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View Full Version : Best Buy and late releases



VirtualAce
11-18-2008, 05:35 PM
Need For Speed: Undercover was to be released in North America on Nov. 17. I go to Best Buy and they tell me Tuesday is the day for new releases. So I go back Tuesday and still no game. I had to ask the management about the game and come to find out they had it in the back but did not unpack it.

1. PC sales are hard enough as it is without Best Buy messing the release dates up.
2. How can Best Buy or any other store determine when they are going to release the game to the shelves?
3. How bad does this hurt first day/week sales where games make most of their money?
4. Can Best Buy get into trouble for not releasing on the date specified? I know they can get into trouble for releasing early but what about releasing late?

zacs7
11-18-2008, 05:50 PM
2. When the kids out back unpack the box
3. Lots I guess, if you can't buy it!
4. Don't think so, unless they had an agreement with the publisher / marketing.

VirtualAce
11-18-2008, 06:02 PM
I guess its not that big of a deal since the first month is actually the window of greatest revenue for a new release - generally speaking. I think Sims2 actually made more money later as more and more people got caught up in the craze.

sean
11-18-2008, 06:40 PM
This kinda reminds me of the story on Slashdot today - about HP getting ticked at Microsoft for not being a committed partner.

I'm sure game companies have special deals with the larger sellers like BestBuy and EB Games, etc... If BestBuy fails to market the product a reasonably way - I would most certainly react the same way HP did to Microsoft. But then I'm ticked right now anyway. That's a bad way to do business.

SlyMaelstrom
11-18-2008, 06:43 PM
4. Can Best Buy get into trouble for not releasing on the date specified? I know they can get into trouble for releasing early but what about releasing late?Why should they? The developer has already sold the product. The only one losing revenue is the store. The Best Buy in question will sell the stock they've purchased... whether they release it now or a month from now. The problem is, as you said, games sell the best around their release time and Best Buy is missing the opportunity to take advantage of this.

That said, with the way the reviews are coming out for Undercover... I don't expect too many sales now or later.

sean
11-18-2008, 07:09 PM
The developer has already sold the product.


True, but once they've sold their stock - wouldn't they order more? If they do a poor job of marketing the first stock, they're not allowing future purchases to reach their full potential.

Now the actual "getting in trouble" part really depends on their deal. Game companies can't force anybody to buy - but I'm just assuming larger companies have deals made that they'll market the game a certain way.

SlyMaelstrom
11-18-2008, 07:38 PM
Now the actual "getting in trouble" part really depends on their deal. Game companies can't force anybody to buy - but I'm just assuming larger companies have deals made that they'll market the game a certain way.Perhaps, but that wouldn't simply be a burden on them for "being a large company." Any advertising that retailers would do in addition to what they would normally do I would expect, would receive compensation from the manufacturer... perhaps by selling the stock cheaper to the retailer or simply just giving the retailer advertising dollars. If I saw a Best Buy store not really advertising a game or not even releasing it on time, I would assume they're just not getting any advertising money from the manufacturer.

This is especially true for a video game manufacturer to electronics retailer relationship. Any given Best Buy might sell 10-15 copies of regular release like Need For Speed: Undercover. Price-wise, that isn't even the equivalent to one 42" LCD TV. How much of their own advertising budget do you think Best Buy is spending on a video game like that? The fact is, the Best Buy might not have even wanted to waste shelf space what with hot sellers like Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2 out now.

Perspective
11-18-2008, 09:04 PM
4. Can Best Buy get into trouble for not releasing on the date specified? I know they can get into trouble for releasing early but what about releasing late?

I would almost guarantee the answer is yes. Though if it's isolated in one store not likely. Shelf placement is a huge deal in marketing and it's often brought to bargaining tables. Companies like EA likely have deals with major retailers to guarantee them so much shelf space.

I know first hand that this happens in the music business, reps came around all of the time when I worked in a CD store to check how much shelf space their artists where getting.

Thantos
11-18-2008, 10:08 PM
Who goes to Best Buy to buy games?

VirtualAce
11-18-2008, 11:32 PM
Well the game doesn't work at all anyways. That wonderful MSVS 2005 just in time debugger comes up with an error. So I go to debug by clicking yes and the assembly instructions are:

00BBB120 movss xmm0,dword ptr ds:[0D22340h]
00BBB128 movsd xmm1,mmword ptr ds:[0BDA750h]

The error is on the last movsd. This appears to be moving data from xmm1 (MMX 1). MMWORD is a 64 bit type added in MSVS 2005 so is this ultimately a 64-bit instruction? Perhaps the game actually requires a 64-bit CPU?

Later on there are several SSE2 instructions which I do not believe my CPU supports. AMD only implemented SSE2 on 64-bit CPUs. Time to upgrade.

zacs7
11-18-2008, 11:47 PM
> Time to upgrade.
Nooo! I thought you were going to hold out until Windows 7?

There's nothing about 64bit being a requirement. Perhaps try a "patch" first? :p

VirtualAce
11-18-2008, 11:50 PM
I'm still going to run XP but I have to upgrade my CPU in order to play these games. They are fooling people by saying Pentium 4 or equivalent. However they fail to mention that P4's have SSE2 but Athlon XP's do not. These specs used to mean that whatever ran on a P4 would also run on an Athlon XP but since newer titles appear to be using SSE2 directly from assembly I will not be able to run any of them. So it's not really a matter of 64 bit CPU or 32-bit CPU as it is a matter of it won't run on an AMD 32-bit CPU since those do not have SSE2.

Another reason not to use pure assembly blocks in your code eh?

jwenting
11-19-2008, 03:47 AM
1) they're not "messing up" anything
2) it's called a free market economy for a reason. They can sell what they want when they want it.
3) hardly. The majority of diehards will have preordered it anyway. It might hurt the release on the pirate 2 pirate networks a bit, which is a good thing.
4) contracts usually only list a date/time prior to which it can NOT be sold, they don't require sales to start at some exact moment.

The store manager probably decided that there wasn't enough shelfspace to put it up yet (maybe some other big release recently that's still selling hot?) and people wanting it would ask for it anyway (as you did).
Or some junior employee failed to notice the box and didn't put it on the shelves in time.

VirtualAce
11-19-2008, 09:32 PM
People on the EA forums keep asking me if there is a way to disable some graphics or options so the game will run on my Athlon XP. Hehe. Not unless there is a patch that will divert the code to a section that does not use SSE2 but offers similar functionality at the cost of performance. SSE2 instructions absolutely will not execute on an Athlon XP. I'm 95% certain that the code won't run unless there is some type of CPU detect that is not working somewhere else in the code which is causing the P4 section to run instead of the Athlon XP. I would say that it's more likely EA just dumped the Athlon XP support and chose to use SSE2 since they figure not many have 32-bit AMD's anymore. Unless I'm completely wrong here I don't think there is any way past an illegal instruction exception.



1) they're not "messing up" anything

I would argue they are definitely messing up first month sales figures. Given that the first few days after release is probably the biggest profit window I would say they are messing up bad.



2) it's called a free market economy for a reason. They can sell what they want when they want it.

Um...that is not the definition of a free market economy. If a manufacturer buys shelf space, car lot space, etc, etc, and you do not market their product in said space that does not fall under free market economy.



3) hardly. The majority of diehards will have preordered it anyway. It might hurt the release on the pirate 2 pirate networks a bit, which is a good thing.

This is ignorant and irrelevant. The game is already available for download and has been cracked. Release dates have nothing to do with thieves.



4) contracts usually only list a date/time prior to which it can NOT be sold, they don't require sales to start at some exact moment.

You may be right on this point. In fact this is the only point that I cannot disagree or agree with you on b/c I just don't know enough about it.

Perspective
11-20-2008, 10:28 AM
>4) contracts usually only list a date/time prior to which it can NOT be sold, they don't require sales to start at some exact moment.


I dunno about this, maybe in general but for large releases I'd expect the contract to specify shelf space on the release date. That's how the music biz is anyway.

matsp
11-20-2008, 10:40 AM
Well the game doesn't work at all anyways. That wonderful MSVS 2005 just in time debugger comes up with an error. So I go to debug by clicking yes and the assembly instructions are:

00BBB120 movss xmm0,dword ptr ds:[0D22340h]
00BBB128 movsd xmm1,mmword ptr ds:[0BDA750h]

The error is on the last movsd. This appears to be moving data from xmm1 (MMX 1). MMWORD is a 64 bit type added in MSVS 2005 so is this ultimately a 64-bit instruction? Perhaps the game actually requires a 64-bit CPU?

Later on there are several SSE2 instructions which I do not believe my CPU supports. AMD only implemented SSE2 on 64-bit CPUs. Time to upgrade.

Correct. The first instruction is a SSE1 instruction (move scalar single precision), the second one is a SSE2 instruction (move scalar double precision).

I think they should have done proper detection of SSE2 - which they obviously haven't. SSE2 is pretty well defined how you detect it, so I don't see how they can have got that wrong unless they simply didn't do any checking at all [it either works or doesn't work on P4 as well].

VirtualAce
11-20-2008, 11:20 AM
I think they should have done proper detection of SSE2 - which they obviously haven't.


Maybe they just do not support 32-bit Athlon XP's. The box says P4 or equivalent which usually means Athlons will run it. However some games like Assassins' Creed and others have started using SSE2 which immediately drops support for any 32-bit AMD CPU.

SlyMaelstrom
11-20-2008, 11:26 AM
Maybe they just do not support 32-bit Athlon XP's. The box says P4 or equivalent which usually means Athlons will run it. However some games like Assassins' Creed and others have started using SSE2 which immediately drops support for any 32-bit AMD CPU.But there should be a method of identifying whether or not the processor installed supports the instruction sets required for the game to run properly and all of this should be checked when it is installed. Even if it's something as simple as identifying the processor name and checking it against a relational database. However, I'm pretty sure there is a more technical way to identify the instruction sets the processor supports.

matsp
11-20-2008, 12:39 PM
But there should be a method of identifying whether or not the processor installed supports the instruction sets required for the game to run properly and all of this should be checked when it is installed. Even if it's something as simple as identifying the processor name and checking it against a relational database. However, I'm pretty sure there is a more technical way to identify the instruction sets the processor supports.

Yes, the CPUID instruction will definitely identify SSE2 instructions.

--
Mats

Mario F.
11-20-2008, 02:00 PM
On my bookshop I'm obliged to honor release dates. Most of the time I get the books 3-5 days prior to release date. My contract stipulates when I must put them up for sale. If I don't I broke the contract and should be forced to pay the distributor for damages.

SlyMaelstrom
11-20-2008, 04:43 PM
On my bookshop I'm obliged to honor release dates. Most of the time I get the books 3-5 days prior to release date. My contract stipulates when I must put them up for sale. If I don't I broke the contract and should be forced to pay the distributor for damages.Thinking about it that way, it would make sense that honoring the release date would be a clause in the contract that allows you to get the product pre-public release. I'm sure the manufacturer builds to order for companies with those contracts and that is an expense... so I could see them expecting those retailers to release on the correct date.

cyberfish
11-20-2008, 06:15 PM
They are fooling people by saying Pentium 4 or equivalent. However they fail to mention that P4's have SSE2 but Athlon XP's do not.

Well, if P4's support SSE2 and Athlon XP's don't, then they are not equivalent. I don't think they "failed" to mention anything. Equivalence is certainly not just in terms of performance and generation, but supported instruction sets as well?

They never said Athlon XP's are equivalent to P4's.

Mario F.
11-20-2008, 07:45 PM
I'm sure the manufacturer builds to order for companies with those contracts and that is an expense... so I could see them expecting those retailers to release on the correct date.

I explained myself poorly. I only have a contract with a few distributors. This contract was signed long ago. Since then I get the shipment and instructions for preferred placement and date (as well as minor stuff like if they want daily or weekly sales report , what is the return policy, etc). Failing a deadline on a top title is a major deal on this business and I would definitely have a lot of explaining to do... and no doubt be forced to compensate, since that part is clearly detailed in my contract.

For those other distributors with whom (sp?) I don't have a contract, we work on an orders basis. There's something I want, I order from them. Most of the time, I pay fully in 30 days. I rarely get the opportunity to order their books during release dates because there's simply not enough stock. Priority goes to their resellers, naturally. If I do/when I do, missing a deadline won't get me into trouble but is bad business and I will certainly not get a second chance.

...

I guess computer games should work on the same basis (I do get some software on my shop and it's the exact same thing). But selling centers like BestBuy drive so many customers that they probably can ignore a misstep here and there... or probably their contracts protect them better than I could ever hope with my small shop.

jwenting
11-21-2008, 01:50 AM
I would argue they are definitely messing up first month sales figures. Given that the first few days after release is probably the biggest profit window I would say they are messing up bad.

If they were told to expect 50 copies for the first week and they have 100 pre-orders to fill they don't loose anything from lost post-release sales in that first week.
In fact they may loose pre-release sales from those pre-ordered copies because some customers may cancel their orders and buy elsewhere from a store that did get more copies on release day than they had pre-orders for.



Um...that is not the definition of a free market economy. If a manufacturer buys shelf space, car lot space, etc, etc, and you do not market their product in said space that does not fall under free market economy.

That's assuming the manufacturer buys the shelfspace from the store.
Usually that's not the case, usually the store buys the goods from the manufacturer and gets some promotional material (which they may or may not have to pay for) as part of the deal.