Mary Couzin, a regular blogger on Global Toy News and one of the most knowledgeable people in the board game industry, wrote a response to my article, “Games Are a Struggle for Hasbro, Zynga, Nintendo and Microsoft; What Does it Mean?” In that Mary is so knowledgeable about and such an advocate for board games, I felt that her comments deserved to prominently posted. Here is what Mary had to say:
A recent article, “Board games and our industry changing”. states, "(board games) Sales are rising year on year, while the hobby's biggest convention (Spiel, in Essen, Germany) now attracts more attendees than E3 and PAX combined."
I've been to Spiel, over 154,000 attendees looking for the hottest new board games (and toys to a lesser extent), and it inspired me to found ChiTAG (although I need toys and entertainment at our Fair to attract mass appeal, unlike Spiel). At Spiel the attendees are the people you see buying at mass market (loads of families), not a hobby crowd like GenCon or Origins.
What about the incredible expansion of Marbles the Brain Store across the country and that Barnes and Noble's board game sales are up 30%. If you look at their games, it is a wide variety, including many Eurogames. Settlers of Catan has sold over 25 million worldwide. Settlers and other 'gateway' hobby games can be found in the mass now.
I don't agree with the article’s (“Board games and our industry changing” dissing on popular games. People want choices, different experiences on different platforms as well as different types of games within one platform and they are buying them everywhere.
There is a significant segment that is not being accounted for in the board games sales numbers –
Barnes and Noble, Marbles and the plethora of other places games (all types of games – euro, indie) are being purchased online and offline. At ASTRA (a growing show) both Spin
Master and Mattel were giving special discounts or lowering their opening orders and offering free shipping to the specialty. Mattel even sponsored a lunch. It is a different world. Everything is changing. The Mayans may be right, the world as we know it ends in 2012, but the new possibilities are exciting. We need to embrace it and think differently.