I know this will probably bite me on the ass down the road, but honestly, that’s never stopped me before, so it’s not likely to start now.
The biggest reason why the games industry is such a fucking ghetto? Most of its supposed “businessmen” are nothing more than the standard run-of-the-mill Gamer Geek, complete with the usual issues of entitlement. They run their operations (whether publisher or retailer) based on what they “know”, filtered through heavy screens of how they think things should be, and what they’re somehow “owed” simply by virtue of being who they are.
There isn’t a whole lot of effort given to a) knowing what the fuck you’re talking about; or b) reacting accordingly with a business plan.
Latest example? The ubiquitous, self-appointed representative retailer Marcus King.
In reaction to the ridiculousness of WotC pulling their PDFs for sale from legitimate online vendors, several publishers have launched specials to underline their continued dedication to PDF sales. White Wolf, for example, is giving away a PDF of the Exalted rulebook, free of charge, for a limited time. Green Ronin put the PDF of their True20 core rules on sale for 10 bucks, again for a limited time. A smart and reasonable response to the alteration in the market (and one that I wish I could follow, but for the fact that I’m simply not doing well enough right now to be able to afford discounting of Adamant’s products at the moment).
Today in ICV2, ,Marcus King takes exception, and complains that brick-and-mortar retailers are somehow owed matching discounts. He has also taken the opportunity in private industry fora to go on at length about the PDF market, which he knows NOTHING about. He’s not alone — these fora have featured a great many “businessmen” squawking about how the whole ePublishing side of the business should be “burned to the ground”, how “75% of PDF customers are crooks” and other gems — all stemming from their sense of entitlement that they’re somehow owed deference and special treatment simply by virtue of being the 21st century equivalent of niche-market boutique buggy-whip salesmen.
In response to Marcus’ public dumbassery, Nicole Lindroos of Green Ronin offers an Open Letter in reply, wherein she not only spells out the obvious, attempting to educate Mr. King and his ilk, but also quite admirably dishes out some smackdown with the ELBOW OF DEATH.
This year, at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, I’ll be doing a seminar on “Games Publishing and Retail for the New Media” — during which I’ll be talking, among other topics, about how brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn’t be threatened by the ePublishing segment of the market, and pointing out ways that they could, in fact, participate in it and get some of that income stream for their stores.
I’ve talked about this before, the last time I attended GTS.
Retailers showed zero interest, and today still froth about the “threat” to their business model.
I’m hoping things will go differently this time around… but honestly? I don’t have high hopes.