A good game store is such a gem; it requires real commitment and passion from owners and investors. It requires strong leadership and a robust understanding of sound business practice.
A muppet with a pile of cash who starts a game store will soon be a poor muppet with debt.
It’s even worse if said muppet isn’t playing with their own money. I mean, if you sink 100k of your own in a venture you have a real stake in its success.
|Nothing says "Game Store" like stock photography of coffee|
Allow me to share this.
Yep, it’s an attempt to crowd source for a local games store in Wellington.
Words fail me on this….. well they don’t, but the rant that’s coming will take some time. So grab your fire retardant underpants and send the youngsters out of the room.
Part One: Legitimacy?
I like crowd sourcing, I think it’s a wonderful utilization of the internet and the global economy. It’s almost pure capitalism in action, person a has idea/product and needs finance to proceed. Anyone who wants in on the ground floor can buy in, and scaling rewards act as incentives for people to invest more.
It’s pretty fucking grand.
The best uses for crowd sourcing seem to be getting old stuff reprinted, launching reboots/remakes of classic IP and starting off wacky new ideas.
One kickstarter I was really keen on was Wasteland 2.
Wasteland is a great bit of IP, the game that inspired fallout. Wasteland 2 is being run by Brian Fargo. Fargo is a veteran game developer and producer, he has about 40 game credits and a reputation (not all positive, but games created by the company he founded include Fallout and Baldurs gate).
The guy is legit, and you know with the funding he received from kickstarter that he has the skills to get the job done.
Here is the biographical information of the guy trying to kick off this games store.
|Wasteland - Good idea, legit crew, loads of cash donated|
I've been an active member of the Wellington Gaming Community basically ever since I moved here to study at Vic some 6 odd years ago. The recent loss of Wargames Supplies has hit the community hard, and I want to do something awesome for the people that have always been awesome to me.”
HOLY SHIT! GIVE THIS MAN SOME CASH!
Nothing in this biography fills me with confidence as a potential investor. Well, ok he seems to know the product at least and that’s better than some owners.
I wonder if he’s worked in retail before? That might be a good thing to mention. Something like “I’m looking for cash to start a business and I have some basic business knowledge”, heck even if he pumped gas at a local petrol station I might have more confidence in it.
This biography says one things and one thing only.
“I am a geek who wants to own a game store because it would be cool to hang out playing games with my friends all day and get paid money for it.”
Also, this bit from the site REALLY gets under my skin.
“Critical Hit is comprised of three Wellington Locals, who are all active members of the gaming community. We know what it’s like to be deprived of a good local game store, and we’ve all had a lot of fun being part of the gaming community—now it’s time we did something awesome for them.”
You are really fucking kidding me, your awesome thing to do for us it to ask for our money so you can play game store owner. Cheers, how big of you to take my money off my hands.
Also, three locals are mentioned in this section, but only one is mentioned on the site. That builds confidence.
Part Two: Incentives
These are simply laughable; I guess it’s hard to incentivise geek gamer wish fulfillment that’s lacking any foundation in real business practice.
NZ $10 Magic Beans
By pledging this amount, you'll get a free coffee when you come to visit us for the first time!
Ok, not too bad and he may actually get some people to part with $10 for a coffee and a game store. Pity he has put 5000 possible $10 donations; good luck finding 5000 gamers in Wellington though.
NZ $100 An Invitation to the Ball
When you pledge this amount, you'll get an invitation to our super-secret awesome launch party, in addition to the $10 reward. The launch party will be a rocking event, and we'll even have special discounts available during the party. (Carriage not included)
Megapope gets the nod on this one “FUCK YES, $100 TO GO TO A BALL WITH GAMING NECKBEARDS, SIGN ME THE FUCK UP”
Having an exclusive launch party for a gaming store is fucking stupid. You want everyone in on the event, you want random people off the street in on it. Gaming is already a cliquey mess without trying to be exclusive.
NZ $250 Member of the League
We have arranged for the running of a six-player game of The League of Extraordinary Gentlegamers. This is a high-class function, and a strict dress-code will be enforced (monocles appreciated, but not necessary). Wine and light snacks will be provided. Secure your seat now! This is a stand-alone reward, and does not include the lesser rewards.
So I fork out $250 and I’m not welcome at your opening event? Well fuck you sunshine! Seriously though, $250 to be invited to an exclusive roleplaying game that I know nothing about with people I don’t know. THAT’S WHAT I CALL VALUE!
NZ $1000 Knight-Errant
If you pledge this amount, you receive all the benefits of the previous rewards, as well as having your name engraved on a plaque and mounted in-store, and a VIP card that entitles you to 5% off most products.
Plaque is kind of nice I guess…. 5% discount…. Really HOW FUCKING GENEROUS OF YOU. Gee, after the first $20,000 I spend in store that investment will really be paying dividends! I notice it says “most products”. $1000 up front and you can't even say 5%.... a measly 5% off everything not already discounted. Wow…. What value.
NZ $5000 Lord of the Realm
All benefits of the previous rewards, but you get 10% off with the VIP card, and we will also address you as your choice of Lordly Title. You may also choose to have a mounted photograph placed with your plaque.
Same as above, to justify the investment you would have to spend an insane amount of cash in store. So much in fact, you could probably have just forked out the 100k and started your own store.
The fundamental issue for me on this is as follows:
If I put $100 on kickstarter for wasteland 2 I still get the game as well as the shiny bonus. I probably would have paid $100 for the game anyway.
Giving someone $100 to start a store is giving someone a hand-out so they can run a business. There is no real return on your money, asides from a store that better get profitable without hand-outs very very quickly.
I don’t see the value proposition, and im pretty sure very few people will.
Part Three: Reality…. It’s a bitch
“We understand that a great many members of the gaming community are not exactly flush with cash. That's okay! If you can't support us with money, there are many other ways you can help. Tell all your friends about what we're trying to do; spread the word!
|Kids want to own a candy store.... geeks want to own a games store|
In the form of donations from the Wellington gaming community…
I honestly don’t know whether this is just massive naivety, hubris or self-delusion. Who do they think will pony up the 50k from. It’s pure fantasy to expect this to crowd fund.
The Wellington Gaming community couldn’t keep Wargames supplies (WGS) alive. Games Workshop is still around, so forget any investment from the GW fanbois, they have all the need in the 2 GW stores in town.
Then there is pukeko games, a trademe based wellington games store that is growing in reputation amongst the Warmachine community for great prices and great service.
WGS showed that running a game store in wellington in no easy to thing to get right. Online sales, alterative supply lines and GAMES FREAKING WORKSHOP provide some pretty stiff competition in this market.
So yeah, where is this money coming from. Hint one…. Not from me.
Part Four: Show me your workings
I am really curious to see what research has gone into this endeavour, if there is a business plan, if they have any idea about running a business, sorting out a supply chain…. And the other 10,000 activities that go with running a retail business.
Retail is hard work, really hard work. It’s long hours, small margins and requires careful purchasing and turnover of stock. Central Wellington is expensive, under capitalization and poor business planning kills so many businesses in their first year.
I think I would like to see a shit load more thought and discipline associated with a project like this before I would consider parting with a single, shiny silver dollar.
Business sense says “There must be demand for a service to exist”
Muppet sense says “I WANNA RUN A GAME STORE CAN I HAVE YOUR MONEY KTHAX”
|Yes, I found an image for Muppet investment... I WIN THE INTERNETZ|