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Figure Exclusives

Posted by zerofigures on October 20, 2008

With the recently announced Queen’s Gate Mai Shiranui being exclusive to Hobby Japan as a mail in, I cannot help but feel somewhat burned.  Obviously Japan is the center of the market, but a vast majority of collectors do not live in Japan (I for one).  Having a figure be exclusive to retailer is unfair, especially having a figure exclusive to a retailer which will not ship outside of Japan.  It causes many people to miss out on items that they want.  Some may know of other routes to go to obtain their “precious”, but not all do. 

One route is the dreaded eBay.  Hopefully this figure is not bootlegged and people won’t end up buying fake figures.  The other method is a proxy service, where someone in Japan orders the item for you, and when they receive it, they in turn ship it to you.  I have done this once and have had pleasant results.  I was a bit afraid at first because I had just given some dude in Japan my hard earned greenbacks but everything worked it.  This service is not for the paranoid as you’ll be constantly wondering if your precious will ever arrive.  With no one to really have your back when dealing with proxies, I feel like its a risk, but I’d do it again for a HTF PVC.  And oh yeah, they do charge a fee, which can differ depending upon who you go to. 

Apparently some companies feel this is a good idea and maybe in a few ways it is.  But only in a few ways, which benefit the retailer selling the item and not the end user/consumer.  Since it’s a Hobby Japan mail in exclusive, people will have to buy the magazine which will drive up print sales.  By Megahouse giving such a sought after figure to Hobby Japan, HJ more than likely agreed to give Megahouse’s figures a large amount of placement in there magazine of something of the sort.  Basically a “one hand washes the other” kind of deal.  While I do not know the specifics of the two companies and how they maybe related, it just doesn’t do anything positive for the collectors.

Coincidentally, while reading Billboard Magazine this morning, HMV Canada is starting a “say no to retail exclusives” campaign.  In their full one page ad, they show how popular artists such as AC/DC, Christina Aguilera, and John Mellencamp have already said no to retail exclusives on Canada.  Apparently through online surveys taken by thousands of people, consumers have expressed that “they don’t like these retail exclusives” and “they don’t like being told where to shop for their music”. 

It’s not just consumers that don’t like exclusives; other retailers missing out don’t like them either.  I worked in the music business for nearly 5 years and a number of exclusive tracks have crossed my path.  Whether it be a remix to a #1 single or an exclusive backstage footage clip, the bonus that retailer “X” does not receive while retailer “Y” does, hurts retailer “X”.  It means lower sales for retailer “X”.  Consider a mom and pop shop or an internet startup who can’t afford to get a bonus exclusive, while a retail giant like Best Buy does, they obviously won’t be able to stay in business very long.  That reminds me of an old Martin Paint shop and ACE true Value Hardware that used to be in my area.  Once the Home Depot came to town they just couldn’t compete with their prices and deals and had to close up shop.

Exclusives do not support the industry, IMO they cripple it.  Those who are able to get their hands on an exclusive item are able to charge a markup and may be buying primarily for resale purposes and not to enjoy the item as normal consumers might.

I for one call for an end to PVC figure exclusives.  While this entire page is in regard to music exclusives, the idea is the same.  I don’t like retail exclusives and i don’t like being told where to buy my PVC from.



One Response to “Figure Exclusives”

  1. Jeremy said

    I don’t mind exclusive packaging on DVDs or CDs since, at the end of the day, you’ve still got the same product.

    But as far as retail exclusive figures or tracks or things like that, I don’t like it either. Masterpiece Starscream was only available in Wal-Mart, where I don’t shop because of their policies. But policies and boycotts aside, sometimes it is just not possible for you to get to the exclusive retailer.

    As an aside, convention exclusives are OK in my opinion. I never get them because I don’t go to conventions, but I think it is fair for the convention goers to get something extra special.

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