Monday, October 30, 2006

WOW! It's Cardboard Crack

This Wednesday was the official release day of Upper Deck's World of Warcraft (WOW) collectable card game (CCG). Upper Deck couldn't have printed enough of this if they started 6 months ago running the presses 24/7!

Upper Deck sells direct, as well as via distributors. They had a time frame during which stores could buy direct from them, and before this time-frame was up they'd already sold out of what they had. Distributors were getting phone calls from many of these Upper Deck accounts who called too late to get their product direct from Upper Deck, and the few extra cases of product distributors ordered were soon reserved by these stores.

This past Wednesday, October 25th, was the game's release. We had asked some of the people we know are into WOW if they'd be interested in the card game, and most of them weren't interested and a couple showed slight interest at best, saying they "might check it out." Around October 1, after every pack and starter already printed was pretty much reserved by stores across the country, we started to get a few people asking about the game. Still not enough to make me think it was going to be anything more than a bit of interest.

The day of the release we received two boxes of 6 starters each and a box of 24 booster packs. We figured that would be enough for at least a week or two. Well, about an hour after we'd opened on October 25th we knew we were dead wrong on that! I had gotten emails and phone calls from people asking us to hold boosters and starters as well as people who drove out for it, found out we didn't have them in yet, but would come back around 2 pm, after our delivery came in. Frantically we called the distributor we'd gotten our first batch from, and were sad to hear they were out, and even if they got more we'd be way down on the waiting list.

After a few more phone calls to a few more distributors we managed to snag another 2 boxes of booster packs, which arrived on Thursday. We still thought we'd have enough starters, but then people started coming in to buy those. We had to limit it to 2 starters per person per day. After hunting around, we found a distributor who carries manly baseball cards who still had some starters in stock, but at a higher price than what we'd paid for the original boxes. We needed them - people were still looking for the stuff. So, we bought them and received them Friday. We had to mark them up $5 more, just because we'd paid quite a bit more to get these.

So, are you keeping count? We got 24 boosters and 12 starters on Wednesday, 48 boosters on Thursday and 12 starters on Friday. That was LAST WEEK. A total of 5 days have gone by since the game's release. I am now officially COMPLETELY OUT of WOW CCG!

We've gotten in touch with a couple of distributors who say they DO have more in stock. However, and here's the true demonstration of supply and demand, the price from them for me has literally DOUBLED since my initial order. Well, we opted not to get any at these inflated prices - either we'd have to sell them for NO PROFIT (and really, that doesn't pay the rent, doees it?) or mark them up to DOUBLE their original price. Sure, we probably could STILL sell them, that's how hot it is right now. There are individual cards from the set going for over $200 on eBay! This stuff is absolutly cardboard crack right now.

Now, to ad insult to injury. Upper Deck announced on Thursday the 26th that they'd be able to have more printed and ready to go to stores on November 22nd. They were only going to have a very limited supply and limited the quantity that accounts could order from them. Within 15 minutes of their having sent out this announcment the quantity they were offering was gone. Seriously, by the time we opened the email that day at the store there weren't any more for us to buy!

The next full printing of this series in the game is not due out until January 2007. Of course, the question now is weather or not it will maintain this momentum for that long. Order too much and money sits on the shelves collecting dust. Order too few and money walks out the door every time you have to tell someone you don't have any more of it.

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