From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
Thanks to a series of acquisitions in recent years Asmodee, or more correctly, Asmodee North America, is a now a very large company in that market. They own Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games, among others.
They are starting to make that weight felt.
Starting from 1 April 2016 some new terms of trade will apply to their distributors and retailers. On the distribution side, it means that Days of Wonder products will no longer have an exclusive distributor.
For retailers, it means that all supply agreements are for over-the-counter sales only, and a separate agreement must be signed for online sales. Details are exactly available (at least not to me) but the response from retailers seems positive. This is something I give greater weight to than the view of gamers (or those gamers who choose to post online, like… er me) which tends to escalate quickly.
It looks like the upshot will be no more products online at over 20% below RRP.
Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games has focused on the bad retailers and how this should stop online dumping and help stores who build a player base:
“He gets it. Christian Petersen has decided pure volume of sales, at any price, is not as valuable as thousands of retailers growing their market by building relationships with customers.
This will not end all online sales, but it doesn’t have to. What it does is prevent dumping. It ensures that retailers will not speculate, will not over order, will not crap all over the marketplace because they lack the skills to budget, purchase and sell properly.”
Scott Thorne of Castle Perilous Games & Books notes that there is a price rise included in this announcement, sort of:
“…instead of raising the price on the combined company’s products, discounts on products across the line will drop to 45%, reducing the margin of gross profit anywhere from 3 to 5 %. Much as with WOTC’s reduction in margin earlier this year, this reduction comes straight out of the gross margin of distributors and retailers.”
As far as I can see the main effect on gamers is that places selling X-Wing ships at a large discount will be going the way of the dodo, as Asmodee cut them off in favour of retailers more likely to provide a playing space for gamers.
This is something that is still shaking out within the tabletop niche – how to balance the boon of having online global availability of games while acknowledging the value that the retail chain can add. It isn’t over yet.