Black Friday Part V

“I’ve heard it said before that a game that’s ninety-nine percent finished is worth exactly zero dollars. So ‘getting it done’ is really the only goal.”
– Anonymous, Game Developer, on the company’s ultimate goal

Part V: Black Friday

This article is being posted on Black Friday for a reason. The holiday season is the biggest time of year for the gaming industry. Black Friday is the biggest day of the holiday season. By that logic, today is the biggest day of the holiday season.

It’s up to you whether you want to support this industry on this crucial day. If you’ve got a 7-year old who would give his right arm for a Nintendo DS, that’s all well and good. But if you didn’t pre-order it, don’t expect any cooperation for your local VGR. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that while every other major retailer is having a huge Thanksgiving weekend sale, in the case of at least one well-known Video Game Retailer, the only “sale” items you’ll be able to find are bundles that include used games and systems.

When we’re talking about the gaming industry, we’re talking about one of the fastest-growing industries in the entire world. Video game bigwigs like to put their products on the same level as compact discs and DVDs, and perhaps sooner rather than later, video games will have the sales numbers, revenue, and mass appeal that other categories have. But that cannot happen unless the industry gets its act together in a major way.

The complaints aired out in this feature might be considered harsh; however, I challenge anybody to disprove their validity. The gaming industry has profited from the fact that they happen to deliver an irresistible product. Because if the product was anything less than top-notch, people would never put up with what they are routinely subjected to. People can rely on the DVD industry. In no way, shape, or form can gamers rely on their industry to take care of them. That has to change.

No business, corporation, or industry has succeeded without putting its customers ahead of all else. Somehow, gaming has done well for itself without even giving the slightest thought to what its customers might prefer. It’s almost wrong, actually. Imagine having to place a $0.30 deposit on milk just to make sure there’s a gallon waiting for you. Imagine running out of medication, then ordering a prescription that the pharmacy might fill today, might fill tomorrow, maybe the next day, or might even get delayed into the next calendar year. If this horrifies you, then the current state of video gaming should horrify you as well.

Everywhere else you look, the customer is the priority. In the gaming industry, the companies and retailers have adopted this holier-than-thou mentality that borders on clique-ish. We, the customers, aren’t privileged enough to get information about games we’re prepared to spend obscene amounts of money on. And if we ask a question about a game at our local VGR, we’ll either get a sarcastic response or a hard sell on pre-ordering the game.

Again, Black Friday is the customer’s day – it’s almost like Christmas for the smart shopper. As you shop for yourself and your loved ones, look at the CD rack and think about how often you’ve come to the store on a Tuesday and found the new CD you wanted for $10. Look at the DVD rack and think of how many times you’ve not only left with a new Special Edition DVD for $15, but also two other great movies for just $20 more. Then, look at the video game rack and think about how many times you’ve called a store ten times on the date when the store was most likely to have released the game for sale, only to find that the game was delayed three months with no notice.

Think about how many times you’ve been treated unfairly by the video game industry, then think about going back to the CD or DVD section. Think about it – who deserves your money more, an industry that wants you to enjoy what it has to offer, or one that couldn’t care less about anything you do?

Think about it.