In 2016 Do We Still Need Local Game Stores?

games and stuff

Full Disclosure: Owning a game store seems fun, but I’ve never actually owned a game store, nor do I have any intentions of owning a game store.

That being said, I have an opinion and I’m looking forward to reading the comments. Popcorn.

What’s the deal with manufactures not supporting local game stores. Local Game stores are hubs of people and the center of nerd communities. Sure, lots of us also interact on the internet, but the opinions of my friends at the local game store tend to carry more weight than that of the internet. It is literally their job to sell stuff.online-shopping-security-lead-ashx

Unless you’re vertically integrated, no company does business alone. There’s a host of individuals, up and down the supply chain, who all have an important and necessary job. However, with the advent of the internet, companies seem all too eager to want to skip the middleman.

middleman-do-you-need-oneAttn Manufacturers: Yes, on the surface, the middleman sells your product for more than you do, however they do that in order to pay their bills. They advocate your product, and provide customers with valuable face to face interactions that you simply cannot provide over the internet. Sure, clever advertisement will get people to the store, but getting them to open up their wallet is another set of skills.

Sure, the individual who is already committed to your product line will keep coming back, but that’s not the local game store concern. Their main goals are reaching an audience on a personal level and building communities.gw mall store hor

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. In the age of the internet why not offer a local game store a timed exclusive? Want it first? Not by one of our flagship stores? Well hey, no worries, your local game store has you covered! Provide them with products in the $5-$20 impulse buy range and offer special products only available in stores.

Want to know something that will turn me off of a game? A bad review from someone I trust, a friend I play with regularly who says this new game is junk. However, it’s not always about the product, it’s actually usually about the positioning.

Maybe a game stumbled out of the blocks but has made changes, the local game store is plugged in. They’re your evangelists, why not interact with them and provide them with the tools they need to sell your product?

Dying Breed

What do you guys think? Are local game stores leeches or a valuable part of the gaming community?

Editor’s note: If you live in the DC/ Baltimorearea you owe it to yourself to visit Games & Stuff in Glen Burnie Maryland. It is hands down the best gaming store I have even been in in all my years of gaming. – Rob

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About Felix Fimbres

Sailor, Solider, Pilot, Photojournalist, Paratrooper, Technician, and Jack of Most of Trades. I consider myself a Blood Angel player, playing Death Company heavy armies. Recently, I've decided all my Blood Angels will fall to the Black Rage.

  • KellyJ

    Without the FLGS where will your future customer base come from? Sure, you can buy 40K product online and put together a glorious army with a topnotch paint job. But then what? Troll the internet hoping to find another person within 20 miles that also just happened to find that game online? Only to find someone with an hodgepodge army of unpainted and misbuilt figures of dubious legality (or worse, some pedo trolling the net for his next little gamerboy victim).
    The FLGS is your customer base. A safe place find fellow gamers of all genres. Mentors to up your game and friends who appreciate the time and effort you put into the hobby. Tabletop miniatures? Trading cards? Regular boardgames? Roleplaying/dice games? That is the realm of your FLGS. Yes, we should all support the LGS with our dollars (since they provide a significant floor space to play in) but Game Manufacturers should also support the FLGS.
    FWIW my local GW store is a small closet with 2 cramped tables in an out of the way strip mall whose hours make after-work gaming impossible (closes 8…good luck getting a round of 40K in 2 hours max…assuming the employee even shows up that day. The FLGS is the ONLY way to go.

  • Justin Adams

    99% sure the picture of the gaming store is actually my gaming store.

  • Robert H

    Your FLGS is essential to the hobby. They have table space and all they ask is that you drop some $ their way instead of buying everything on the internet from discount retailers.

    I’ve never gamed in a store without purchasing something from them. I’m using their electricity, heat or AC and taking up space. Why shouldn’t we buy from them?

    With the availability of product on the internet, manufacturers have gotten greedy. They want it all. The only problem is that by taking the short view, they really are doing the hobby a dis-service. Eventually, they will put themselves out of business because who introduces the next generation of wargamers to the hobby? The group that meets every week at the FLGS and plays the games that act as an on-going sales demonstration of the game system and associated miniatures.

    I’ve been the point person (unofficially) on several game systems locally. Some have been more successful than others. Some took a while to really catch on (Infinity) here in the US. Without a place to meet and play that constantly brings new prospects into the community, the hobby (and the manufacturers) will die out and everyone will be playing computer versions and missing the interaction of playing against real people.

    I don’t own a store and never will. I just don’t want to be an entrepreneur. However, I respect anyone who tries to run one and will support them, even if all I buy is an $8 miniature or some dice. Every bit helps them to maintain the greater community that we are all part of.

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