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Subject: Alien Frontiers not available from online discount retailers rss

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Jerome Loisel
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Hi everyone!

I live in Canada, and my favorite online retailer is called Meeplemart. I have wanted to buy Alien Frontiers for a while, them, but Meeplemart only sells that product in-store: it does not ship it. As far as I know, AF is the only product Meeplemart does not ship, so I asked Meeplemart why, and they told me Game Salute does not allow it. I think it has something to do with their own online store being undercut.

I do not see the logic in this. Either you aim for very high margins or you aim for very high volume. The traditional logic is that you aim for high margins if you have a niche product, but volume is better in the long run if your product has broad enough appeal. Alien Frontiers has gotten a ton of buzz and is said to have very broad appeal, yet they're actively limiting their growth through volume. This makes no sense to me. And I know I am not the owner of the company, but it is annoying for me as someone who would like to buy AF but can't.

Anyway, I decided to write to Game Salute about this. My message was essentially what I just said, and what he wrote back is, yes, very non-committal, but I was happy to hear back anyway. (I did not really expect to.) I will update this thread if the situation ever changes. Hopefully it will.

Quote:
Dan Yarrington wrote:
Thanks for the feedback, Jerome. We are looking at ways to make our Select Stores Exclusives titles available more affordably in Canada.

Quote:
Jerome Loisel wrote:
Hello! I would love to buy your game. Love. I wanted to buy it last year, too. Sadly, I buy all of my games online from a store called Meeplemart Canada that then ships to my house, and you do not allow Meeplemart to sell your game and then ship it. Your game is the only one I have ever seen in that situation. I have never seen a company ask my retailer not to sell me their game. Would Fantasy Flight ever do this? No. They'll take volume any day. With the attention you've been getting, you could have insane volume! But you are limiting it.

I am sure you have had this discussion before internally, but maybe it is time to revisit the issue? People who initially bought your game were prepared to pay a premium. And people who buy discount still do not have your game. Maybe it is time to expand your client base? Anyway, if you change your mind before boxing day, please tell Meeplemart Canada, because that is when I will be doing my shopping spree. Yes, I am so thrifty that not only do I buy from an online store, but I also save up months in advance for its boxing day sale. Please let me buy your game.
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Jeff Kayati
United States
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Sadly, it seems that the Game Salute model is failing. There are some nice games under that "brand", but they're not hitting distribution in large enough numbers. You just don't see many people playing these games.

Part of it is the extreme limitation on distribution, but think part is also poor service. I've got a local store that wants to carry these games, but can't get good, reliable information of Game Salute. As a result, what they carry is hit and miss with no reliable availability.
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Laszlo Stadler
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I understand and also accept that they do not want stores to sell it cheaper than official retail price. There's no problem with that.

But why not let online stores sell it at retail price? That doesn't make sense.
 
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Robert Cannon
United States
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Mayfair and someone else tried to keep the online prices high a few years ago. They stopped doing that, so I assume it didn't work. Game Salute will either figure that our, or they will perish.
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Tom McDonald
United States
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Hmmm, I've thought AF had been rereleased, and I wondered why I couldn't find it anywhere. But if this thread is accurate, it will be off my Christmas list anyway. Those kind of strong arm tactics by game companies are unconscionable!
 
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J J
Australia
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Clever Mojo has posted here to explain the business decision. You can find it fairly easily by going back through the news threads for AF, I believe it was in connection with on-line orders being cancelled.

I cannot disagree more with their reasoning or decision, but hey, it's their business, and in America such business practices are legal (for comparison, in Australia they are most definitely not).
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Tim Earl
United States
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JasonJ0 wrote:
I cannot disagree more with their reasoning or decision, but hey, it's their business, and in America such business practices are legal (for comparison, in Australia they are most definitely not).


I'm curious, how are these practices illegal in Australia? It seems odd to me, but I'm American, so I'm used to our ways.
 
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J J
Australia
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cheng wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
I cannot disagree more with their reasoning or decision, but hey, it's their business, and in America such business practices are legal (for comparison, in Australia they are most definitely not).


I'm curious, how are these practices illegal in Australia? It seems odd to me, but I'm American, so I'm used to our ways.


In Australia what Clever Mojo is doing is considered a distortion of the market. You can't restrict sales here the way they are doing there. It is called exclusive dealing, and (for example) refusing to sell to someone because they will then sell at a discount (or on-line), or attempting to put conditions on what the purchaser then does with the stock (or more specifically cannot do), is covered by it.
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Tom McDonald
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Thanks for the info Jason. It sounds like you Aussies have it right. It also sounds like Clever Mojo is trying to take advantage of us dumb Americans. Why else would they limit sales of their product to one obscure web site at inflated prices. Note to Santa: cross AF off my xmas list.
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J J
Australia
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Dragonmage wrote:
Thanks for the info Jason. It sounds like you Aussies have it right. It also sounds like Clever Mojo is trying to take advantage of us dumb Americans. Why else would they limit sales of their product to one obscure web site at inflated prices. Note to Santa: cross AF off my xmas list.


Like I said, Clever Mojo posted their reasoning here. Go and read it. I don't particularly think they are attempting to take advantage of anyone; rather they are taking advantage of what they are allowed to do in your market.

I can't particularly blame them for doing so in general; I just detest the specifics of what they are doing. I recall someone comparing them to GW, which really got up David McKenzie's nose - it wasn't a fair comparison, but the principle of what they are doing is exactly what GW does with its war on on-line retailers.
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Gláucio Reis
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robcannonsoftware wrote:
Mayfair and someone else tried to keep the online prices high a few years ago. They stopped doing that, so I assume it didn't work.

I don't know about "someone else", but Mayfair is still doing it (discounts are limited to 20%).
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Randall Bart
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jloisel wrote:
Either you aim for very high margins or you aim for very high volume. The traditional logic is that you aim for high margins if you have a niche product, but volume is better in the long run if your product has broad enough appeal. Alien Frontiers has gotten a ton of buzz and is said to have very broad appeal, yet they're actively limiting their growth through volume. This makes no sense to me.

It makes perfect sense. This is not Catan (yet). Clever Mojo isn't selling a million boxes, they are selling a few thousand. They should keep their margins high. If you think a given game is too expensive, don't buy it. Fluxx can be had for $15. Would you rather buy that?
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Marc Specter
United States
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Alien Frontiers is an amazing game and you should come to Origins or Gen Con and buy it there.
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Steve Stair
United States
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Or just buy it from Amazon
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Game Salute is a terrible business model by pretty much any measurable metric. By not selling more volume, they are not allowing rapid turnover to fund future reprints. Its not going to work, and I'm just going to wait until the whole thing collapses so I can order Alien Frontiers and expansions from where I normally buy games.

I have no problem paying retail for Alien Frontiers, but I do have a problem being forced to pay shipping or buy a prime membership because I can't buy it from anywhere else online.
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Jennifer Derrick
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Amazon sells it (although it's sold by Game Salute and fulfilled by amazon), but currently at $60. I've seen elsewhere that MSRP was $49.99. No way am I paying a $10 markup to get it direct from the manufacturer just for the privilege of buying mail order. I had this game on my Christmas list, too, and scratched it off due to the ridiculous marketing model.

If I'd seen reports of good service from Game Salute, I might think differently and buy direct from them. But most of what I've heard is poor CS and botched ordering. No thanks. If you're going to be an exclusive retailer, you'd better offer the best service in the world, otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot.

There are plenty of other games in the world that are just as good or better and are easier to get. They'll either figure this out and find a way to make it work for them, or they'll be very short lived.
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Ian Kelly
United States
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JasonJ0 wrote:
In Australia what Clever Mojo is doing is considered a distortion of the market. You can't restrict sales here the way they are doing there. It is called exclusive dealing, and (for example) refusing to sell to someone because they will then sell at a discount (or on-line), or attempting to put conditions on what the purchaser then does with the stock (or more specifically cannot do), is covered by it.


In the U.S. it's called "resale price maintenance" or "vertical price fixing", and the legality is questionable at best. It was outlawed by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, but during the Great Depression states started passing "fair trade" laws that overrode the Sherman Antitrust Act and allowed resale price maintenance. In 1975, the federal laws allowing the states to overrule Sherman were repealed, and it became illegal once again. But then in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that such cases should be governed by the "rule of reason" rather than being illegal per se, meaning that they're only illegal if they unreasonably restrain trade.

Long story short, if a retailer were to sue GameSalute in the U.S. there might be a case there.
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Mitchell Manzella
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Glad I found this thread, thanks for all the information folks.

So its safe to say that there is no way to get a new copy of this game for under $50.
 
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J J
Australia
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mcmanzi wrote:
Glad I found this thread, thanks for all the information folks.

So its safe to say that there is no way to get a new copy of this game for under $50.


In America, yes, which is CMG's intention. Elsewhere may be different.
 
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Marc Specter
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And worth every penny.
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Scott McKay
Canada
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So... any advice on what IS the best online store or other source to buy this game for someone in Canada?
 
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Laura Creighton
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Currently being shown for sale from Sentry Box http://www.sentrybox.com/ in Calgary.
 
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