(COMMENT FROM WEB PAGE)
AMOA DENOUNCES DIRECT SALES – (posted Friday, July 11, 2008 — 8:30PM)
In a stinging editorial published in the AMOA’s weekly email newsletter Off-The-Top, the association decried reports of “direct sales solicitations to location customers” by manufacturers. “Since the beginning of time, factories have been compelled to sell product to keep their doors open. If distributors and operators are not buying enough, or not buying enough fast enough, then manufacturers feel forced to look at their options,” the editorial said. “But, really, have distributors and operators EVER bought enough, fast enough for factories?”
The opinion piece went on to recognize that the economy is hurting all tiers of the trade, but said that selling direct is a case of reaching the “‘cut-your-nose-to-spite-your-face’ juncture a bit prematurely.
“Making direct sales solicitation to locations violates one of the most basic rules of engagement,” the editorial concluded. “It would be a futile search to find ops who understand or respect this practice. Tough times always test relationships. Operators will remember those trading partners who support them when business is a challenge for a long time. Operators will remember those trading partners who don’t support them when business is a challenge.”
The Stinger’s response
(STINGER REPORT STATEMENT)
This reads like a veiled threat to stop operators going direct – The worry is that with Tekken6, Street Fighter IV, and a number of other games not being shipped into America by entrenchment and slow manufacturers they are worried that operators will go direct to get their hands on these games and totally ignore the AMOA doctrine, and the needs of distributors and local offices of the manufacturers. This statement could be the writing on the wall for the old style approach to getting arcade hardware, and could mark the collase of the association structure. Boy are they worried! – and its nice that they are a full year late on recognizing the situation – we ran the story in the Stinger in… 2006!
I can appreciate what the AMOA is trying to do – I know that buying direct as opposed to going through a distributor has been a hot topic of debate in the industry for a while now and that distributors are still an integral part of the industry although as TSR points out, things do change. Personally I have had an excellent experience with my distributor, Mountain Coin Op as they have assisted me in every way I could imagine, beyond just getting products but there are times when getting hardware from a distributor may not be possible for certain reasons. I do wonder who the AMOA is targetting directly here but it is unclear.
If a company cannot or refuses to carry a product in their line and an operator wants it, there is nothing wrong with them getting that product elsewhere. It will not ruin a relationship with the distributor – I have several games I bought from other sources than just my distributor and they are OK with me. I can only speak for my distributor though as every company is different and while they aren’t all perfect some are better than others – it was an outrage what one distributor did to The Act, which killed off the most original arcade game seen in years and in that case I would have preferred to see direct sales. It is behavior like that that can discourage manufacturers from wanting to to provide their product through distribution if they realize that it may take a back seat to more well-known products. It’s a delicate balance and I don’t claim to have a solution to the problem but I think that each side – operators, distributors and manufacturers have their own valid points to be considered.