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Thread: What can we do to stop runs in limited quantities?

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    Zebbe's Avatar
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    Yuck What can we do to stop runs in limited quantities?

    With the recent Ultracore debacle in mind, it's more apparent than ever having runs in limited quantity brings more bad than good to the table:

    *Games are announced with short notice before their pre-orders, which gives a very small time window to both have the money and time to make a pre-order.
    *The small time window and quantity also leaves room for inflating the prices.
    *Scalpers hoard multiple copies they later sell for topgold profit at eBay.
    *If a game has more than, say 1000 potential buyers, many of them will miss out if the quantity is 1000 copies.
    *Rarity rather than quality will be a bigger factor in sales, which devalues the software itself.
    *etc. etc.

    So, well, what can we do? I guess avoiding buying games which are in no need of re-print, is one thing. Case in point:

    https://kotaku.com/look-at-these-sta...xes-1835822477

    Gleylancer is a different matter, as the game is so rare and expensive these days, a re-print is warranted.

    Those of us who are developers can avoid limited runs. I'm not totally against it. Having a collector edition as part of a Kickstarter campaign is completely justifiable to cover the big expenses of game dev. Plus, the amount of time to get to know about the game and to get a salary to pay for it, is much bigger. AND, Kickstarters also usually have a regular edition which gets re-printed if sold out and still in demand. These quick cash-grabs don't!

    It's a late night and I'm probably rambling too much, so I'll just stop here.
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    Master of Shinobi Gentlegamer's Avatar
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    Kill every collectard.

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    AKA Mister Xiado WCPO Agent Raijin Z's Avatar
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    Ease of piracy really takes the edge off of collecting. When you have a game on a flash cart, or at least can fire it up in an emulator in seconds, you tend not to get hot and bothered about reprints of rare games. You can still buy games, but there's no monkey on your back pushing you to do it. It becomes a matter of simple desire, rather than a compulsion in the face of missing an opportunity.
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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    I only buy what I want to play. I care not for monetary value.



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    Master of Shinobi
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    Difficult to say. Doing a limited run makes sense to the companies doing them so it's hard to change their minds on how they're done.

    That being said, I'm sure there must be ways to deter scalpers. One copy per address would be a start. Yeah, I'm sure there might be a few households with more than one collector in, but I'd rather they went short instead of 90% of the stock going to people who will flip them for profit. Trouble is that there's very little incentive for publishers to do that as it might make selling all of their stock harder. Plus, there's always the suspicion that there might be collusion between some staff at these limited publishers and some scalpers.

    Though limited runs make some sense, unless there's some shady business going on I don't see any disadvantage in taking pre-orders or running a Kickstarter instead. That way they know how many copies need to be produced, have the cash to do it upfront, and there's very little risk.

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    Hedgehog Lord Jesse813's Avatar
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    This reminds of a game which had a limited run which mr zebbe had a hand in

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    Heat Guy WCPO Agent Lync's Avatar
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    I would say starting with a limited release is a means to measure interest - If it sells out, that becomes a cue to further prints.

    But if I'm wrong, and that these people are looking to profit from an angle of creating a price bubble around a game they control publishing of, that's straight crazy.

    I mean, imagine how many reproductions of this game will then surface. As many as there are people who get off about spending and owning something difficult to obtain, there will always be just as many people who don't care about the "official" printing and will acquire a physical copy regardless of its authenticity. Especially with this, an after-market game.

    For me, I only own and play physical copies, but I'm not desperate to play something because a limited printing or especially that I don't already own with another game like Mega Turrican.

    So the only evident answer to me in this case: Don't buy in.

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    Regarding Gley Lancer, a title I really enjoy - I own a reproduction of it.

    If it had a release in the country I live in, I'd either own it legitimately or not at all if I didn't have the means. But that's just my rule.

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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Pier Solar had multiple runs.

    That's probably the important difference: one thing is a limited run for economical reasons (where you'll be willing to make more runs if there's enough demand to cover the costs), another is the whole bullshit of announcing artificial scarcity ahead of time to signal hoarders to do their thing, and sadly we know there are enough of them to make that business model feasible even if everybody else bails out.

    Extremely important however is to call bullshit to the idea that you can only make money if you pander to hoarders, er, "collectors" with intentional scarcity (you know what kind of people I'm talking about). Tanglewood sold more than these runs without these tactics, so don't come at me saying that you can't sell that much without that bait. I'd like to see how much Xeno Crisis ends up selling but I could see it being as high or even higher (given the hype). They may not be huge numbers but they're definitely larger and showing that the whole concept is bullshit.

    EDIT: I suppose that if your first run is sold out you could always announce a second run may happen if there's enough demand as a way to actively warn hoarders that you don't intend to keep it scarce.

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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    I don't know if they have more than one print run but Play-Asia often has the same games LRG has and often can still buy them months later.



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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    Metal Jesus recently covered a game called Poop Slinger for the PS4, that only had 84 copies shipped. The whole thing seems really suspicious, because the company somehow went out of business within days of putting the game up for sale online. I wonder if this Limited Run games knockoff is going to start selling copies (they probably still have) of this game on Ebay to reap the benefits of the fools willing to pay too much for a rare game?

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    Some thoughts:

    • Some people are asking why a publisher would intentionally limit supply when they could profit more by making more copies. That's not always the case, though. When buyers are pushed into a "now or never" situation, it is easier for them to justify the purchase to themselves since they want to avoid the regret of missing out. If it's an unlimited run, then it is easy to hold off on the purchase for later (and forget about it). Just ask Piko about it - he's complained here about having trouble selling many copies of his games because he avoids the limited run style. From the publisher's perspective, it makes more sense to get an immediate 1000 sales than risk getting a few hundred over a period of months/years (during which time they have to pay for storage and continued advertising).
    • The thing that makes this sutation worse for users is that the publisher does not have any commitment to the original developer. They've licensed or acquired the rights to the game and have set some profit goal for it, and beyond that they don't really seem to care about making the game available. If this were a new game, no sane developer would want to work with a publisher that intentionally limited the exposure of the game. As I recall, Limited Run Games got started by making physical copies of digital-only games - in other words, just an added bonus for collecters. But Ultracore is a bit different since it's not available to play on original hardware (not counting Mega SG) outside of the 1000 copies produced by Strictly Limited.
    • If you don't like this situation, then all there really is to do is speak with your wallet and not buy the game. Every dollar thrown at publishers doing this is a dollar supporting it as a viable business model.

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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    If you don't like this situation, then all there really is to do is speak with your wallet and not buy the game. Every dollar thrown at publishers doing this is a dollar supporting it as a viable business model.
    The problem with this one is precisely what I said earlier: there are enough hoarders willing to buy enough copies (either through lack of item count or through exploits with bot accounts) that they can keep doing it even if everybody else bailed out (and in fact everybody else is nearly forcefully kicked out because of the hoarders rushing to grab all copies before anybody else can get their hands on them). Good luck with that suggestion.

    Honestly, Ultracore seems to be a shitty situation all around. We should worry more about ensuring people don't want to start copying the idea with other games that aren't yet available at this point.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingNameless One Zygrunt's Avatar
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    Apparently, https://www.strictlylimitedgames.com/ makes their whole business around this. Their front page reads: "Everything we offer will be only available in strictly limited production numbers – no reprints."

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    AKA Mister Xiado WCPO Agent Raijin Z's Avatar
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    Reminds me of when Mattel was selling masterpiece-class Masters of the Universe figures in extremely limited quantities on their website. "Collectards" (as I guess is the preferred parlance around these parts) would initially buy up the whole stock the slow way, but eventually figured out the server hooks, and made their own systems for submitting orders without the website itself, which would often lag or crash due to the excessive traffic at the time of each sale. Mattel was informed of this, and indicated that they didn't care, as long as the product sold.
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    Outrunner Mad Moham's Avatar
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    I think it would help if people started demanding roms more than physical copies. When I bought Castlevania SOTN I couldn't understand why physical copies sell for $300+ when the game can be downloaded for $10 since I'm playing the same game regardless of how I purchased it. If buyers demanded roms then there's less incentive for hoarders and scalpers since there's much less chance of a limited run of a rom, though I know it has happened before with some downloads that have been removed from PSN.

    It could also help to just shoot scalpers.
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