For those who don't know, for the past 5 years I've worked in an independently owned video game store called G.A.M.E.S.
(Games Are My Entertainment Source). Recently, Take Two Interactive has decided to forbid independent retailers from getting their games ahead of release date, which means we can't do midnight releases. When a video game store cannot do midnight releases, it hurts their credibility.
To help bring this to light, I briefly spoke about this on the The Core (That new Dtoid show in beta), and I'm extremely grateful for the time I was given, but I want to get this message to as many people as I can with Destructoid.
I doubt Take Two will listen to a small independent store like us, but I'm hoping that we can band together and bring this issue to the front page and Destructoid can do what it does best, and get to the bottom of this barrel of bullshit.
Below is an email I had my boss write up for Niero to see if he's interested in covering it, and I figured I would also share it with all of you.
I apologize in advance for the wall of text, but I'm leaving the email unedited, so here's a picture to last you through it.
"I have always had some issues with my supplier processing orders.
Initially it was on major releases for systems I had to have an attachment rate. 1 system with a $2 mark up required me to bring in 3 assorted games they expected not to sell enough of, and a few accessories, or the like there of. I always had the option to opt out of the systems. We all know there's slim to no pickings on profits, and that systems are sometimes just too slim in stock for the first little bit.
In recent years I've had to watch as companies began getting exclusive content. Okay, I get it, purchasing a thousand times the product as me probably gets you a little bonus to provide to your customers. This has progressively gotten worse, where only the big box stores are getting in game content that is not even purchasable and sometimes has an unfair effect on gameplay. Again, I can handle this, so sales will suffer a bit, and I can handle the fact there's a cut in their price compared to mine even.
What's a bit bothersome - is a while back a game was released, and it was slated for North America, Xenoblade Chronicles. So, it still didn't have the hype in our neck of the woods, but a customer asked us to pre-order it for him. We, being the ever vigilant source for games around town tell him it shouldn't be a problem. We check with our supplier, and what does he tell us? The game was exclusively released in the United States and us Canadians were getting shafted on the whole deal. One would think that was the entire issue, but it wasn't. Not only was that the case, but that it would be semi-exclusive to a single retailer? How is that even remotely fair. When you include that and the fact the same company was removing competitors codes from new copies of games, you have to wonder what the world is coming to. We eventually got our release, but not before it got brought up from the U.S. companies into Canada to be sold. I recall that being grey marketing, and it's taking advantage of a flawed system.
What's bothering me now though is the street date violations. My supplier warns me that breaking it can result in fines, penalties of all sorts and either not ever receiving product, or never receiving it early again. So when Grand Theft Auto V came out and my supplier told me a week or so to the release date that I wouldn't be receiving until the day of release, I was baffled. I questioned it more recently, and their response was that Take Two Interactive Software had asked them not to release to the independent stores for fear of breaking street date. So who after all of this broke the street date? It wasn't the independent businesses that did it. It was Amazon. They're not the first to do it either.
The concept that anyone who wants to sell video games can't compete because the big box stores have the market monopolized to themselves has never arisen to us, until now. We can't get the price breaks, the content, and sometimes we can't even get it shipped, but worse than that, now we can't even get the game.
When do we get our retribution?
Thanks for listening to my plea and rant.
A Livid Gamer
Owner of G.A.M.E.S."
Glad we got through that, but I had to edit one URL out, but just google "Xenoblade Chronicles Not Coming To Canada" and you'll find links to certain big box retailers in Canada being allowed to get them in stock, while the independents get screwed.
So with all this said, I pray to the goddesses Din, Farore and Nayru that everyone helps shed some light on this, and maybe even share a few stories of their own of similiar problems in the past.