Variant: The New Asmodee Pricing Plan | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Variant: The New Asmodee Pricing Plan

Image via playmed-sal.com

The new year has begun and that means so has the Asmodee pricing plan. If you haven’t heard about it, the first announcement was a little vague, but the gist is that they are restructuring how they discount to distributors and retailers. Specifically, they plan to give better discounts to brick and mortar stores rather than online vendors.

The reason, at least as stated by Asmodee, is that brick and mortar stores often provide benefits to the gaming community that online vendors do not. Among them, they can run tournaments, provide a meeting spot for players, allow free-play gaming, and can answer questions about particular products. And for this, Asmodee believes, they should be rewarded. But for consumers, I’m not so sure. My guess is that the brick and mortar store will continue to sell games at their current prices – or perhaps at a small discount. Meanwhile, online retailers will be unable to provide the deep discounts to which gamers have become accustomed and will have to increase prices on Asmodee products.

Presumably, this will have the effect of narrowing the gap between in-store and online prices, thus prompting more players to buy in store. But I think for many, it will result in fewer games on the shelf. Most players are price conscious. The reason online retailers flourish is precisely because consumers attribute more value to the lower price than to the in-person service they receive at a game store. Asmodee’s price plan, then, is an attempt to take value from the online retailer and give it to the physical location. Now, I’m sure Asmodee has run the numbers and this makes financial sense. There are tons of casual gamers (or grandmothers buying birthday presents) that have never heard of BGG. And, with FFG’s (now part of Asmodee) success with the Star Wars license, maybe this is the time to make the change – with a dedicated player base willing to have the best X-Wing and Armada equipment. But for many in the hobby, it will simply mean less games purchased. And that’s a shame.

There are 3 comments.

  1. XorKaya said on January 20, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I really don’t see it this way. Most gaming communities that I’m aware of prefer to game and purchase at their FLGS. That being said, I live in a major metropolitan area. I could see this perhaps hampering smaller cities with fewer FLGS shops, in which buying online is the only way. I can’t say as to what your gaming circumstances are, but suffice it to say, I don’t think they reflect the gaming community as a whole. Neither do mine for that matter. As a result, without proper statistics on sales for Asmodee products in terms of where most of their sales come from, I don’t think it’s possible to say how this will affect the gaming community at large.

    As a personal opinion, I’m looking forward to these discounts. A few FLGS shops in my area have increased prices due to FFG’s tightening up on discounts. I’m now hoping this brings them back down to where they used to be.

    PS: Why would I buy online? You’re either charged for shipping, or have to wait a number of days. If my FLGS gives me the same or lower discounts, and I don’t have to pay for shipping or wait for the item to arrive… why wouldn’t I buy it brick and mortar?

  2. GeekInsight GeekInsight said on January 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    You’re right. If the B&M store sells at the same price as the online store, then you’d buy B&M.

    But right now, you can get the same game from an online store for a significant discount from what the B&M store is selling it for. For many people, waiting a few days to is worth it in order to save some money and (potentially) buy more games. Plus, shipping is often not a factor. Most places sell at free shipping over a certain amount and its easy to arrange group buys. Miniature Market even has a $5.95 flat shipping price. And on some games, it will be less expensive even with shipping.

    If Asmodee wants to bring the prices of B&M products down so that they match online stores, I think that’s great. That would be good for consumers and stores But, as I read it, the intent is not to bring B&M prices down so much as it is to bring online store prices up. An across the board price increase is simply not in the best interests of consumers or hobbyists.

    But, I’m also not an alarmist. It won’t be the end of gaming or the demise of the hobby. And, at this point, it’s all just theory. But from the perspective of the hobbyist, there are a lot more potential down sides than potential up sides.

  3. Rikhavok said on January 26, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I live in a big metropolis but I simply don’t go to brick and mortar stores. I buy everything online after doing tons of research via websites, podcasts, and youtube. Some people have to scope out new people to maintain their gaming hobby so kudos to the BnM for them. But, if I am the rule rather than the exception, I never have a shortage of players, it’s the time to game that matters. I simply send out an text/email and I get 5-10 people showing up.

    Yes, I like the BnM for the occasional event. I much prefer the convention environment.

    This being said, I will probably not be buying anything Asmodee if the prices go up too much. I’ll just trade for these games in the future or simply let someone else bring these games for play.

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