Is the Virtual Console Bad for Indie Retailers? Part 1: Pink Godzilla

26 02 2008

If you have a Wii (and are connected to the internet) chances are you’ve used the Virtual Console system. It seems like the service is a dream, releasing a few classic games from various platforms to be downloaded right into your living room each week. Did you ever stop to think, however, that this might be affecting retail stores? Does the fact that these classic and sometimes rare games are available instantly mean trouble for small indie game stores? You know, the kind that specializes in retro games ans systems? I did. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking to a few of these said retailers to see if and how the Virtual Console is affecting their businesses.
This week I spoke to Greg, one of the owners of ‘Pink Godzilla Games’ in Seattle, WA. You may know Pink Godzilla for their wonderful collectible card game “Dev Kit” which was released last year. At it’s core, ‘Pink Godzilla’ is a store that “caterers to two distinct crowds, Casual and Hardcore” Greg says. I asked him about the Virtual Console and he replied, “The extreme convenience of the Virtual Console system is attractive”. Greg thinks that his business will be impacted by Nintendo’s distribution service but not in a bad way. “More people are able to discover these classic games which creates new collectors”. New collectors is good for business but with the release of some truly rare titles on the VC such as ‘Sin and Punishment’ I wondered if the demand for the physical copies of the game would decrease. Greg says he always tried to keep import copies of ‘Sin and Punishment’ in stock. Now when he gets copies in, the fly off the shelf because of the exposure of the game by Nintendo. But surly since these game are readily available for far less then one would pay for in a store the value of the physical game would go down, right? Greg thinks that’s probably the case. He’ll be able to sell the games but he’ll adjust his pricing now that those rare games are readily available to download. “When it comes down to it” he says, “collectors will still want the physical media”.

In the case of Pink godzilla, the impact hasn’t been very noticeable according to Greg. What about other retailers? Is the Virtual console affecting even smaller stores? Check back later this week for another interview, this time with Game World of Las Vegas.

What do you think? Check out the message board post HERE to sound off!




One response

26 02 2008

Probably not just the VC but XBLA and PSN as well. But I don’t see what’s wrong with either of them. I still will find the original cartridge and systems when I could.
Having them all in one console and downloading them is nice, but having the actual game and system is the way to go, IMHO.

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