The October 6th Sunday New York Times business section carried a substantial article on the Yu Gi Oh phenomenon, concentrating on the Upper Deck CCG, and anchoring the story around the listing of Yu Gi Oh's Japanese owner Konami on the NYSE September 30. The article said that American sales of the Yu Gi Oh CCG hit $17 million in the second quarter of this year, and that it was now Upper Deck's largest product line, ahead of its baseball cards.
Not only are sales going up, so are prices. Upper Deck recently announced that it was increasing the wholesale price of its Yu Gi Oh products and eliminating the MSRP. To improve availability in at least some pop culture stores, Upper Deck has recently begun selling directly to game retailers in its tournament program; it has previously worked through distributors to provide larger allocations to tournament stores.
We contacted some distributors for comments on the price increase and product availability, but had received no quotable responses by press time. One told us, 'YGO is just too hot a topic....This is not something I can wade into right now.'
The Yu Gi Oh CCG is only one part of an integrated marketing campaign for the property, which includes a very successful anime (see 'Yu Gi Oh Ratings Strong'), its headline status in Viz's new Shonen Jump manga anthology, toys from Mattel, and videos from FUNimation.