Steven Olsen of A Little Shop of Comics in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, who kicked off our discussion of CCG pre-release events (see 'Steven Olsen of A Little Shop of Comics on CCG Pre-Release Events'), responds to Dave Salisbury of Fan Boy Three (see 'Dave Salisbury of Fan Boy Three on CCG Pre-Releases') with some numbers, and says, 'numbers don't lie.'


Dave you openly admit that you are a PTO, so in essence you are on the other side of this equation.


First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for adding to and participating in this conversation.  It's clear that the current policies covering pre-release events going to a small group of PTOs isn't in the best interest of the overwhelming majority of stores that work hard day in and day out to create customers for these games.  These PTO-driven events are run in particular by WOTC and UDE.


At this point I would like to thank Sabertooth and Score for at the very least making their events store pre-releases.  This is a step in the right direction.


I think the core question that has to be answered first is, 'Do these tournaments hurt the sales of other stores?'  Well, numbers don't lie.

Pre-releases are bad for the long term growth of our industry.  If our industry is to grow, we need to increase its exposure, not keep it in the closet. WotC provided me with the numbers I need to prove my point, numbers pulled from the DCI web site.  Let's use my home state of New Jersey as an example.


For the Future Sight pre-release (run by a local PTO):

On Saturday, 4/21/07, they had 326 players.

Two weeks later 14 venues held the Future Sight release event that had 211 players attend.


Now we fast forward to Magic Game Day:

21 venues had 560 players, let me repeat that 560 players.

That is a 72% increase over the PTO's Future Sight pre-release

That is a 165% increase over the store's Future Sight release event.


As I stated originally, a pre-release is no place for a newbie.  In the state of New Jersey, it seems 234 players felt more comfortable in the store setting.


Again these numbers do not lie.  It clearly shows that if Magic:  The Gathering is to grow it will come from the local venues.  Not you, the PTO.  The FLGS spends 52 weeks a year growing the game.  We demo, teach and even coddle the newbie, only to have someone else (the PTO) be given the fruits of our labor by being essentially awarded new product first to capitalize on sales.  We all know the bulk of sales in retail are within the first two weeks of a product's release.  Dave I don't think you truly understand the effect it has on the surrounding stores.


Dave, you continue to make my argument for me.  You claim that big box buyers will already have a play set by the time the release event happens. You further claim that they will get the inventory from an Internet discounter/local store.  Well if the only people that have inventory between the pre-release and the release are PTO's, then that means the PTOs are selling the inventory to these outlets.  From discussions with WotC and UDE, this is against their PTO guidelines.  Again you made my argument, there should only be one release date.


Dave you say 'I'd fight tooth and nail to keep them.'

Well guess what we, the FLGS, will fight to get back the customers that you, the PTO, take from us.  While I enjoy the products I sell, I am in this business to feed my family, not to get MTG cards at cost.  When you (and I mean PTOs) come into someone's backyard, you take food from someone else's table. 


If you think this is going away, you do not know me.  Even in your own statement you admit that the system is broken.  'The issue is one of inequality.'  You are right and we aim to correct that.


Dave you finish off your rebuttal by saying 'Pre-releases for all.'  If everyone had a pre-release, then wouldn't that just make it a release event?  See where I am going?  You say I should effect change by trying to get a pre-release for my store.  No, a true change would be someone trying to effect change for all, and that's what this is about.  So in summary what we need is no more pre-releases and one release day for all stores. 


That would truly level the playing field and grow our industry.


Numbers don't lie.


The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of