be stuck with a bunch if I was a retailer. Plus, it seems like most of the larger projects enter the retail space within a month or two of the backers getting the games.
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Rick Weckermann
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It could be if more games Co. like Queen Games start selling lots of games on kickstarter
 
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Graham Muller
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I would also think that Kickstarter provides much great material to advertise the games. As the designers are encouraged to build visual, and video aids.

Retailers have a great opportunity to use these materials to people browsing.
 
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James Wahl
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The Kickstarter experience is too bad to replace game stores: You pay, and sometime within the next 2 years you'll receive your game a week before everyone else gets it for the same price you paid, and 6 months before everyone can get it for half the price you paid.

What kills game stores (and bookstores, and computer stores, and appliance stores, etc.) is that Amazon (mostly) doesn't have to charge tax because INTERNET(?!), and also doesn't have to worry about profit margins because the investor cash will still pour in on the expectation that Amazon will one day be the only store left (because no tax because internet(?!)) and free to charge whatever it wants.

All brick and mortar stores are suffering because of what the government is doing for Amazon.
 
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Tony Go
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I've talked to "little game stores" who really weren't interested in carrying the games I've made.

Amazon charges taxes int he state I currently reside (Arizona). Amazon has low prices because of volume and optimized shipping logistics. But you should also know that they basically operate at a massive loss in merchandise sales.
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CHAPEL
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Did Kickstarter start selling Magic the Gathering?
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Man thinks, the river flows.
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pharmakon wrote:
The Kickstarter experience is too bad to replace game stores: You pay, and sometime within the next 2 years you'll receive your game a week before everyone else gets it for the same price you paid, and 6 months before everyone can get it for half the price you paid.


    At some point someone is going to raise the ante on KS and offer the entire game as a KS exclusive product. Given that people seem to order from Kickstarter based on less information than you used to be able to find in a catalog in 1975 I think that KS will do just fine.

    That kind of exclusivity really puts all the control in the hands of the designer. You can decide for yourself if that's a good thing or not.

             S.

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