In response to Precedence Entertainment offering single 'rare' cards from its Rifts CCG to consumers, over thirty retailers affixed their names to this letter protesting the practice. For a complete description of the controversy, including the happy ending, see 'Precedence Ends Single Sales.'
As retailers we value and appreciate the efforts that manufacturers have made to create and promote games that have a collectible element. While we do not support the proliferation of such games to the detriment of all other areas of the games industry, we recognize the value and have shared in the profits from those games. They are now a valued part of our industry.
The basis of a collectible game is an artificial scarcity. The manufacturer of the game determines scarcity based upon various factors, generally relating to game play or enhanced production values. Although our mutual customers understand that this scarcity is artificial, the fact that these components are randomly distributed in such a manner that any customer is as likely to get any rare card as any other customer mitigates some of the frustration that the customer feels. Indeed, the customer's hope to find a rare item is what, if the game is successful in its other aspects, drives the continued sales of this type game. This is the basis for the continued success of collectible games.
We, the undersigned retailers, would like to express our concern about some practices that have emerged in our industry. While respecting the right of publishers to sell complete games in whatever manner they desire to, as long as such sales are not designed to undercut a suggested retail price, we feel that it undercuts the basis upon which collectible games are produced when the manufacturer of a game offers to sell rare components directly to consumers. While we recognize the desire of these manufacturers to maximize their profits on these items, nevertheless we feel that such an action destroys the trust that consumers have in a fair distribution of rare items. There is no way that a publisher could assure the consumer that he is not manipulating the market for his own short term benefit, as the publisher, at least hypothetically, has the ability to print an unlimited number of any 'rare' item. Such a realization on the part of the consumer could lead to a general disillusionment and cynicism about this type of gaming in general. This could be injurious not only to the company who has chosen to exploit their position in the secondary market, but also to the collectable gaming industry as a whole.
Therefore, we call upon Precedence Publishing in specific and all other game publishers in general to cease this and any like actions immediately and to eschew this course of action in the future. As responsible retailers, we run our business in such a way as to preserve the integrity of the industry. We call upon manufacturers to act in a like manner.
David M. Wheeler
Owner, Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy
D. P. 'Vern' Vernazzarro
Manager, Game and Comic Industry Network
Owner, Adventure Knight LLC
Owner, Danger Room 1 & 2
Generation X Comics
The Space-Crime Continuum
Stacy Van Peursem
War Dogs Game Center
Manager, Amazing Stories
Brain P. Guenther
John S. Jacobs
Proprietor, Sanctuary Games & Books
Craig R. Clements
JimmyJams Comics, Cards & Games
The Game Keep
Rainy Day Games
Brian 'Flisk' Harden II
The Gamer's Realm
The Hero Factory
Mission: Fun & Games
Kelly DowdRedd Skull Comics & CDs