I was driving today and passed by one of the local FLGS in my area. Well, not really an FLGS (like I talked about before) but one of the game shops nearby.
It was closed.
This is now the third game shop in my area to close within the past year. Honestly, this one I’m not going to miss because they failed to earn the “F” in FLGS, but it still makes me pause. The stated reasons were the end of their lease, an unwillingness to renew in their present location, and an apparent lack of desire to find another location. Several time they mentioned, “the game industry is changing.” This got me thinking.
As much as I want an FLGS, financially it just does not make sense for me to purchase from them. I have to budget my dollars and being able to buy a game through Amazon or one of the major on-line retailers is less expensive. I also often buy direct from publishers with some form of pre-order or pledge or to take advantage of sales. Then there is the 800-pound gorilla in the industry – Kickstarter. I still have mixed feelings about getting games through Kickstarter but I find myself doing it more than I thought I would.
Many game shops these days need large gaming spaces because apparently players demand that they be able to play at the store. I guess this works (sorta) if one is big into Magic: The Gathering or organized Fantasy Fight Games play of X-Wing or the like. These big tournaments are turnstile dollars – needed to support the rent becasue game sales certainly won’t! But if you are a casual gamer, like myself, this often hyper-competitive play can be off-putting.
I have noticed the rise of more boardgame cafes in my area. The ability to mix food and drink with gaming is appealing. Maybe it is something we can try. I am stil concerned about the dollar value – and I can be picky about my food (good food is important).
“The game industry is changing.” I don’t know where it is going, but around me it’s less stores, more cafes. What about your area?