Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sneak Peeks Vs. Pre-releases: And the Winner Is....



I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  while both make me money, I much prefer WOTC’s Magic Pre-releases to a Yu Gi Oh Sneak Peek (Still waiting to get approved for Pokemon Pre-releases and Wizkids keeps having to push back their scheduled release dates to the point that scheduling a pre-release for any of their games is problematic. The last time we tried running a release tournament for a HeroClix product, we found out a week ahead of time that the date of the release had moved back a week. Sigh.). We ran a Sneak Peek for the Yu Gi Oh Secrets of Eternity last weekend and are wrapping up a Pre-release weekend for  the new Magic set, Fate Reforged, as I write this.
There are two major reasons I prefer a WOTC event to a Konami one:

1)      More flexibility in running the event.  I can understand some of Konami’s concerns regarding running tournaments, since they generally perceive as they company generally perceives the game as targeting younger players (most Yu Gi Oh players that play here and in other stores with which I am familiar are high school age and up), but having to run events between during certain times of the day excludes the possibility of a midnight release for a new set as well as running evening events. Additionally, Konami wants stores to submit 3 photographs of each event, get the ages of players as well as their sex and poll them as to their favorite and least favorite cards. WOTC does not ask for any of that. Running a pre-release is hectic enough as it is without the additional headache of asking questions of players regarding age and card likes during the event.

2)      More profitability in running the event. Konami sets a $20 limit that stores can charge for the Sneak Peek and the only prizes provided are the promo card and playmats. If a store wants to give out additional prizes, and over time tournament prizing has conditioned players to expect additional prizing at a pre-release event. Ergo, if a store wants to offer additional prizes, the store has to foot the cost and cannot charge anything extra to cover the cost of the additional prizes. Any more prizes provided come directly out of the store’s gross, making the Sneak Peek much less profitable for stores to run. Contrast this with WOTC, which provides displays of boosters at no charge for stores to use as prizing for the event AND allows stores to charge whatever they way, rather than mandating a specific fee. Unlike Konami, WOTC appears to realize that  pre-releases are highly competitive events, meaning that competition will work to keep the fees stores charge for pre-releases within a certain competitive range, generally within the $20 to $30 dollar range, though I did hear of stores going as cheap as $15 for a Fate Reforged event