So, the NinjaBeaver fancies playing a new game on his PS3. Finished Red Dead Redemption (a thoroughly enjoyable game. A bit buggy and full of ninja cougars and bears plus bad guys who have the usual bad guy magic bullets that can go through walls and kill you with one shot from 500 yards away. But the textures are beautiful and the horses are some of the best ever in the world of console gaming. Better than GTA IV and sequel please) and so can do trade-in plus a few extra credits on a gamestore card.
The NinjaBeaver likes the look of Demon Souls, something of a Diablo clone that has gained the reputation of being one of the hardest games going. Faint hearts and Sims players need not apply.
Now, the NinjaBeaver resides in something of a one-horse town. It’s very beautiful, old and a location finder’s wet dream if they have a role in making an Agatha Christie movie. Upon moving here my suspicions should have been aroused by the fact that it has no dvd/cd store, HMV having shut up shop earlier (and if you are the only big media outlet in the area and cannot make a profit? Then you have a problem). The town does seem to have about six grocery superstores all within walking distance of each other-but I digress.
Back to wanting to buy Demon Souls.
NinjaBeaver walks into the local gamestore (one of two in the town centre and still there so they must have the customer base). The Demon Souls boxes are on the shelves, good price too. Picks one up, takes it to the payment desk.
“Sorry, we don’t have any in stock”.
NinjaBeaver’s incredulous stare may have given the hapless store assistant the idea that telling the truth would be the best policy.
“Well, we did get some in but they’ve all gone on pre-order”.
The NinjaBeaver’s stare now turns into something that would freeze a lava flow and a myriad number of questions start to run through the NinjaBeaver’s brain.
This is a Triple AAA game, with a cult following that this store has been advertising in it’s front window for over a month and on it’s release day you are telling me that you’ve none in stock?! That all your store or chain buyer ordered was enough for pre-orders?! That people who cannot or do not wish to order online, in fact still want to support their local shopping centre, cannot just walk in and buy it off the shelf?! Hell, if this was the new GTA, WOW add-on or IPhone 4 I could understand, the media megastore that the NinjaBeaver use to work for DID sell out of GTA IV on release day (over 300 hundred copies. Go 446!). But something like Demon Souls?! That you will now probably not get any more copies in until the following week therefore depriving your store of valuable income over a busy weekend?!
“We have plenty of Naughty Bear”.
The NinjaBeaver wishes that Kinect was already available so he could demonstrate an impossible and illegal maneuver.
So, NinjaBeaver walks over to the other gamestore in town (who just happen to be owned by the previous store).
“Sorry, sold out. All gone on pre-orders”.
The NinjaBeaver now feels a rage that would involve a taxi and a gun (too soon?).
The NinjaBeaver has worked in retail. For over twenty years, plus owning his own store and he knows that you should always have enough stock for pull-list, pre-order and shelf. To do less is robbing yourself of income.
Ninja Beaver Studios CEO says that it’s only a game, be patient, but that’s not the point. NinjaBeaver should not have to pre-order a game to be able to play it on release day (and place a deposit that will sit in the nameless game stores bank (Game and Gamestation), earning interest for them, not NinjaBeaver). The NinjaBeaver should not have to order online and hope that it will turn up in a decent condition and not have the hassle of returning a faulty product by mail (which happens a lot more than the online retailers like to admit). In fact the NinajBeaver should just be able to walk into town, pick something off the shelf and pay for it. Does that make him something of a retail dinosaur? Hardly. It’s the wish of someone who wishes to peruse an item before making their minds up. It’s the wish of someone who still enjoys the shopping experience. It’s the wish of someone who wants to see town centres stop devolving into places fit only for chavs and drunks.
It’s just the wish of someone who just wants to be able to buy a product.