Wow, lotta passion on this subject. My owner on the left has a vet appointment today and I have to dig out of a snowstorm so I apologize to anyone I don't have time to reply to.
Oops I do want to say one more thing today....
Quoting Tridus, reply 94
That's not Gamestop being evil, that's Gamestop not wanting to be on the hook for 50,000 boxes of something they can't sell and that just sit in a warehouse. If my choices are to stock Call of Duty or to stock say Gemini Wars... well I like making money, so this is a fairly easy decision (unless I'm running a specialty store, but that's very hard to do these days for PC games due to Steam).
I have a differing experience with mom and pop shops. I like mom and pop shops of all variety. I have a particular fondness for the small combo shops that sell novels, comics, toys and games of all sorts. Small shops tend to pay attention to their customers buying habits and are self-interested to stock what we want.. Not what New Yorkers buy, and not what their buyers get the best deal on. And they deal with a volume where they can stock a new release non-seller and not lose the farm for it. Mega chains on the other hand have buyers who are disconnected from the customer base. They are tasked with acquiring massive lots of the highest margin goods. The shareheld mega chain motivations are different from the mom and pops. And they have such market influences that they have an affect on product availability.
I don't do much business with Home Depot and Lowes for one of the same reasons I stopped doing business with Gamestop. Despite their buying power and distribution infrastructure, they so frequently don't have what I am looking for. They often sell things a bit cheaper than the mom and pop this and thats. But one week Home Depot will sell the same 3M Respirator I use and stock the appropriate filters. Then the next month they stop selling 3M filters because they cut a better deal with some other manufacturer. The new product yields them a greater profit margin. But the mask for it was of inferior quality, and the only filters they now stocked were not compatible with the mask I've used for years. They stopped carrying a product I purchased on a regular basis, simply based on profit margins, not on local buying patterns. I queried store management as to where the filters had gone, and that was the answer. My local hardware store on the other hand, noticed when I started doing business with them, and added extra filters to their normal buying schedule. They stock what I want because they are in position to learn what I want. If they don't stock a product I seek, they order it for me and its there in days. If it is something I will buy on a regular basis they add it to their normal stock.
I know this is going further off topic but you sorta defended the evilness of Gamestop and I want to explain why I resist the walmarting paradigm and why I think it is a bad thing which is homogenizing our products towards inferior quality, reduces consumer choice, and stifles innovation and limits oppurtunity. Actually I am gonna stop this here. This is waaaay off topic yet it still relates to one aspect of why I am concerned that indie Stardock has sold out to mega chain Gamespot. :~p
My point wasn't about my experience with Mom & Pop shops. I love specialized local stores. My point is that it's very hard to run one in video games these days. Why? Well I used Gemini Wars as my example game last time, so I'll pick on them again.
Lets say I want Gemini Wars. Big Box Inc doesn't carry it because it's a niche title. In the past, I could go to the local store and talk to the owner, who is my go to guy. He can track it down and get it here. It might take two weeks and cost $90, but he can get anything and being a local guy instead of a chain it's worth his time to do it. That's great.
Today? If I want Gemini Wars and Big Box Inc doesn't have it, Steam probably does. If Steam doesn't have it (ala Star Ruler), Impulse probably does. If it's an older game, GoG probably has it. I don't have to get someone else to track it down and ship it here. I can hit the download button and put my very high speed fiber line to work for instant gratification. Mom & Pop simply aren't competitive against that, and neither is Big Box Inc. So if you're Big Box Inc, do you bother stocking a niche game like that which might not sell, or do you stock Call of Duty knowing that you can have a midnight launch party lineup of geeks and get moms in to buy it for their teenage boys?
As a businessman, that's not a hard choice. I want to make money. I also want to have enough sales to be able to make payroll.
Impulse is an entirely different beast because the cost to carry a game is negligable compared to doing so in a retail outfit. There's no boxes, no warehousing, no limited shelf space, no shipping. I can list Gemini Wars worldwide (if the publisher lets me) for a very low upfront cost and thus I don't need to sell 100,000 units to make it worthwhile. This is a HUGE boon for indie and niche gamers.
It's also good for Gamestop. They didn't stop carrying PC games because they hate PC gamers. They only stopped carrying them because the space in the store is more profitable if it carries something else. That's just business. The whole paradigm is turned on its head online because the "shelf space" isn't really limited and its so much cheaper to get games listed.
I'm relatively neutral on this whole thing but let me give a real world example where this can turn out positive.
Last year the company I work for was purchased by a giant international company. My company was a respected and trusted expert in our field which is why it was purchased. The purchaser, let's say, was lacking in this category. Now alot of anxiety was caused, namely around job security, but once that was nailed down it was the issue of "Clash of Cultures." Would the less respected yet giant culture dominate and destroy the respected brand and culture of our company?
What's actually happened is personnel from my company were placed into key positions of the new merged entity. The culture that made our medium-sized business successful started to change the culture of the new merged entity for the better. Picture a bigger fish eating a little fish and the little fish gets the last laugh by eating the big fish from the inside out.
It's certainly possible Gamestop could just wreck everything Impulse. On the other hand, it's also possible they bought what Brad had to offer for the purpose of providing investment that Brad could not or did not want to provide. Maybe they have no plans at all beyond basic synergies and cost savings? Maybe SD's culture will win the day? Too early to tell. Flip a coin. I highly recommend everyone take a deep breath, read and listen to Gamestop's announcement, and pay particular attention to who will be calling the shots of the new division. Are key Stardockians going to call the shots or are they bringing in their leadership?
Yeah I agree with this totally. Why would Gamestop buy it if they don't care about PC games? They can not care about PC games for free. Impulse was Stardock's most profitable unit, it would not have come cheap. Why does a publically traded company spend significant cash on something that they don't care about?
It doesn't make sense. If they made this purchase, it's because they see an opportunity to get back into the business of PC games. PC games at retail are dying off. That's just a fact. PC games over DD are thriving. Gamestop wants to be able to compete with Steam. Gamestop has gobs of cash and thus the resources to put into something like Reactor to get it done, which has been taking Stardock a very long time.
We don't know what Gamestop is going to do at the end of the day, but there's very plausable scenarios where this works out well for PC gamers.