Jim and Crystal Brown of Midwest Comics and Collectibles in Quincy, Illinois were prompted by recent articles on con sales by game companies (see 'WizKids EVP Martin Stever on Con Sales' and and 'Fred Swayne of Infinity Entertainment on WizKids Con Sales') to let us know how it affects their store.  There are ways it can help and ways it can hurt:


In a small way, manufacturers selling items at GenCon way ahead of scheduled release dates hurt us somewhat this year.  I found out that one of our customers purchased a BattleTech book at GenCon that was solicited in the most recent Game Trade issue -- which had come out two weeks ago!  This item wasn't supposed to come out until something like October.  Needless to say, I was asked to cancel his pre-order and subsequently lost a sale on that item.


I have no real problem with a company selling something at a convention a few weeks before it's due to release.  A Game of Thrones is a good example of this; the game premiered at GenCon, releases a week later and it's no big deal.  It actually worked the way I imagine it's supposed to: we have customers who played it at GenCon and are chomping at the bit to get this game (and every single one of them decided to wait and buy them from us!).


Game and comic manufacturers need to realize that if you burn the retailers too many times, we're going to bite back by not ordering a lot of your product or none at all.  Remember, we're the ones buying your product and are your ambassadors.  You need us if you want your game to succeed and if you want new players to buy your stuff.  We have long memories and we reward those companies who treat us right and keep a tight rein on our checkbooks with those who toss us aside like so much trash.  Remember how comic and game shops were treated by Wizards of the Coast when Pokemon was such a massive hit a few years ago?  I know I and others retailers haven't forgotten.