Monday, June 18, 2012

Kickstarter for retailers

An interesting post on Kickstarter from Tao, the guy (?) running the game store Starlit Citadel, a Canadian hobby game store in Vancouver.  He describes some of the difficulties game stores have in supporting Kickstarter campaigns.  Even though he'd like to carry some of the more popular or interesting Kickstarter projects, he can't make it work financially without a fairly generous retailer package.

The only way I think it might work is if he gets a pretty good bulk discount for retailers, and then is able to keep the game in stock for longer than the game is available via Kickstarter.  But that's tricky, and maybe not realistic; I bet most Kickstarter publishers produce more than they distribute via Kickstarter, and then he's competing with direct sales (and the much better margins) with the publisher, who's got more room to discount.

I don't think his doomsday scenario will happen (all games funded via preorders through Kickstarter, which would mean that game stores essentially die).  Kickstarter folks are generally not expert in distribution (although some are) and aren't in it to sustain a long-term business (Tasty Minstrel would be a counterexample, but they're not typical).


  1. You will see more and more 'regular' publisher (i.e. long-term run folks) using Kickstarter.
    Many will produce more than just the KS orders so they are able to place the extra copies in distribution. Game Salute actively promotes that way of doing business. others (and this is complimentary) will allow retailers to order from KS at retailer rates (usually 50% off MSRP). but this is just for the initial run, once the KS is trough ad the retailer has sold his KS copies, then the normal distribution channels must follow up. (Or the game must disappear from the market if it's not a longterm thing.)

  2. Agreed - Tao does mention retailer packages. It would be hard not to be tempted to do something like that if you were going with Kickstarter, since more units manufactured means a lower cost-per-item, but you might take a loss on the retailer ones. You might have to wait to offer the retailer package until you had enough sales to ensure you'd still make money at a 50% discount - maybe a month into the campaign, so you can see it's successful.