Abbi Marie | 27th September 2018
So just recently WoTC released an announcement stating:
“One of the core tenets of our fan-focused strategy is to make sure we deliver Magic to players when, where, and how they want it. For example, Magic has long been available on Amazon from various stores and distributors, but we’ve formalized a direct relationship with Amazon in the United States to give players who order their product through that channel a better experience. (In many parts of the globe, Magic has already been available directly from Amazon and other online retailers). To that end, Magic will also be available directly online from Walmart and Target in the United States as well.”
There was a whole article but I won’t copy and paste it all, you get the gist. It basically means WoTC have stopped selling product directly to Local Game Stores and have started selling directly to Amazon, Walmart, and Target, who are now selling full boxes of Magic boosters for $90 (plus tax). Those same boxes then cost LGS about $80 from a distributor and are then normally sold anywhere up from $100 (plus tax), for a profit margin to be possible, and even at $100 that is a poor profit margin.
Or that’s a part of it, but It’s the part I want to talk about today, as it’s caused a bit of an uproar.
Now this is all in Dollars, and Walmart and Target aren’t actually in the UK, but because it has started in the USA it was the easiest way to look at it. Regardless of USA/UK however, this does affect the general future of LGS and options for us, as Magic players. This entire situation has set the Internet on fire. “WoTC is crippling LGS” or “WoTC is going to put LGS out of business to make more money with big retailers.” Etc etc. Everybody’s freaking out!
Because we aren’t in the ’90s anymore you can’t pretend the Internet doesn’t exist when running a business. Naturally, most players will spend the extra few quid with LGS because they provide us with a sense of community and a safe place to play, meet new people and experience new games. However, where is that line drawn? If WoTC makes it difficult for LGS to sell a booster box at a reasonable price in comparison to Amazon or Walmart, where is your limit? As much as I wish I could, I literally couldn’t afford to spend 40$ more on something I could get that much cheaper, and that’s the sad thing.
I think in situations like this we need to remember who is at fault. WoTC has done the community a wrong here, not the players who may choose to buy some product from Amazon, or Walmart. Situations like this can bring out the worst in the community, but attacking people that say they buy some booster packs with their weekly shop isn’t going to solve anything, and dare I say it they should be able to do that without other players shunning them for it.
Now trying to look at it from a neutral point of view, I live in an area where I don’t actually have an LGS, our FNMs are hosted at a pub in town by the local Waterstones or at the community center (which some players don’t even have so It’s better than nothing) and I hear horror stories of people in the USA that would have to drive 3 hours to reach a LGS. If those people want a box off Amazon to draft with their friends, or a few boosters with their shopping that they may have also driven 2 hours to reach then they should 100% be able to. If I want singles I HAVE to buy them online, because I don’t have the luxury of choice without planning to travel somewhere for it, which with a 9-5 is very difficult. If I ever need sleeves or things like that I will wait till I travel to Manaleak or another LGS on occasion because we do need to support these guys in what they do, and make sure they stick around, but it’s all a happy medium, and we need to remember the only people making it difficult for LGS to compete and keep up is WoTC, not the community surrounding it.
It is also a terrible but true situation that not all LGS are all that good in terms of stock and supply. This is not always the LGS fault, and this is what WoTC needs to help with. But if you physically can’t get something at your LGS you shouldn’t just go without, you are well within your right to get things elsewhere.
I am part of so many Magic groups online and I’ve seen so much of people being horrible to each other about it, and It makes me so sad to see things being thrown around like this about a situation that is predominately out of our control. We need to do as much as possible to support our LGS and keep them going! But we can’t blame each other for the horrible position WoTC have put us and LGS in. If you want to get a box to draft off Amazon, but go down to your LGS for FNM the next week get some coffee, pick up some singles and sleeves, meet new people, play some games, then that should be 100% okay. Support you LGS whenever you can in whatever way you can! But don’t let people shame you for perhaps not doing quite as much as them, or having to look elsewhere for certain things.
So we can get a cheaper product on Amazon delivered to our door? Great, That’s what I hated most about LGS, having to go down, say hi to all the lovely people, have a coffee, play some magic, kick some butt as well as pick up the stuff I needed. Thank goodness you’re penalizing that, I mean come on WoTC, really?!?!
Bottom line, WoTC have done LGS and us as players a fault, not by making these deals with Amazon, Walmart etc, there is essentially nothing wrong with these movements, but what is wrong is the withdrawing of support towards LGS. The more they expand themselves as a company, the more LGS seem to be left in the lurch. They need to step up their game and do more, prove to us they understand that they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for all us mugs buying all their products! They have stated that they will be doing things for LGS as well as this Amazon deal, like exclusives and more ‘experiments’.
Well Wizards, we’re waiting.