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Tag Archives: GameStop

ouya

ouya (Photo credit: Saad Faruque)

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I was a Kickstarter backer of the Ouya back in August of last year. While I thought receiving a new console would be cool, putting money towards a console that really pushed for more indie content was something I was willing to do. I anticipated March not just for a new plaything, but also to see what games could be developed for it.

Fast forward to today. In a week, it will be a month since Kickstarter systems will have started shipping, and I have yet to receive mine. Add in that it could be more than a month before I get mine, and I’m getting extremely worried for the fate of this little console.

My concern stems not from the whole, “But I want what I ordered!” mindset, but from the statistics of it all.  Follow me, if you will, into the way this has played out in my head:

At the end of March, Kickstarter backers were told that shipments would *start* on March 28th.  This is very different wording than the original backing, which stated “Estimated delivery: March 2013″.  Now I’m already getting pledger’s remorse just from realizing I’m not going to receive my device when promised.

A few emails have been sent out to backers since shipments started going out to give updates for those still awaiting devices.  Of these emails, the last one caught my eye because it said that they were at full production capacity, and yet would not have every since Kickstarter backer’s system out the door until May 27th.  That’s two full months since shipments started going out, to ship out roughly 55k OUYAs.  That’s 27.5k systems a month, with all devices being made going out as soon as it’s off the assembly line.  This is probably the lowest production rate of any device that intends to compete with name-brand consoles I’ve ever seen.  The Wii U will sell faster than this just by pure willpower alone.

There are several arguments that can be made from this to look at it from an optimistic point of view.  However, consider this: if you want to buy this on its launch date in June, do you have any guarantee you will be able to get one the very month you ordered it?  Kickstarter backers may not even receive theirs until the day before full launch, not to mention the unknown amount of people that preordered one just after the Kickstarter ended.  Those were supposed to be released this month.  So either Ouya is making more consoles than they say and shipping out preorders alongside Kickstarter backers, which makes my remorse even worse, OR those that preordered and were originally told April now won’t get theirs until June.

Another possibility is that they are indeed making more than they are shipping out and stockpiling for the June launch.  If so, that means Kickstarter backers are not their priority even though we were told we would be.

All of these different possibilities make me extremely anxious.  I know Ouya keeps trying to calm their backers and preorder customers, but the fact is that they just do not have the ability to compete quantity-wise with even the smallest player in the video game market if the numbers truly are as they state.  They can’t put out enough consoles to satisfy the people that have already paid for one, and they have just a little over two months before Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop want to have their consoles ready for store shelves.

I hope I’m wrong about this, but until I see an uptrend in shipments, I don’t see how the Ouya can have a future.

GameStop logo

GameStop logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article over at CNET strikes a chord with me, so I figured I would make this my first post on my new blog.While I was growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, buying new games as a kid back then was wishful thinking.  If I got anything new, it was during Christmas or a birthday, or at the absolute most I would save up every penny I got and put it towards a game I really wanted.

Most of the time, though, my games came from rental places.  I rented games like no tomorrow.  It did help that I had a sibling who worked at a Movie Gallery, so I was able to get the games for free or cheap, but even when that source ran out, I still rented games whenever possible.

Fast-forward to my teenage years, and I started moving towards the used game market.  I didn’t have a local GameStop, though, so for me it was buying the older games that Movie Gallery was selling off.  When I went to college, though, I discovered GameStop and found my hobby picking up steam again.  Most games I experienced were used, and not new.

Nowadays, I sometimes buy used games.  Most of my gaming content, though, comes from online purchases through Steam or upgrades to MMOs bought digitally.  I do play games on my cell phone too, so there is that digital ecosystem that I purchase through.

I say all of that to say this: most of our content nowadays comes from online purchases.  Was it only a matter of time that this moved to the console systems?  I honestly believed that most console systems would move to a digital distribution system in the next generation of consoles, and remove physical media entirely.  Not only would this (hopefully, although doubtfully) lower prices, but it would also absolutely destroy the used game industry, which even Best Buy just got into.

It appears now, though, that console makers are going to stick to physical media (maybe offering additional options through digital), but are trying to find ways to circumvent the use of used games on their systems.  I was already prepared to mourn the loss of used games; I grew up using them through various means to get my gaming fix whenever I could.  But content is being distributed in vastly different means nowadays, and I can see why console makers would want to get in on that.  When you purchase a game on the iOS App Store, you can’t trade it in, you can’t sell it, you can’t lend it to a friend (you can buy another copy and have it sent as a gift in some cases), you can’t buy it used at all.  It means all purchases have to go through Apple, which means Apple makes money for them all.  Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo make nothing when a used game is purchased, and they would rather not have that happen.

GameStop supposedly is rumored to be taking a stand against these actions, claiming they will not carry the next-generation Playstation if it has this technology.  The problem, though, is that almost all of the console makers will be trying to add this tech to their consoles, so eventually GameStop won’t be carrying any of the new consoles.  If they did go through with this, it would be a test of whether or not they carry the weight of game sales.  More than likely consumers will find the console through other carriers, causing GameStop a serious loss in revenue.  I don’t think GameStop could carry out their claim and stay in business.

Rental games will probably be affected as well.  I do not see any way for console makers to block off purely used game use and yet somehow allow rental games to proceed.

As with most things in life nowadays, this all boils down to money: who’s getting it, who’s not getting it, and who wants to get it.  Doing this, though, will affect far more than just the consumer, putting possibly thousands out jobs over time.  Realistically, though, this shift was probably going to happen anyway.

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